I had a good chSara (1)ildhood. My father was the pastor of a local church. I grew up in a hardworking, Christian home and those same values were instilled in my brother and I. We spent weekends, holidays and vacations with my grandparents. We were happy until my parents divorced when I was 16. My world as I knew it fell apart. That was the first time I ever experienced depression.

I worked my way up in the medical field. I loved what I did and was good at it. I had been married and divorced, was a single mom with two kids and had just bought my first home. I went through a hard time and allowed depression to creep back into my life and take over. A doctor prescribed a pill for physical pain but what I found was that it numbed the emotional pain that I had as well. It was downhill from that point on.

Next came another marriage and three more children. Then, I hit my very rock bottom. At the age of 40 I found myself divorced again, my children were taken from me, and I was in jail. I felt lost and hopeless.

In 2012, I talked with a Teen Challenge graduate who tried to get me to go into the Teen Challenge program, but at that time I was not ready to go into a long-term program. I tried an outpatient program instead but I failed miserably.

In 2015, I received a letter from Pastor Tim asking if I would be interested in Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland. I had previously tried other long-term programs and none of them had worked, but I started thanking God for whichever place He wanted me to go to. That is when Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland responded to me. Less than a week later, Chelsea, the intake director, called and said that after praying, she had a bed available for me.

October 19, 2015 is a day I will never forget. I walked through the doors of Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland a broken, hurting, angry, shell of a woman, who was using drugs and alcohol to cover up and deal with all the issues in my life. I felt my kids deserved a better mother than me, and that I was unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. But God gets us through one thing at a time as we can handle it, and He prepares us to handle each one.

God has delivered me from that spirit of depression and replaced it with His agape love. I see the blessings of God in my life instead of the problems that once consumed me. I have learned to turn to Him, even in my trials. For the first time in over 11 years, my father told me he was proud of me. My mother saw the change God has made in me after only a couple of months. God has shown me unconditional love and forgiveness. He is restoring my family and fixing broken hearts.

When I graduate I want to work in the ministry, in the area of counseling. I want to show people that no matter your background or what you have done, God still loves you. He calls out to us, and then it is our choice to choose Him or run away from Him. I want my life to be a witness to others, but most importantly I want to be the godly mother He has called me to be.