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. “