Dreams Coming True: Finding Grace, God, and Gumption

Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).


Welcome Brenda Lovelady Spahn, founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center,  to Dreams Coming True! Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway, CONNIE TILLMAN! Email info@suzannewoodsfisher.com to claim your prize. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Miss Brenda and the Loveladies: A Heartwarming True Story of Grace, God, and Gumption!

Tell us a little about yourself, Brenda:

headshot 1I am the founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Learn more at the LoveladyCenter.org.

When did this creative dream begin? 

A few years ago, the Lord called me to write this story, Miss Brenda and the Loveladies: A Heartwarming True Story of Grace, God, and Gumption. Along with Irene Zutell, this book has become a reality. I wrote what felt like a thousand pages of content and Random House and Irene condensed it all to this little bitty book!

How did this project/idea get started?

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies actually tells the story of the beginnings of the ministry, The Lovelady Center, when the Lord called me to minister to women in prison.

What makes your project stand out from the crowd? 

This is a very unique situation because I actually ran from the Lord 40 years like the Israelites did, but when I finally listened to what the Lord wanted to do, I found myself bringing hardened female prisoners into my home, straight out of one of the worst prisons in America, Julia Tutwiler Prison.

What are the goals and intentions of this project?

To share the story of The Lovelady Center and the brave women who changed their lives by the Grace of God.

How does your project create community?

It creates awareness about The Lovelady Center which houses, rehabilitates, trains, educates, and introduces to the love of Christ over 450 women and children daily.

Many have creative ideas but trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly . . . but then enthusiasm drizzles off?

You know, I thought I had really messed up when those first women got off the van in my driveway and I realized they were pretty scary. But responsibility to the call – or responsibility to the real outcome of your project (in my case, women learning how to live a normal life) – must be met with all your might.

Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project. Where do the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributer have a specific role?

We began with a “staff” of myself and my daughter, Melinda, when starting our Whole-Way House, as told in Miss Brenda and the Loveladies, and now we have a staff of about 100 who all have specific roles in keeping this facility running. We have a counseling staff, client representatives (who are like case workers), administration staff including graphics artists and fundraising teams, outreach department, job placement department, kitchen/cafeteria staff. We are like a small city and everyone does their part.
Ideas to combat problems and/or raise funds, I believe, come from the Lord. Our staff are very faithful to the ministry and to Him.

What have you learned? 17934695

I have learned that within every single woman – even the most terrifyingly brutal felons – dwelled an undeniable spark of the divine.

Have there been any unexpected surprises?

Have there ever!! They are told in the book, Miss Brenda and the Loveladies.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about starting your project?

The biggest misconceptions people have about helping female felons, junkies, parolees is that they should be left where they are, that they deserve to be left in their mess.



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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Oh Brenda, what an inspiring story! I got goosebumps reading about what you’ve done since you stopped “running” (loved that nod to the Israelites) and started listening to God’s leading. Can’t wait to read your book! Thank you for sharing your Dream (capital D) with my readers. May God richly bless your ministry. I feel blessed just learning about what you do for women and how you feel about them! Warmly, Suzanne

  2. Linda says:

    Sounds like an inspiring and fascinating story. Would love to read your book. May God bless you for the work you do and the lives you touch and change.

  3. Debbie G. says:

    Thank you for offering this giveaway! I think what Brenda is doing is wonderful and it would be great to see every community have a “Lovelady Center”! I definitely want to read the book now after reading the interview that Brenda gave…thank you Brenda for giving these ladies and their children a “hand-up” in life. The ripple effect of just helping one woman is far reaching. 🙂


  4. MS Barb says:

    But for the grace of God…

  5. Linda Landreth says:

    Thank for offering this book! Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Dee Cochran says:

    May this inspire others to reach out!

  7. Amazing 🙂 Congrats on your book! Lord uses each of us in different ways, you have found your calling. Can’t wait to read your book! Oh, by the way-great first name 🙂 God less ya and the Loveladies! Thank you for the free give away 🙂 blessings 🙂

  8. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win

  9. Rebecca Rankin says:

    I would love to win your new book. I really like to read. I am always looking for new authors and/or new books. Have a good day! 🙂

  10. Martha J. Sturm says:

    Praise God that you listened and followed His calling. Something like that would be out of my league. I am working on doing small things, and hoping they have a big impact on the people I have reached out to. Thank you for your inspiration.

  11. Linda Landreth says:

    Thanks for offering this! Would love to win!❤️

  12. Would love to win this book.

  13. Jean Smith says:

    Sounds like an interesting story, hoping to win.

  14. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win your book. I can’t wait to read it!

  15. Judith A Fritz says:

    This sounds like such a fantastic book. I would love to read it!! Thanks for the chance to win it! Judy F

  16. Janice says:

    I would love to win this one..thanks

  17. Veronica Sandberg says:

    I would love to read this

  18. Angie Carroll says:

    It sounds like a really interesting story!

  19. Chris says:

    Sounds great! I love redemption stories, I am one! Would love to win it! Thanks!!!

  20. Holly C says:

    Thanks for the chance to win. Looks like a must read book!

  21. Love to read

  22. Would love to win. Big reader.

  23. Dawn Kleinsasser says:

    Reading this has brought tears to my eyes. What an inspiration! I can’t wait to read this book! Thank you so much for introducing all of us to her.

  24. Sharon says:

    LOVE love love!!

  25. Donna H says:

    I would love to read this book because my cousin runs a homeless shelter in Omaha and I love his attitude toward all the downtrodden!!!

  26. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  27. Linda D. McFarland says:

    Great post, glad there are people like you in the world to step out of their comfort zone to help others. Would love to win your book…thanks for the opportunity…Linda

  28. shelia hall says:

    Brenda, your interview is wonderful! The center sounds like such a great mission work! Love to win your book about your center!

  29. Ola Norman says:

    Sounds like a wonderful ministry!

  30. Kim Gayheart says:

    Oh I just love books like this, thank you for a chance to win.

  31. Bonnie Traher says:

    A must read.

  32. Judy Cooper says:

    I would really enjoy reading this book. Thank you for the chance to win.

  33. Urailak says:

    What a wonderful ministry! I’d love to win this book.

  34. Melissa Golden says:

    But God!!
    U R a Blessing to others !!

  35. Martha Peace says:

    I would love to win

  36. Donna B says:

    What a great ministry!! I would love to read this book.

  37. mary says:

    wow. this sound a great book to read. thank you for the giveaway

  38. niki patton says:

    I meet this lady years back when I was at the Lovelady Center. It is truly remarkable of the love, patiences she gives to everyone. Miss Brenda is there for you whenever you need her.
    I called her one day to see if she could help a family member and she did without hesitation. She said, “tell the center to call me” if there was a problem financially, which there was, but Brenda still let her waive the intake fee. Now, Brenda had done this for me while she was having a hip replacement. This lady lets nothing get her down. She will continue to help others while she is going through a crisis her self.
    God Bless Brenda, for showing me and others the right way to live through Christ our Lord…