Leah Grey is an amazing woman with a wonderful heart. She saw a need for people who are struggling, and I honestly believe that God is just getting started in her life and in her ministry. This week’s interview is all about how she started Grey Ministries and what she is doing to help people who have a loved one struggling with an addiction. Read to find out her story and learn more about the resources that she offers! Such an inspiration.
1. Tell me about yourself and why you decided to start Grey Ministries.
I am a small-town girl who grew up in a tiny fishing town in rural, Mennonite country of Ontario, Canada. A real-life, small-town-girl moves to New York City story! I didn’t intend to start a ministry. I was a hairstylist!
My husband had been struggling with his addiction for a few years and when he went away to long-term treatment, I was feeling really alone. I thought there must be more people like me out there, even though I didn’t know any personally. So I started a blog to go looking for them.
I was looking for support but it turned out, God gave me a gift to support others. Before I knew it, I had all these women emailing me, asking me questions and that’s really how it all started.
2. Why are you so passionate about women who have loved ones struggling with addiction?
There are no resources for us. The only resource available for women in my shoes that’s readily available is Al-anon. I know it’s a widely accepted program but I really don’t like it (for me). Plus, I was a “single” mother while my husband was gone engaging in his addiction (he was “working” around 80 hours a week).
I had no income of my own, I was new to the New York City area, and I didn’t have the finances or the ability to go out to meetings, even if I wanted to. But at the end of the day, I didn’t need a 12-step program, I needed a friend. I tried to find a counsellor or pastor to help as well and began to realize how very little people know and understand about how to best handle it when someone in your life has an addiction.
3. What type of resources do you provide to these type of women? And what is your favorite one you offer by far?
One of the things I offer is a place for them to connect with each other. It’s an online community called, Colour Me Happy, for them to ask questions and be encouraged. They share stories of hope and support each other in prayer. Although the women are still real and struggling, it’s the least-depressing support group centered around addiction I’ve seen yet! And no one in there is going to respond with, “You’re stupid not to leave them”.
I also offer a Bible Study for women in crisis called, The Be Still Series. It’s applicable to any kind of pain and trauma, not just addiction. Many of us have negative effects on our mental health from this as well as on the important relationships in our lives.
We have to go against the people who love us the most sometimes and that can really hurt us. We also need to learn to “put in earplugs” about what most people say and listen only to what God tells us to do. But we can’t do that if we don’t know how to listen to God! So the Bible Study walks through being still and focusing on God and learning how to trust Him with the desires of our hearts.
My favourite resource is an eCourse I made called, “UnBound Me: How to disentangle yourself from a loved one’s addiction.” There’s a free three-day video course they can first take on the top six mistakes we make when it comes to making, living out, and enforcing our personal boundaries called, “Breaking Up with Bad Boundaries” to see how they like it, but UnBound Me is so, so much better. It took me six months to make! I researched heavily into what boundaries God makes with us and how He would want us to approach an addiction based on His Word.
One of the hardest things when it comes to addiction is that there are no clear-cut solutions for these women. Some are in very abusive, dangerous situations and others are married to Pastors struggling with pornography addiction. Neither one feels worse to us but there is a difference in the right way to handle each situation.
Not to mention, the world is in an uproar about addictions and the “opioid epidemic” [I have my own theory on how that one began!] so there’s a lot of voices contributing to the confusion. I feel very strongly that the only way to truly figure it out is to teach the women how to decode the scriptures, go to God, distinguish His voice and take His guidance.
I have more resources like a free devotional series called the, “Let Go Devo” and a community Bible that we mail around from person to person amongst other things, but those are the most popular three!
4. Tell me about the giant wool prayer blankets and the thought that went into them.
I love the blankets! As I said, I grew up in Mennonite country and when you grow up in Mennonite country you are blessed with handmade goods and a plethora of antiques! What you don’t have, is a quiet scandal.
When I was twenty-one years old, I got pregnant. I was scared, ashamed and felt so, so guilty. Before my son was born, a Mennonite woman from my church gifted me a prayer blanket. I had never heard of a prayer blanket before but my mother told me it was knit together with prayers for me and my son’s future.
Today, the blanket sits in my sunroom, where I do my Bible studies and work on material for Grey Ministries. The presence of the blanket always makes me feel cared for. I look at it and remember my humble roots: farmer’s fields and antique furniture, a town that never changes and a community where I was very loved – no matter what I did.
Giant wool blankets have been trending for awhile, but I love the idea of praying into them for people. It’s pretty interesting what I end up praying for because each blanket so far has been different! One in particular, is almost entirely fertility prayers- whoever gets that blanket, I think they’re getting a baby!
Being able to send Jesus into someone’s home and literally cover them in prayer is a cool thing to be able to do for someone so I’m happy to do it (plus, I really like to knit!).
5. What advice do you have for people who may be struggling with loving someone with an addiction?
Remember always that they are so much more than their addiction. The person they are while they’re consumed by their addiction is not them! It doesn’t mean we have to put up with the behaviour, on the contrary, we shouldn’t. But don’t let yourself see the monster when you look at them. I used to pray all the time that I would see my husband how God sees him and feel love toward him, even when it was difficult to do so.
My husband is a wonderful man. Healed, he is the man I hoped he was and so much more sensitive than I knew before all of this happened. He was so desperate to be loved and approved of. He pushed me away many times because he didn’t think he “deserved” me. Satan would have really won the battle had that happened! God sees the heart and He will let you know if that heart is hardened or if it’s hurting.
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.’” -1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB)
6. Do you have any new or exciting projects coming up?
This spring, I’m working on a new Bible Study called, “You are Worthy.” It’s going to be all about discovering how wonderful and beautiful you are! I think so many of us don’t truly know what God thinks of us and I want women to hear God tell them, “You are beautiful.” It’s going to be four weeks of being loved on by God – very exciting!
The other thing I’m working on behind-the-scenes is the brand that the Giant Wool Prayer Blankets are from, GRACIE by Grey Ministries. They’re our first product but we’re also launching an entire home and clothing line (as finances are made available – thank you, Jesus!).
My daughter (I’m expecting!) is going to be named Flora Grace. Flora, after my great-grandmother and Grace, because the only reason she exists is because of grace; Grace from God, grace in my marriage and grace for addiction. It’s where the name “GRACIE” came from. I’m hoping to launch in the summer or fall but as I said, it will be dependent on how the ministry does this year.
7. How can my readers stay connected with you?
My website is http://leahgrey.com and I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @helloleahgrey.
If they have questions, they are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do read all my emails personally! But be forewarned- it takes me awhile to respond to long emails! Social media is usually the fastest way if it isn’t a personal matter.
Anyone interested in the free resources, courses or the support group can sign up in the sidebar of my blog at http://leahgrey.com/blog. I try to post new content once a week so there is plenty of reading there to catch up on while they wait for my pokey response by email!
I love to connect so please feel free to reach out just to say, “Hi!” (or Bonjour! Hola! Hallo!)
Hanha is the writer behind Transparency Blog, and she is super passionate about encouraging women to find their identity and belonging in Christ! She graduated from the University of National Champions—Go Heels!—and she is currently pursuing plans to become a physician in the near future. A few fun facts? She’s addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, has a special place in her heart for tacos, and podcasts are her present obsession. In her spare time, she daydreams about places she can travel and loves connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!