10 months ago I walked through the doors of Adult and Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland. Before coming here, I did not believe in Jesus Christ. I lived my entire life believing what the world had to offer me was the only option. Growing up I never knew who my biological parents were and my adopted parents divorced when I was 11. What love and little affection I did get left with my dad when he moved out. It did not take long for me to start seeking love elsewhere. I was looking for acceptance from others and became very insecure.

At age 13, I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. When I did these things, I felt that I had a sense of well-being. The bottle became my best friend, it never failed me. By my early twenties I was an alcoholic with an addiction to prescription pain medicine. My decisions landed me in jail facing a 6-year prison sentence. The very thing I relied on for comfort ended up costing me everything. This was my rock bottom; I was completely hopeless.

The Bible says, “without a vision, the people perish”. I can see why, because without hope for the future, it is hard to find reasons to go on. I believe sometimes God will send you into a bad situation so that you can experience His salvation. From a county jail cell, I began praying to this God that I did not believe in. After spending a year incarcerated, I was given the opportunity to come to this ministry. That day I made the decision to believe and I accepted Jesus into my life.

I now know I do not have to go searching for love and acceptance anymore. He does not care where I am from, who my parents are, or what I look like. He loves me unconditionally! People, drugs, and alcohol will fail you, but God will never fail you. The old labels that the world placed on me no longer define who I am because God says something different. He calls me His child and His Word says I am a new creation!

For the first time in my life I have a vision for my future. When my journey here ends, a new one begins. I will get to spend the rest of my life being the woman and godly mother He created me to be. He blessed me with two beautiful daughters in the middle of my mess when I least deserved them. I now get to share what I have learned about God with them. I also want to reach those who are unbelievers, like I once was. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things shall be added to you. I understand that I must put God first in my life above all else and then everything else will fall into place.