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.