Renee Spivey, founder of We Are Women of Worth, Inc., an organization that provides counseling services for formerly incarcerated women, knows exactly what it means to overcome. As a former inmate herself, Spivey could have easily given up, but instead she turned to her faith and her future to get her through. Spivey uses her experiences to help others, focusing on giving women a chance to tell their stories and truly heal from their hardships and mistakes. Her new book, Once Broken, describes her personal journey from inmate to inspiration.
Hope for Women: What inspired you to write Once Broken?
Renee Spivey: I’ve been told by so many people that I have a story to tell that would inspire others, so that is what inspired me to write the story. For many years, I was ashamed of my past and if you didn’t already know about me, I sure wasn’t volunteering that information. But once I realized that my story is a testimony of God’s grace and mercy, I felt compelled to share it.
HFW: What do you hope that people take away from your story?
RS: I hope that people will be encouraged and inspired by my story. The one thing that I want them to take away from the story is that no matter your past, it does not have to dictate your future. Scripture tells us that with God, all things are possible and that is what I believe, no matter what man (society) may say.
HFW: How did you first get into writing?
RS: This is my first attempt at writing. I’ve written blog posts since 2008, but never a manuscript.
HFW: What person do you admire most?
RS: My mother, because she raised five girls on her own by working 2-3 jobs just to keep a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and clothes on our back. I know she got tired, but I can’t remember a day where I heard her complain about what she had to do. She instilled that same drive in me.
HFW: How did your faith help you in your struggles?
RS: If it weren’t for my faith, honestly, I would not be here right now. I would have given up on life a long time ago. But every time I wanted to give up, I heard that still, small voice encouraging me to hold on and that better days were coming. My God is a promise keeper, so I just held on, and continue to hold on, to those promises.
HFW: What do you do to encourage others?
RS: I share inspirational messages on social media, whether it is through word or song. I also pray for them, whether they know it or not. If I can’t be there physically for them, I will call or text them or just do whatever I can to encourage them.
HFW: What obstacles have you overcome?
RS: I have overcome so much! Incarceration, abuse (verbal and physical), poverty, discrimination, adversity…you name it. Either I’ve already overcome it or I’m working on it now.
HFW: What do you most enjoy about what you do?
RS: I really enjoy helping & encouraging others. I’ve been a nurturer since birth! It brings me great joy to help people. Even though I’ve been taken advantage of many times, it doesn’t stop me from helping. I’ve been blessed in my life, so I must pay it forward.
HFW: What’s next for you?
RS: I’m trying to decide if I want to write another book and if so, what type of book will it be. But in the meantime, I am working on getting my non-profit ministry, We Are Women of Worth Ministries Inc., fully operational. I am also preparing to take a few certification courses that fall in line with the services the ministry offers.
HFW: What’s one message you wish all woman could hear?
RS: That they are Women of Worth! It’s hard to know that sometimes, especially when the sins of your past are continually paraded in front of you, making you feel ashamed. Also, money, titles and things are not what make you a woman of worth. Even if you are the person who cleans the building after hours, that does not diminish your worth. Never, EVER let society tell you that you are less than just because you don’t fall into a certain income bracket, etc.