Meet Lisa Mahaffey! She is one of the Fabulous Women of Fayette as featured in Fayette County Lifestyle magazine, a Ministry worker for Women in jail and prison, and this week’s Meet A Mom! Her story is incredibly selfless and truly awe inspiring. In our interview with Lisa, you will learn what called her to this Ministry along with her larger vision of building A Better Way Ministries for “Women”!
Q & A
Where are you from? I am from Coral Gables, FL – a suburb of Miami.
How many kids do you have? I have 3 boys ages 28, 23, and 20. They are spread about living in Miami, Phoenix, and my youngest is in Atlanta graduating from Georgia Tech in May.
I understand you do ministry work and reform for women in jail or on parole. Is that correct? Yes. I have been involved with jail and prison ministry for the past 6 years. I am blessed to have the opportunity to lead a Bible study at the Fayette County Jail for incarcerated women weekly. When the women are sentenced to long-term prison and leave for a facility somewhere else in the state, I am able to stay in touch through a prison email system. I can continue to send them Bible study materials through email as well as devotions, etc. and mentor them through Godly advice on strengthening their relationship with the Lord. Many feel alone and abandoned by family, so I try and provide that constant communication and encouragement to stay the course and work towards positive life change.
Once released, I offer to continue to mentor and meet withthem if they so desire.
I have also helped an inmate publish a devotional book from behind bars as well as publish another book which is a collection of 6 women’s stories from within where they found gratitude to God for what He has done for them through their journey of incarceration.
How did you come to do this type of work?
I was sitting in Church on the first Sunday of the year in 2016 when the pastor challenged us to think differently about our New Year’s resolution. Instead of getting out of debt or losing weight as our goal, he told us to answer this question: “What breaks your heart?” and then encouraged us to go do something about it in our community.
I whispered under my breath the answer to that question – “what breaks my heart is young people in our community who won’t listen to their parents, make poor choices, and end up incarcerated.” I had a few neighbors and friends whose teens had made some poor choices and been arrested in Fayette County. At the time of this sermon, one of my neighbor’s daughters was sitting in the Fayette County Jail and I so wanted to be able to go share God’s love and pour His wisdom and truth into her. I also had been dealing with a difficult teenager in my own household, so I prayed that maybe God would send a mentor or sound adult into my son’s life whom he might listen to and in return I would go pour into someone else’s child. As they say, it takes a village to raise our kids.
Teens so often will listen to another adult’s advice yet reject the very same advice from their own parents. So that was my motivation in going into the jail to mentor these women (young and old) to make better life choices and to lead them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
What is the best thing about it? The best thing about jail and prison ministry is watching life transformation. It’s not by my strength or effort, but by God’s amazing grace and love for His children that He accomplishes what I get to witness. God doesn’t need me to accomplish His plan for these women, but He allows me to have a small part and that brings me so much joy. I can’t imagine not being a part of this ministry. I call it boomerang blessings because I go in to bless them but they bless me.
What other goals do you have and how can The Peachtree City Moms help? In my ministry, I often encounter women once released who have nowhere to go. Family members disconnect fromthem, employers don’t want to hire a convicted felon, and so they are left in a desperate situation that often leads them right back to the cycle that started it all.
Most everyone in Fayette knows about the Better Way Ministry for men, but God is stirring my heart to consider starting a similar organization for women. I laugh at the thought of such an undertaking, but with God all things are possible. If He wills it, then He will provide.
So with that lofty goal in mind, if any moms out there have foundations, land, connections, finances, grant writing experience, and anything else that could help, I’d love to gather a group willing to partner with me on this vision God has burdened my heart with.
What do you love about Peachtree City and surrounding areas? We moved here 20 years ago for a family friendly place to raise our kids. I love the sense of community here, the golf cart paths, walking trails, and small town feel yet we are so close to Atlanta that we have all those opportunities right in our backyard.
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Peachtree City and/or surrounding area?My favorite places to eat would probably have to be The Beruit and Georgia Shrimp, but we also love to drive over to Serenbe to The Hill. It’s so pretty out there.
I’m not much of a shopper, but if I do need an outfit for something you’ll most likely find me at Talbots at The Avenue.
Advice for Mom’s or a Mom hack you would like to share? Being a mom is a tiring and there are many times where you might turn down a request from your child to do an activity together because you’re busy or just plain worn out. Seize every opportunity you can while they’re young to spend time together because time passes so quickly. Before you know it they will leave for college and you’ll never get back those precious opportunities to read together, watch a movie together, paint, throw a ball, do a puzzle, etc.. You won’t regret it later on.