Before coming to Adult and Teen Challenge, I was homeless. I had lost all of my self-worth, my hope, and all of my joy. My life was chaos, and I knew no other way to live.

As a young child, my parents got divorced. This caused a lot of dysfunction. I can remember being afraid, never knowing what was going to happen next. This caused me to feel alone and afraid to trust or confide in anyone. I had a void that now I realize only God could fill. I tried to seek other things to fill this void. At 13, I started using drugs to numb the pain and fill the void of feeling alone. I had such a destructive childhood, and people took advantage of me. My youth was taken at a very early age, and I was introduced into things that most adults would not be able to fathom. When I was 16, I found out I was pregnant. I chose to terminate the pregnancy out of fear. I knew I was not ready to be a mother, and I did not want my child to go through all that I had been through. This decision left me feeling ashamed, and more alone than I had felt before. I went deeper into drugs and destruction, and I began making impulsive decisions. I found myself in very dangerous situations and around dangerous people. This lifestyle became normal to me. I constantly found myself in and out of jail. When I was in jail, I felt safe and protected in a sense. I knew I wanted to change so I went to Florida to a 30-day secular program. I stayed sober for 7 months, but I still felt alone. The void was still there. Now I realize that a relationship with God was what was missing. I relapsed, and I ended up back in jail again for the last time. I was given an opportunity to come to Adult and Teen Challenge, and I will forever be grateful.

Since being here, God has completely transformed my life. I know that I am a new creation. I no longer have a spirit of fear because I know that God gives me a spirit of power, love, and of sound mind. I no longer feel alone because I know that God is always with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I no longer feel ashamed because I know that God has forgiven me, and I have also forgiven myself. I have a hope and a future. I know now that Jesus is my joy and my strength.

After I graduate Adult and Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland, I want to give back to this ministry in any way that I can. I want to show other women the love of Jesus Christ like this ministry has shown to me. I also would like to go back to school and further my education. Because of God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s Spirit, I have been changed and will never be the same again.

The verse that I stand on is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”