– Written by Tambi Swiney, Spiritual Wellness Coordinator
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, after reflecting on his divine calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul records a heartfelt prayer for the Ephesian believers: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).
Many of the clients at The Next Door cannot begin to fathom what it means to be rooted and grounded in love. Some were raised in family systems where they experienced abuse and rejection rather than love and acceptance. Instead of encouraging them to be their best, those they called friends brought out the worst in them. Those who guided them often exploited them or abandoned them in their time of need. Alcohol and drugs became their intimate friends, the life-threatening antidote to their pain. Spirits shattered by trauma. Minds altered by substances. Bodies broken by abuse. Many of our clients don’t know who they can trust–or if they can trust anyone, including God.
Cindy Sneed, The Next Door’s Chief Clinical Officer, reminds the staff and volunteers that our women need to know we will accept them at their worst and love them to their best. “Everything we do at The Next Door is about creating a safe environment–a sanctuary of the heart, mind, and soul. We must show them a biblical, unconditional love. The Next Door is a faith-based ministry that functions through evidence based clinical practices. This makes us unique in our field,” Cindy explains.
Our clients cannot be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ until they comprehend that they are worthy of Christ’s love. Every day, the staff and volunteers at The Next Door strive to cultivate an environment where women can experience the unconditional love of God, a place where they can learn to trust their Higher Power, others, and themselves again. Every day, we see evidence that love is taking root.
Since The Next Door first opened our doors over 15 years ago, the lives of over 8,400 women have been touched by God’s love through the words and actions of our compassionate staff and volunteers. Through our evidence-based substance abuse and mental health services, lives are being transformed, families are being reunited, communities are being strengthened.
Just as seeds must be sown in good soil in order to bear much fruit, the roots of recovery that will anchor a woman’s life for years to come will grow ever deeper in a soil–an environment–where her physical, mental, and spiritual needs are met, a place where love, faith, hope, wholeness, community, respect, and encouragement are core values. This is the model our staff and volunteers have maintained at The Next Door.
As the wild, praying women who were midwives to the birth of The Next Door can attest, God has done abundantly more than all they asked or imagined over the past 15 years. Clients are laying down roots that will anchor a lifetime of recovery as they learn the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ.
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20-21).