Before I came to Adult and Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, I was homeless, involved in prostitution, and completely addicted to any drug I could get my hands on to to help me escape life. At the age of 14, I began jumping into relationships with men of all ages. I began running away with them and doing whatever they wanted me to do. I yearned to be accepted and loved. That need for love and acceptance is where my drug use began. I became pregnant at the age of 19, but I was in no way ready, equipped, or stable enough to have a child. I became depressed and insecure. I absolutely had no identity or self-worth. I turned to drugs for my worth and identity, along with destructive and abusive relationships. I ended up having three children and lost custody and contact with them. This is where things made a turn for the worse. I completely gave up on life. I turned to destructive relationships and drugs, and jail became a normal for me. I was completely consumed with my own selfish desires.
In the middle of all this chaos, I received a jail sentence. About one month into my sentence, I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was so scared. I did not know what I was going to do. I did not have any contact with family that could help me. I knew I would be in jail when I delivered, and I knew I could not bear the thought of losing another child. I began to half-heartedly seek God. I was selfish, but I wanted him to do something for me. God was faithful to me when I was not faithful to Him. One day, I was encouraged to go to this class. Although I did not want to go, I went anyway. I became familiar with the program “Jonah’s Journey.” God provided a family who stepped in and loved me unconditionally. God used them to show me hope and love when I had no idea what that was. They took care of my child when I could not. Through the hope and love I was shown, it gave me motivation to change. I had nothing, but that was good enough for God, and I came to Adult and Teen Challenge.
I have learned submission to authority; I was submitted to all the wrong things. I was submitted to Satan. I have learned God’s unconditional love, and I know that I cannot earn that. I do not have to do anything for His love. He just loves me. I have learned that my self-worth and identity DO NOT come from the world or things in it. I have learned how to be a productive disciple in God’s Kingdom. One thing I now know, I am nothing without Jesus Christ.
God has completely changed the way I talk. My mouth used to be full of curse words and street talk, but now my mouth is full of God’s goodness and greatness. I no longer live my life to please others. Instead, I live my life to please God my Savior. I have a desire to dress pleasingly to God, and it was not always that way. I know that I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me. He is transforming me so that I will be just like Him.
Before I committed my life to Christ, I had no hope for a future. I did not care about my body, health, or my mind. Now I look at things in a whole new light, in God’s light. I know without a doubt that my future is secure as long as I keep in His Will. He will provide every need I have. I care about my body and my health now because I am not my own anymore. I am God’s. His Spirit lives in me. I now have purpose. When I graduate, my heart’s desire is working in Ministry. I know God will open the door and place me where I am supposed to be. The verse I stand on is John 14:21, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest my self to him. “