By Lisa Woodrum
Path of Grace (POG) provides a way out for women caught in the destructive lifestyle of addiction through discovering their identity and purpose in Christ. Eddie Mansfield has been its director for 12 years. He compassionately understands these residents’ journey as he too had wandered off the right path, but later found his way back to God’s path of grace through Christ from a life of addiction many years ago.
POG has a structured faith-based culture effectively producing transformation, with an 85-90 percent success rate (two-year program)! Aspects of the program include Bible study, prayer, work at their thrift store (in Santa Rosa Beach and Panama City), attending AA, church, parenting classes, individual and group therapy. They also learn various skill sets such as sales, management, truck driving, customer service and construction.
At graduation, each 2-year girl receives a “nest egg” of $8,100 for her fresh start. (They also have an 18-month program as well.) Eddie explains, “We speak life into these ladies, teach them to be there for each other …They learn to be loving, caring and a big family for each other.”
POG has one house in Miramar Beach, two in Santa Rosa Beach and one in Vernon. Since its inception, it has graduated 160 women. Some remain to become staff.
Upon graduation, Brandy Wilson desired a job in recovery and was offered the position as assistant managing director. She shares, “God totally restored my life. This program is my heart!”
Morgan Jones is a house chaplain. She experienced major losses and spiraled into a life of addiction, ultimately forfeiting custody of her daughter. She came to herself and entered POG. She recalls, “I finally found that missing piece… a relationship with God, his grace… and learned stability in the everyday routines.” She has been restored to her whole family, celebrates the opportunity to “speak life into the girls with truth and love. It makes my heart smile knowing I helped someone through a rough time.”
To ensure the continued recovery of the graduates and reunite mothers with their children, POG has completed Phase I of Serenity Village, eight transitional cottages. Because of the financial and emotional challenges to start over, this offers a safe environment and a continued support system to thrive together as a family.
An open house will be held at the beginning of March. Please plan to join the celebration and congratulate the staff and POG family! (Check its facebook site for details TBA: facebook.com/pathofgrace.)
There is no other program like this across the Emerald Coast, so the need for POG and Serenity Village are paramount. This is a costly venture, in which many have invested. As Morgan testifies, “Path of Grace is an amazing recovery program and ministry to invest into, giving women a second chance at life… to live in freedom and become all that God’s called them to be! It is restoration that no price can be put on.” Donations can be made at www.pathofgrace.net.