I came from a nice family. We had a horse farm in West Virginia and a house on a bay off from the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. My family was not perfect, but they tried to love me and my younger brother. My parents divorced when I was four years old. I grew up bouncing back and forth between them.
I moved homes and schools every couple of years. I constantly in trouble at school for fighting, smoking, and skipping school. I never felt loved or liked, and I never felt I belonged anywhere. I ended up dancing in a bar for eight years living the fast life – which meant lots of money, men, alcohol, and drugs. It eventually progressed into harder drugs like crack and heroin. My family did not see me for years at a time, until I would end up in jail and could not get out.
My jail experiences began happening more frequently. I was homeless and walking the street to prostitute every single day for the last six years I was using drugs. I bounced between hotels, dope houses, and jail. I found out I was pregnant in Polk County Jail. My last arrest was March 9, 2013. I was sentenced to five months of county time. This changed my life.
I was at a church function the jail provided and met Teresa Kemp. I reached out to her for help. I wanted to go somewhere to get clean and have my baby, but I could not afford to go to a home that would allow me to keep my baby. Everywhere I found that offered to let me come there said I would have to place my baby in a home or up for adoption. I knew I did not want to be separated from my baby. Teresa spoke with Sue Cline and the next thing I knew, I had a place to go. Sue had decided to allow me to come live at the Hope Center for Women for 12 months.
I never had good relationships with women growing up, and I was intimidated to be in a house with such strong women. Sue Cline and April Anderson were amazing. They loved me long before I learned to love myself. They were mighty examples of what loving God and loving each other was.
The Hope Center for Women, along with Sue and April, not only taught me who God was, but they showed me every day how much they loved Him. They provided me with a home and an environment where I saw and felt God loving me, providing for me, and teaching me every single day. I learned how to listen to His voice, talk to Him, and wait on Him. I learned how to love myself and also to trust other women. I learned the value of women that I never knew before.
I brought my son home from the hospital to the Hope Center for Women. They all supported me while I did the most amazing thing I have ever done, became a mother, which was something I know everyone in my former life was wondering if I could actually do. I did it. I took to being a mom like a fish to water.
Leading this boy to Christ is my purpose today and I love every single second of it. I sit here today with almost five years clean and sober. I am a productive member of society. I am involved in my church. I teach children's church once a month and attend AA and NA meetings regularly. I know God intimately. I know He loves me and has a plan for me and for my son. He also has a plan for you and for everyone on this earth.
I am never alone. He is always with me. He guides me when I let Him. I have weekly commitments that I have had for years that I stick to. I have not been unemployed since getting back into the workforce. All of this was impossible for someone like me, but with God anything is possible. He has seen to every aspect of my life and has restored it better than I could have ever imagined. I am sure that He would have found another way to reach me, had I not met Teresa that day in jail, and had she not led me to Scottsville, Kentucky to the Hope Center for Women with Sue and April. But that is where He placed me to plant a seed that saved my life and saved my son's life. I am very thankful.
I strive to show the love to others that Sue and April showed me every day by being a walking example of what loving, trusting, and obeying God looks like….and what it looks like is nothing short of a complete miracle. It looks like the impossible just happening. It looks like heaven on earth. I can confidently say this because the hell I lived in for so many years is under my feet and I never have to live like that again. With God, I will not ever live like that again.
"This is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
- Ephesians 5:14 -