I was raised by my mom who was an alcoholic and drug addict.  By 9 years old I had been molested by 3 men, whom I was suppose to trust.  I was taken by the state custody and sent to live with my dad and step family.  Who offered no understanding.  So I had to grow up pretty fast.  I acted like I could handle anything on my own and suppressed almost all my emotions.  I started drinking and smoking pot at 14 then began experimenting with psychedelics and pills.  By 19 I was a daily IV heroin user.  I thought I had found my coping solution to numb the pain and hide my fear and anxiety.

At 21 I started selling meth and quickly became addicted to the cash flow.  Soon after, I began prostituting myself for more money as well as to fill a void of intimacy and love in my life.  At my lowest point I found myself in a jail cell, looking at 16 years in prison, not caring to live another day.  I had lost my family, friends, my daughter, my self-respect and all of worldly possessions.  In that cell laying on my mat I overheard some ladies having a bible study.  They were reading Luke 15, 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 next day my attorney told me about Teen Challenge and talked to the judge. Miraculously a week later I was on my way to Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland – 9 1/2 hours from home.  I entered this new season at 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 showered in real friendship and Godly love – something I’d never experienced.  I have learned how to trust, have unconditional love and most of all how to forgive like God.  I’m praying God will restore my family so that I can teach and train up my daughter in the way that’s pleasing to the Lord.  My mom has since gotten saved, and I can now share my faith with my family.  When I graduate I’m hoping to intern at Teen Challenge in Mississippi then finish my college degree.   I would also like to intern at a Teen Challenge center in Mississippi because 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 I’ve found in Jesus Christ.