This post first appeared on the Refuge for Women Emerald Coast Blog.
Michelle Jones, City Director of Emerald Coast, Florida, makes her first visit to a Refuge for Women safe home. Hear from Michelle about her journey to Kentucky, in preparation of launching a new site.
En Route to New Beginnings
It’s 4:00 a.m. as I’m driving, making my way to Kentucky for a 5-day trip I thought my heart and mind was prepared. During my drive, the rain starts to fall and hardly a single car is on the road. The wipers are going 100 miles per hour and the sound of the rain is peaceful to me.
The longer I drive the more my mind races with anticipation and I must wonder, while I’m feeling such peace listening to the rain there are women at this very second listening to the bounding rain, wishing, hoping and praying that they could be running out into the rain. I’m thankful like many to stay dry when the rain comes, we cover our heads so we do not ruin our hair or makeup and we dodge the rain puddles to avoid our shoes from getting soaked. But, there are others like the women I’m on my way to go meet and speak with, that do not have a care in the world about how messy their hair will look, or how wet their shoes and feet will become. These women want to run for freedom and restoration of their lives.
My first day in Kentucky, I had the pleasure of spending some time with the Founder of Refuge for Women, Ked Frank. Ked is amazing, his love for God shines and his love for these women that come to Refuge for Women is true. He is an open book, and is transparent on any topic or anything you want to ask him. The National staff is an extraordinary group of women that work together in continuous effort to build the foundation of Refuge for Women. All the staff I had the pleasure of meeting and even the ones I did not meet but have spoken with numerous times on phone conversations, they all have the same mindset, and that is helping these women to heal, to grow spiritually and mentally, and provide safety. It is a family dynamic in Kentucky and that I love.
I woke up and it was the day that had been weighing on my heart for weeks, this day is the day I will spend at a Refuge for Women “safe house” and visit with the women. As I’m driving I see fields of green grass that seem to go on for miles upon miles, the sun is shining and there is nothing but the sound of the wind blowing. The peacefulness is something we all want to experience, the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. But, for the women that come to Refuge for Women it is a must to have that solitude. They have lived and experienced the “fast life”, so having a place that is quiet is healing, and provides them feelings of safety; something they have not experienced for months and years.
My day was filled with laughter and tears. My most enjoyable part was having lunch with all the women and staff. Each woman is able to cook meals for the house. They love to prepare meals, this is something that they have not done for a long time, they get to learn how to cook. And I must say that the lunch I had was amazing. We even shared recipes with one another.
Every woman has a story but they do not let their past define them. They struggle with the past but Refuge for Women helps them with the healing process. It is not something that is “fixed” in a day or two, these women have endured such pain that it’s a process to get to the point of feeling healed. I asked the women, “What do you like most here?” They all replied “The safety and peacefulness.”
When I left, I left with God confirming that this is exactly where He wants me to be. God wants this house to open in Florida. So, my journey will continue and my work will continue to make this happen. Every life matters, and restoration is happening for these beautiful women here at Refuge for Women.
I am proud to be a part of Refuge for Women, what an amazing organization. I’m truly blessed, and honestly, this has been my dream for a very long time.
City Director Emerald Coast