Ashley HamlettGrowing up I was raised by my grandparents. My father was only in my life for a short period of time and my mother was in and out, doing her own thing. I became closer to the rest of my family members since my parents were not in my life on a consistent basis. In 2007, my mother moved us from Seattle to Tennessee. I really did not want to move because I knew I was losing the security I had with my other family. My mother and I never really got along very well and were always arguing. It led me to have strong bitterness and resentment in my heart.

By the time I went into high school I was involved in church, but I had also started drinking and using drugs, thinking that because I was involved in church I could do these things and still be okay. My senior year I got saved and I was ready for my life to change but I did not fully understand what it meant to be a follower of God. I knew God was calling me to something greater than myself and it was going to be difficult, therefore I started to run from God. This only led to more drug abuse, depression, and pain. At this point, my mother was no longer in my life and I began getting some charges on my record. It got to the point where I thought my life was going to end and all hope was gone and I knew I needed to stop running.

I began staying at a friend’s house and her mother and a couple of ladies I knew told me about Teen Challenge. I was ready for it; I was ready to make a change. Just two days later, I came to Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland and God started to move in me right away. I have surrendered it all to Him and He has filled the hole that I had in my heart. I am no longer depressed; I now have joy and security from God. He is teaching me everyday how to be a true follower of Christ and I now understand the truth about love and that it is the essence of our God.

He has restored the relationship with my mother and I am still praying that I will soon be reconnected with my father. I am expecting God to continue to work in my life as I seek Him. I am praying that when I graduate Teen Challenge I can go overseas and fulfill what God has called me to do. I have realized that our worldly success has no value but true success is measured by our knowledge in Him. The verse I stand on is Jeremiah 1:7-8, “But the Lord said to me: Do not say, I am a youth for you shall go to all to whom I send you and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. “