The new UGM Center for Women & Children celebrated its first phase promotion last Friday – another landmark step on the fulfillment of a vision over five years in the making. Eight women completed phase 1 of the Center’s Recovery program and are well on their way to making a new life for themselves. Another 8 are starting the first phase.
While gaiety marked the event – balloons, flowers, presents, cake and laughter – there was also a somber undertone. “The world has lied to these women,” Chaplain Anni Bohart said, “and they have lied to themselves.” The time for truth has come.
Lie: You are unimportant.
Truth: You are precious to God.
One resident, Anjelique, put it like this: “I was told I was nothing for a very long time. Now, I know I’m a warrior in Christ.”
Lie: God doesn’t care.
Truth: Not only does God care, He loves you, treasures you and has a plan for you.
Jan shared that she was beginning to believe that. “This is a safe place to develop my ability to fully trust God again.”
Lie: I have to protect myself, and a tough, intimidating exterior is the only way to do that.
Truth: God is protecting me. If He is for me, who can be against me?
Jillian, one of the counselors, encouraged Chantell: “I see in you an inner strength coming from being in the Word. It’s a different kind of strength from what you displayed when you first came. It’s not – ‘Mess with me and see what happens.’ It’s – ‘I’ve got the Lord on my side; let’s see what happens.’”
In turn, Chantell encouraged the women just beginning their recovery journey: “If I can do it, you can. I know that.”
Lie: It’s too late for me. I’m lost.
Truth: It’s never too late. Nothing is impossible with God. He has a plan for each of us, a plan to prosper us and not to harm us.
Lie: No one wants you around.
Truth: You have something to offer.
The women in the program wrote affirming notes to each other.
Chaplain Anni read this one out loud to Chris: “The light of the Holy Spirit shines through you. You have a beautiful and tender heart."
Anni spoke these words to Cheryl: “I remember your first day here. It was a fearful day, but you have been a conscientious student, responding, participating, deeply engaged. We would be diminished by your absence and we are blessed by your presence.”
Cheryl: “This was my light at the end of the tunnel.”
Lie: I can’t let anyone get close enough to really know me or they will hurt me. Again.
Truth: There are trustworthy people in the world. Relationships are worth the risk.
Anni said of Darlene: “When I first met her, I thought she was going to bite my head off. She was a little prickly, this one, and determined no one was going to get through the wall she had built around her heart, but she has let go of the bondage under which she once stood.”
And to Carlene, Anni said: “You were frightened when you first came – curled up inside that corner in your head. You have become far more confident. You are beginning to know who you are and starting to be proud of that. You’re a blessing to this house. I praise Jesus that He sent you to this house because He doesn’t make mistakes.”
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.