Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography
My biological father signed away his parental rights. My sister’s father adopted me when I was around six years old. He raised me and was my dad. My parents were together until they divorced when I was 10. After that I lived half the time with my mom and half with my dad. I was an honor roll student and played the violin. I loved school and was in talent shows for singing. Then, when I was about 17, my doctor prescribed me three narcotics for some back problems, attention deficit disorder, and anxiety. I became addicted. I got pregnant when I was 18 and had my son when I was 19. Between my first and second child I was a stay-at-home mom living in a nice condo, in a nice neighborhood. I even went to college for five years and had custody of my younger sister and took care of her. When I got pregnant with my second son, the doctors told me I had to get on the methadone program to help come off the medicine while I was pregnant. I became very addicted to the methadone. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and was again on the methadone while I was pregnant with her. I ended up losing my house and kids. I used drugs while I was pregnant with my fourth child, a daughter. The drugs just completely consumed me.
I wound up living in an abandoned house. One night one of my friends was overdosing and there was a fire department around the corner. I knew I needed to get him to the hospital. I pressed the button at the fire department and told them we needed to take my friend to the hospital. I rode with him in the ambulance. While they took care of him, I was in the waiting room hallucinating. I had a moment of clarity and knew I needed help. I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t even recognize who I was. I was demon possessed. I stunk literally and figuratively.
I checked myself into the hospital. They hooked me up to an IV because I was extremely dehydrated. I was out of it for a while. The hospital had me call the Healing Place, a residential recovery program in our city. I called and they said they had one bed available and it was first come, first served. I said, “I don’t’ know how I’m going to get there because I have no money.” They sent me a taxi — an angel taxi — you could see the glory on the face of the taxi driver. He wasn’t judgmental. The ride was very peaceful. I knew for sure I was being transported by God’s people to a true healing place. I was at rock bottom. I knew I had to do something different.
When I got there, I crawled in. Sister Johanna, who has worked at the Healing Place for about 35 years, checked me in. I was there 11 months. Then I served as a peer mentor for three months, giving back to other women who are new to the program. Right before I moved out, I met Shawn and Inga, the founders of Love City, a ministry in the West End of Louisville. I didn’t have anywhere to live, and they allowed me to live with them for two years. They helped me get rid of my bench warrants, get a license, develop a budget, get my children back in my life, and get a home. When I first started living with Shawn and Inga, I worked at the Healing Place for six months. Then I started working for Love City, helping to remodel and doing janitorial work. I worked as a counselor and mentored the children coming to the community center. Now I am the manager of Love City’s restaurant, Porkland. I now have my children back in my life. God is slowly restoring things back to me — one thing at a time. My boys live with their father but they come to stay with me. I am back together with my first love, the father of my two boys.
I have learned that God is always with me. I can see the beauty of every single thing around me now. I can see beauty in the people around me. He has given me new eyes and new ears to hear His voice. He is teaching me that I’m His daughter and I’m worthy. I am a child of the most high God. I’m most thankful for a second chance, a new beginning. I am a new creation in Christ. He has completely rebuilt me in His image. No matter how dark it gets or how far down you go, God will always reach down and pick up His children to give them beauty for ashes.
As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. — Joshua 24:15b