“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.“
On a Saturday in December, 2013 my then 14-year-old daughter was scheduled to play piano in a piano recital at a place called GILGAL. All we knew at that point was Gilgal was a Christ Centered residence for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
It was a Saturday in December and the honest truth was this was quite an interruption during the holiday season that I wasn’t excited about. We stopped to pick up some supplies our teacher requested we donate and headed to a part of Atlanta this Jersey girl wasn’t quite too familiar with.
We arrived and I will never, ever forget crossing the threshold of Gilgal. I walked in and immediately felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I knew at that very moment that something was special about this place called Gilgal.
Our visit that December day led to our daughter Catherine spending most of her Saturdays throughout high school teaching the women piano. I would bring the brownies and coca colas and spend time fellowshipping with the women, listening to their stories. Catherine and I had a front row seat to seeing the transformation in these women through their personal relationship with Jesus.
And each time I walked through the doors, I found myself being drawn in more and more through volunteering, chairing fundraisers, and eventually joining the board and becoming board chair.
What I also saw and continue to see are my brothers and sisters in Christ coming alongside this ministry to support in prayer, volunteering, inviting the women along to deepen their walk. The more I came to know Gilgal, the more I saw how actively involved other members of COTA were and how as a body is always willing to step in to come alongside the women.
A few years ago, our Bible Study decided to support two ministries. When Charlotte Travis our teacher announced one of them was Gilgal, I literally jumped out of my seat! How beautifully orchestrated that the Lord knit together all of my favorite women.
Charlotte has come to serve at Gilgal by leading retreats on the Gilgal campus and through hosting Gilgal retreats at COTA. This summer’s “Shelter in the Storm” retreat including Gilgal and women from several other recovery facilities in Atlanta was so powerful. What an outreach opportunity.
Many of my sisters from Bible study were already familiar and involved with Gilgal and have continued to support this ministry through volunteering, prayer, financial giving, and attending the annual Gilgal Blue Jean Gala. The ladies are ALWAYS invited to the Christmas Tea and always welcomed as part of the church family.
Walking alongside the women of Gilgal has transformed me and my family. When God gives you a front row seat to change happening in the lives of women once bound by addictions, prostitution, a choice of self-defeat, you can only become transformed yourself. BUT, to additionally see those that have never even met the women to trust and believe in the power of Jesus blood and invest in His Kingdom the way that COTA does, well that is exceedingly and abundantly more than this woman could ask!
And for those of you who are not familiar with Gilgal, we are a two-phase, one-year recovery program that houses up to 25 women. The women we serve are homeless as a result of drug and or alcohol addiction. This year we have re-opened our phase three program which is currently housing 2 graduates while they work toward saving money and having the ability for “safe” housing to move toward independent living. Everything done at Gilgal is Christ-centered. The women also receive daily Bible Study, Christian counseling, attend a variety of churches weekly. Change truly happens at Gilgal.