Local woman supports mothers in need

Published 7:33 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

By Ella Bronaugh


The arrest of a loved one can have a huge impact on friends and families — especially mothers. Denise Owens, founder of God’s Got This: Mothers with Children Behind Bars Ministry, is no stranger to this experience.

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“On Sept. 13, 2013, our son was arrested,” Owens said. “It took everybody by complete surprise. Our lives changed forever.”

Owens began her ministry as a way to allow mothers, as well as any other family or friend that has been affected, to have a group of people that can support them through any life-changing situation, such as a loved one being incarcerated or having a terminal illness. The focus of her ministry is on mothers who have a child in prison, as this is the situation that she has experienced the last five years.

“If there’s another mother who’s going through something similar, she can say, ‘I’ve been down this road and this is what happened to me,’” Owens said. “Mothers need a connection; they need someone to talk to.”

When Owens’ son was first arrested, she felt alone.

“I couldn’t share,” Owens said. “I couldn’t do anything. I was embarrassed. As a mother, you don’t want to broadcast that you have a child in prison.”

Owens’ mission for her ministry is to give the families of Suffolk something she did not have when she was going through the first five years of her son’s arrest: support.

“Not everybody has a supportive family or friend,” Owens said. “A lot of times, mothers don’t want to say where their child is; there’s a stigma. We can come together as mothers and say, ‘This is what we can do as a group.’ It’s a family member that’s made a wrong decision, but it affects the whole family.”

Owens attributes her ability to get through her son’s arrest to a book that she happened by at a Christian bookstore: “When I Lay My Isaac Down” by Carol Kent, which details the experience Kent went through when her son was arrested and given a life sentence.

“If it wasn’t for that book, I don’t think I would’ve made it,” Owens said. “It showed me I could make it.”

One of the focal points of the ministry will be on this book, as it gives readers a new perspective on the effect the arrest of a loved one can have on family and friends. Owens plans on using this book to describe how she got through her son’s arrest, and how others who are experiencing the same situation can get through it as well.

Ultimately, the ministry is an effort to support anyone, but particularly mothers, in a difficult situation.

“If I could touch just one mother’s heart and let her know that she’s not alone, and that there is still hope — even at the end of the road, and it’s going to be a long, hard road — I will have done what this ministry was made for,” Owens said.

The ministry’s first meeting was on June 23, and their next meeting will be on July 14. To support the ministry or for more information, contact Denise Owens at gibsondenise63@gmail.com.