I was raised by my addicted mother and by age 9, I had been sexually abused. I was sent to live with my father and stepfamily. I felt rejected, alone, misunderstood and felt I had to grow up pretty fast. I acted like I could handle anything on my own and suppressed all my emotions. I started drinking and smoking pot at 14, then began using psychedelic drugs and pills. By 19, I was a daily IV heroin user. I thought I had found my coping solution that hid my fear and anxiety. At 21 I started selling meth and quickly became addicted to the cash flow, doing things I never imagined I would. On the outside I looked okay, but I was on the verge of self-destruction.
At my lowest point I was in a jail cell, looking at 16 years in prison, not caring if I lived another day. I had lost my family, friends, my daughter, my self-respect and all of my worldly possessions. Lying on a mat in my cell, I overheard some ladies having a bible study. They were reading Luke 14, the lost sheep parable. In that moment I cried out to God, not even sure there was a God or if He would hear me. I asked him to save me like the lost sheep I was.
The very next day, my attorney told me about Teen Challenge and talked to the judge. A week later I was miraculously on my way to Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, 9 1/2 hours from my home. I entered this new season at Teen Challenge very unsure of what to expect. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” From the moment I walked in the door I have been showered in real friendship and Godly love – something I have never experienced. I have learned how to trust, have unconditional love for others and how to forgive like God.
God is restoring my family so that I can teach and train up my daughter in the way that is pleasing to the Lord. My mom has gotten saved since I have been here, and I can now share my faith with her. Upon graduating, I am returning to finish my college degree in counseling. I want to be a light of hope to women who are struggling like I was, and I want to share the compassion and true joy that I have found in Jesus Christ. Genesis 50:20 says “You intended to harm me but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” I give God all the glory for the miracles in my life and in my family