Throughout December, the blog will feature stories shared in our special end of year newsletter. Each story about someone who’s been helped by Lord’s Gym Ministries is accompanied by a quick devotional and a challenge that we ask you prayerfully consider.
A woman, trapped in human trafficking and living on the streets of Price Hill passed by the Lord’s Gym STreet OutReach Ministry (STORM) bus heaving with tears. It was a cool January day and she had on a thin shirt. She was done. What little she did own, had just been stolen. No hope. No place to go.
Amanda, a volunteer immediately jumped off the bus and made her way to the woman. Amanda wrapped her arms around the woman. The sting of the cool breeze subsided as the woman rested in Amanda’s arms. Amanda understood. It wasn’t that long ago she had received the warmth of love that changed her life.
At age 7 Amanda recognized deep “hunger pangs for love.” She felt alone. Her dad was an abusive alcoholic. Her mom was addicted to gambling. Amanda was sexually abused by four different people from the ages of 5 to 14. At age 22, she took her first pain pill “From then on I continued using whatever opiates I could find.,” she said. “I was on suboxone for eight months and also had went to a methadone clinic for four years and ultimately used heroin for three years.”
Life continued to be hard and Amanda found herself sliding on a downward slope. She was arrested twice. She began stealing from her parents and started selling her body for money and drugs. Just before she hit the bottom, she found encouragement and love at Lord’s Gym.
“At Lord’s Gym, I was encouraged and loved. In those early days of recovery and that meant everything,” Amanda said.
Recovery has been a “painfully beautiful journey. Finally, that big hole of emptiness I had felt since age 7, was filled with Jesus Christ,” she said.
Today Amanda is working in recovery and volunteers with STORM, going out on the bus.
“I chose to volunteer because I want to help women get free from the bondage of addiction and give back what was given to me, love and encouragement,” she said. “My favorite part about going out is loving the ladies right where they’re at, like Jesus does.”
Devotional – Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
The news Gabriel brought to Mary was surprising. She was just a young woman in a time where women were not considered to be of high importance. How could she take on such a role?
To really put yourself in Mary’s sandels, take a moment to travel back to her time. According to www.bbc.co.uk, Jewish women in first century Palestine had “very limited legal and economic rights.”
In this society, women were the lowest in their household. Yet, God chose to bring the good news of Jesus’ coming first to a woman. It was
unexpected. And it was done in great love and power.
Centuries later, in America – the land of the free – women are considered to be equal among their male counterparts. Still, there are struggles. Some women deal with mistreatment by turning to drugs and living on the streets. Some even fall victim to human trafficking – their bodies sold for another’s profit.
They may seem to be the lowest of the low. But just as the Lord loved women in the times before Jesus’ birth, He loves these women even more dearly.
Follow Gabriel’s lead this Christmas season, bless these women with the good news of Jesus. After all, they are indeed the one’s for whom Christ came. Learn more at www.LordsGymMinistries.org.