Prayed for by Name
For single moms at Gracewood, the time set aside for spiritual growth is when their shared work on counseling, financial management, career and parenting programs all come together.
“Bible study at Gracewood teaches us to address physical problems with a spiritual perspective,” said Martha, a mom at Gracewood’s Wanda Lane campus who joins with fellow moms Silvia, Tonia, Milinda and others for regular spiritual studies.
“I have found that my spiritual growth is directly tied to the lifestyle change I’m trying to make,” added Silvia. “My relationship with God is where I feel loved and where I find my self-esteem. I perceive relationships differently when I learn to view them through his eyes.”
Gracewood Executive Director Debbie Rippstein agreed that a scriptural basis for change is vital to the single moms. “We know that even the most determined of our moms cannot make sustainable life change without the power of God working in their lives,” said Debbie Rippstein, Gracewood’s Executive Director.
For this reason, the moms meet together every other Thursday night for a time of Bible study and encouragement. Bible study is also a time where the moms come together to encourage one another and hold each another accountable.
“I am learning for the first time to be a working mom and a single parent, trying to enforce rules all by myself, and I feel lost a lot of the time,” said Martha. “Bible study is a time where we can encourage one another in our parenting, jobs and relationships.”
A recent Bible study about the woman at the well from John 4 spurred a discussion among the Gracewood moms about past sin and feeling undeserving of God’s forgiveness. The study was based on “The Women in Jesus’ Life” by Mindy Ferguson. “Knowing God’s forgiveness helps me to know who God is and accepting it allows me to move forward, which is one thing I’ve leaned how to do during my time here,” said Tonia.
It’s the generosity of volunteers and donors which makes Bible study and spiritual growth possible at Gracewood. Fruitful Word Ministries sponsored the current Bible study and donated study materials and notebooks. The author of the study even came to Gracewood to introduce the material and lead the women. Fruitful Word brought dinner for the ladies and recruited prayer partners for each mom.
On the first night of the study, each mom was presented with a personalized gift bag that included the Bible study materials, a CD player, CDs, pens and more. The moms learned that each sponsor who had prepared her gift bag had been praying for her by name.
Bayou City Fellowship and Laura Wilcox, author of “Capture My Heart Lord,” also generously offered to sponsor Gracewood’s next Bible study. The church currently includes Gracewood moms in a women’s Bible study led by Beth Moore.
Bible study also allows Gracewood moms to form a common bond in what they’ve been through.
“I feel strength when I leave Bible study time,” said Milinda. “There’s peace found in sharing and carrying each other’s burdens.” Adds Tonia: “I felt defeated before the women at Gracewood came along to encourage me. For the first time, I was given a voice to share my heart and talk through things with other believers. God has definitely placed an anointing on Gracewood and this time together to study his word.”