margaret ann jessup

I am often asked, “Whatever inspired you to start a furniture painting business for struggling women?” For sure, that’s a good question.

One of the greatest joys of my life was being a cancer and hospice nurse for 25 years. However, after all these years caring for people often at the end of their lives, I felt called to help people at different parts of life. I felt called to go to seminary; I was not really sure what that meant or how that would unfold. This was a difficult decision because my life was full. I was married with four busy teenagers at home.

With the love and support of my family, I became a full-time commuter student at Eden Theological Seminary. During my seminary studies, I completed an Internship at Magdalene House and Thistle Farms in Nashville, TN (www.thistlefarms.org). It was there that my heart was changed by women that experienced lives of addiction, abuse, and prostitution. I began to understand that most all women are the same, wanting to love and be loved but some need to be given a chance. I believe that most women want to help themselves, but opportunities for employment are limited to many and there are many barriers that are difficult to navigate. Some mothers need extra support and skills before transitioning to the secular world. And, it’s a beautiful thing to see how happy children are when their mothers become more hopeful.

I believe I was called to use my gifts and privilege to join with others to help make a difference in the lives of women and mothers in need. During seminary, I began serving at Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church. It was there, with the support of an amazing congregation, we founded Wooden It Be Lovely. Wooden It Be Lovely is a program of Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church. It is a social enterprise that offers hope by assisting mothers in need of employment, job skills, recovery tools, mentoring, and love in our neighborhood and community. So really, it's not about painting furniture- it's about offering hope to mothers and loving their children. Restoring furniture is a good thing, restoring hope to a mother is an amazing thing.

 

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