Item description for Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart by The Women of Magdalene & Becca Stevens...
Overview Inspired by the classic Benedictine Rule, the residents of Magdalene, a residential community for woman with a criminal history of prostitution and drug abuse, express the rules they live by, hoping to share the uplifting lessons and wisdom garnered from their triumph over despair and hopelessness. Original.
"I remember the first day I came home. There were four beautiful women walking out onto the porch to say hello. This was the home I d almost forgotten about. Thank you, God, for leading me home."
"" Have you ever felt lost? Do you long for a group of friends? Will you ever find your way home?
In this remarkable book, the women of Magdalene ask questions that all of us ask, and they share their own joyous, painful, uplifting answers. Inspired by the classic Benedictine Rule, the women have written down 24 rules they live by in the Magdalene community, a place of healing and grace.
Magdalene is living out the call and making something of the Kingdom happen. -Tony Campolo, author of Speaking My Mind With honesty and urgency, Becca Stevens and her fellow pilgrims from Magdalene reveal the insights gained on their personal journeys to wholeness. -Gloria Gaither, Christian recording artist
Magdalene has a tremendous track record of bringing recovery, hope, and independence to women in need. -Bill Frist, M.D., Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader
In "Find Your Way Home" there are 24 rules...designed to provoke people into discovering that God loves you as you are right now. And that God loves the possibility within you. -The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church Magdalene is a residential community of women who have a criminal history of prostitution and drug abuse. The women live together in a series of Magdalene homes, supporting themselves and each other through the work of Thistle Farms, a bath and body-care business run by those in the program. For more information, go to www.thistlefarms.org.
Becca Stevens is the author of "Hither & Yon," "Finding Balance," and "Sanctuary," nominated by "Christianity Today" as best spirituality book of 2005. Featured on CNN and in other national media, she is an Episcopal priest at St. Augustine s Chapel at Vanderbilt University."
From Publishers Weekly This little book begins with a brief introduction by Stevens, author of Sanctuary and founder of the remarkably successful Magdalene, a Nashville home for women overcoming drug abuse, prostitution and/or incarceration. Stevens describes the book as "an open letter written to friends and strangers, inviting them to keep love alive and to offer it others." In the spirit of the Rule of Benedict, the book articulates the 24 principles that guide the Magdalene community in its effort to live graciously together. Each principle is a tiny chapter, exploring themes like coming together, showing hospitality, losing gracefully and loving without judgment. Each principle is followed by a woman's personal recollection of life before Magdalene, her experience with the community, and sometimes advice or encouragement. Paradoxically, it is the particularity of these musings that evokes universality and brings the book alive. Even if readers do not share the history of abuse and extraordinary difficulties these women face, the rules and anecdotes speak to feelings of loss, the relief of love, and the comfort of finding home. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart by The Women of Magdalene & Becca Stevens has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
CBA Retailers - 09/01/2008 page 52
Publishers Weekly - 06/09/2008 page 44
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.8" Width: 4.9" Height: 0.4" Weight: 0.3 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2008
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN 0687647053 ISBN13 9780687647057
Reviews - What do customers think about Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart?
A must read Apr 1, 2009
Today is the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it seems appropriate to begin by reviewing a book which highlights a program making a difference in the lives of women who are too often dismissed as unworthy. This book highlights those women themselves by making their voices the heart of the book.
The book is Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart by the Women of Magdalene with Becca Stevens.
The book arrived while I was getting ready for the Women, Action and the Media conference where I was scheduled to present a workshop on fighting sexual violence and even though I was eager to read it I didn't have time to do so until I was on the airplane. I read it from cover to cover and meant to review it immediately but again didn't have time to give this book the focus it deserves until today.
Too often books that highlight programs which help people are told only from the perspective of those who do the helping. The helpers are elevated far above those helped, but I didn't feel that stratification in this book.
Find Your Way Home has an introduction written by the founder of Magdalene, a residential community in Nashville, Tennessee for women who have survived lives of prostitution, violence and abuse. This intro provides valuable insight, but what makes this small but powerful book resonate are the words from the women who have stayed at Magdalene facilities. Their struggles are presented in a way that doesn't whitewash their past or their present challenges. It is their grounded hope, with the knowledge that hope isn't always enough, which makes this book something special.
The 24 principles of Magdalene are reflected in the 24 chapters of Find Your Way Home. This book can be read quickly or it can be read slowly since much of the book is made up of essays which can be as short as a single paragraph.
Too often my fellow Christians defend church leaders and other respected people accused of sex crimes by saying, "She's no innocent victim," as if that is a valid defense for a sex crime. This same statement is often used to defend doing nothing to help women like those who are served by Magdalene. Their attitudes made me shamed to share the label, Christian, with them. To me Christianity isn't about who you disdain, it is about who you serve. As I read Find Your Way Home it became clear that those who work to keep Magdalene alive share that belief in service which doesn't focus on elevating the person doing the serving.
This isn't just a book for Christians, it is a book for everyone who wants to help and doesn't know what they can do. Magdalene provides an example of practical and sustainable hope. It is a must-read for all those who have labeled certain girls and women as "no innocent victim."
The symbol of Magdalene is the thistle and was chosen because it is often disdained as a useless weed but is a flower which can bloom in the same tough conditions as the women who come to live at Magdalene. This reflects the cycle expressed throughout Find Your Way Home where being helped leads to becoming the helper.
The pervasive message in this book is that love in action is more powerful than the negative forces which often seem all powerful. That's a message all of us who sometimes feel too small to deal with injustice need to be reminded of.
Please go read the book.
'Find Your Way Home' Will Live In Your Heart Mar 29, 2009
It isn't often I read a book that makes me cry,laugh,pray,curse,forgive and ultimately realize the peace that comes with grace, but 'Find Your Way Home' managed to invoke all those emotions at the same time.
Written by the women of Magdalene, some who had been drinking since age 5, prostituting since age 8, living on the streets all of their lives until coming to Magdalene, I have to wonder if their almost supernatural courage an strength is their gift to "the normal people" to show them just how much we all have to learn and how much we all have to forgive, and most of all, how much we all have to love.
The stories each have their own personality, with the commonality shared of knowing what it's like to be treated like a discardable weed, but understanding how beautiful the Thistle(weed)is.
From: 'Find Your Way Home'
"Consider the Thistle
The thistle blooms in streets and alleys where women walk and sleep.
We spend a lot of time considering the Thistle-- it's rough exterior,it's soft and regal center, and its capacity to break through concrete to blossom.
In a world that names them weeds,we taste the riches of the thistles and savor their beauty.
We are thistle farmers. The world is our farm, and we harvest where other people do not want to travel."
I suppose I could add some more carefully chosen words, but they wouldn't be as good or as inspiring.
A book about changed lives that will change yours Mar 29, 2009
I had several opportunities to spend time with the women of Magdalene over the past 10 years, and they are some of the most remarkable people I have ever met. They are a community of women based in Nashville, TN. They come from as deep brokenness as you will find on this planet. They are survivors of lives of violence, prostitution and drug abuse. And they have not only survived that life but have found that abundance of life Christ dreams for all of us not just from help from above our outside but in the eyes, ears and arms of one another.
"Find Your Way Home" (Abingdon Press) is an accumulation of the wisdom of 11 years of community living of these women who were given a chance to escape their former lives in the intentional community known as Magdalene House. It is exquisite in its simple power. It's a book you could read in an hour --- but it took me days. Because every brief chapter. Every piece of wisdom. Every story pregnant with humanity begs to be pondered, sat with, prayed and even wept over.
Find Your Way Home is a Rule of Life from this community of women. It's a handbook of wisdom that has helped them survive and thrive. Like all Rules of Life it's essentially a community interpretation of THE Rule of Life of Holy Scripture. And like our Christian faith itself, it is Word incarnate ... enfleshed in the lives of the women that leap out from the pages.
I have had the honor of spending time with this community of women on several occasions, and so there were times when I heard their voices and saw their faces as I turned the pages. But you don't need to have spent time with these women to have this book change you. As Magdalene's amazing founder, the Rev. Becca Stevens, says "While our story is particular, the problems of prostitution, violence and drugs are universal. We have residents from all over the U.S. and Latin America and have met with women from widely scattered regions of the world, including Russia, Ecuador, Botswana, Rwanda, Sudan and Thailand, all of whom tell similar stories about how sexual abuse, not prostitution, is the oldest form of abuse."
As I turn the pages, I see the faces of pain and brokenness not just from our city streets but from the mining communities in Western Ghana, where girls who should be in Brownies sell themselves for food. But this is a book and these are lives that are not about despair .. but a sure and certain hope that is pure Gospel. A hope that does not ignore or sugar-coat the brokenness of the world but says with a clear and beautiful voice that death in all its forms does not have the last word. That Christ has the last word -- always -- and Christ, for these women, was found when two or three gathered in his name. When they became the Women of Magdalene.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I know I will read it again and again and again, finding new wisdom each time. I hope it will do more than that, though. I pray it will give me the strength and desire to put the book down and go out in the streets and meet the saints of God who walk there. And spread Christ's love to them as these women have spread it to each other.
Finding Home, Finding Love, Finding Healing Mar 27, 2009
Put together as a short devotional book, "Finding your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart" broke my heart and then inspired me. The women (over 100 contributors) who are current residents, graduates, staff and volunteers of Nashville's Magdalene house put their collected experiences into a little book that left me smiling and weeping. It won't take you long to read it, but it will take days to process their moving stories of life on the edge.
The most powerful statement to me came in chapter 3 "Cry with your Creator." The woman writes of being sick, skinny, and filthy. Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart"I will never forget just standing at the edge of Dickerson Road with tears streaming down my face. Someone please help me."
I read it and cried. I could not stop crying. I tear up every time I think about it. How many people drove by and didn't notice her? How many people are begging on the inside for someone to see them? To be kind to them? It was personally convicting in that I would be one of those people - so busy, so distracted that I would not look around to see who was hurting and how I could provide comfort.
Matthew 10:42 states "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." (NIV) That would include the bag of chips and soda that brought one woman to Magdalene (ch. 12 - Show Hospitality to All.)
The Thistle is the symbol of both the community and the farm that makes body care products. Why the thistle?
"Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Magdalene walked. Considered a weed, they have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. And in spite of their prickly appearance their royal and soft purple center makes the thistle a mysterious and gorgeous flower. Being a Thistle Farmer means the world is our farm, and that we choose to love the parts of creation that others have forgotten and condemned."
What I take away from this book:
1. God loves everyone more than we know. 2. There are people out there who will love you like He does. 3. I need to learn and continually practice how to love like He does. 4. Small kindnesses matter.
Each chapter paints a picture of love and grace. It shows the long process of healing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But the love remains.
Just a quick editorial note: I was asked to write a review and received a copy of the book. Also, the book should not put off anyone who does not believe in God. While we can argue about eternity later, I believe we can all agree that the world is in dire need of more love, compassion, and grace. The source of that is your choice.
See also: Born into Brothels, The Pussycat Preacher (both documentaries are available to rent on Netflix)
A Reminder to Love Mar 26, 2009
This short book is a collection of reflections by the women of Magdalene. Magdalene is a two-year residential community for women who have survived lives of prostitution, violence, and abuse. The community exists not just to help these women, but to change our culture that not only buys and sells women, but often rejects them as too broken to be redeemed. To this end the women of Magdalene live by a disciplined order - a rule for living in community. The twenty-four principles of this rule are what the women of Magdalene reflected on as they contributed their stories and meditations.
The pervasive theme in the book is the power of love to bring about healing. Over and over the women confess that they had never felt loved or accepted by anyone until they came to the Magdalene community. This love is demonstrated in the principles of their order. One rule is that of proclaiming original grace - to look at each person's journey beginning not with original sin but with original grace. The community uses the thistle as a symbol of this love. Generally seen as an unwanted weed, it is the one flower that grows on the streets where these women walk. As one woman wrote - "there were no weeds in Eden. Even the thistle was loved by God. I can see life in a thistle and how God created life in me." (p.68)
I was touched to read how the simple acts of the Magdalene community connected with the hurt and broken women. For some it was the offer of a meal or a bag of toiletries, for others a living room with soft chairs or a kitchen with pots and pans, for others it was someone being willing to brush the knots out of their hair. It took some of these women years and multiple attempts to accept the healing offered to them, but they were never given up on or forced to heal on a timeline. They were loved and offered the benefits of community as they were - and it was that acceptance that made the difference in the long run.
The book is a quick read, but it has lasting impact as the stories of these women challenge the standard reaction of the church to "wayward women." Just hearing their stories forces us to change our perspective. To move past our preoccupation with sin and respond instead with abundant grace.