Those many years ago, a woman who had no husband or sons to help take care of her was lost, Nation said.
The man couldn’t bear the agony. He reached out and laid hands on the coffin and told the woman: “I give you your son back.” And the dead man rose from his coffin.
Where there was no hope, there is now hope.
The man who laid hands on the coffin was Jesus Christ, Nation said.
Nation thinks of this story as she reaches out and, through the power of Jesus Christ, gives families their daughters back.
Fear. Abuse. Anger. Rejection.
These and more can lead to a lifetime cycle of problems that can control a woman’s life.
“Women at the Well Ministries” is a 15-month, Christ-centered, residential program for women who are at least 18 years old who want to break this cycle of problems controlling their lives.
“It’s not an easy program,” Nation said. “It’s very structured. ... But they really can change if they are willing and want to apply themselves.”
Problems can range from drugs and alcohol, to unhealthy relationships and eating disorders.
Internships and/or an Emerging Leaders class after graduation from the main program also are now available, with the possibility of earning an associate’s degree.
Nation, along with two current students, spoke to the Sunrise Rotary Thursday about the organization.
Nation is a licensed pastoral counselor and also has a bachelor’s in Christian education. Both she and her husband, Tommy, also a board member with WATW, are members of the Clearwater Baptist Church.
Nation founded WATW in 1998 after being involved in jail ministry in McMinn County for years because she felt there had to be a better way than a revolving door where women were put into jail, got back out again, went back to their same environment and associates, and then back into jail again.
“I wanted to encourage them to move up and out of their cycle,” Nation explained to the gathered Sunrise Rotarians. “They need a discipleship program when the ladies get out of jail. ... The Lord was telling me I am going to do that.”
Nation said after the Lord put it on her heart, she started speaking to groups. After a talk more than 10 years ago, this time at a church, a couple just gave Nation 5 acres of their land to start her program. Although unsure, at first, whether this land “up on a nob” was really suited to what was needed for the program, eventually a road was built, then a home for l2 women. It was a start that has now expanded to a home for up to 25 ladies.
“Recently, we also built a home for ladies with children after they leave the main program,” she said.
Two students, Stephanie Yancey and Sharon Earl, also spoke to the crowd through dramatic monologues illustrating what it is like to a potential woman who is in trouble and how WATW can help her turn her life around.
Many women in similar situations have been told by other experts they will never be able to change, Yancey explained in her monologue. Maybe they are right, the women usually agree. “Maybe I am hopeless,” most of them think. “I don’t know if anybody can help me,” these women usually think. “God, please help me,” they often pray.
Earl demonstrated how women often start out feeling “I’ve got this” life of mine under control, deluding themselves as their lives progressively spin further and further out of control.
“I don’t ‘got this,’” they finally admit. “God, you take this.”
WATW has had a 75 percent success rate, Nation said.
Located in Athens, WATW also helps women in Bradley County, as well as women from across the country.
But most of the women who want and need to join usually don’t have the money to do so.
As a 501(c)(3) organization, WATW only exists through private donations.
Women at the Well in Athens can be reached at 745-0010 or by email at email@example.com. The website is thewomenatthewell.com. It also can be found on Facebook.
In other business:
— Alicia Cardin became the latest Sunrise Rotary member Thursday, sponsored by Ty Cardin, current Sunrise Rotarian.