I was born in a small Texas town. It had a population of about 20,000. There wasn't a lot to do there. One of my earliest childhood memories is filled with trauma. I was about 5 years old, had just started kindergarten, and I had something bad happen to me. I didn't understand it at the time, and it wasn't until 40 years later that I discovered what it was and how that trauma directed my life. Growing up, I always felt dirty. I thought I was a bad kid. I was always in trouble, and lashing out. I got in trouble in school, and people called me a spoiled brat. I was mean, and very insecure.
I remember a few years later, after my mom left me and my dad. My dad was really depressed, and got hooked on Valium. I think that only lasted a couple of years, but when he started coming out of that depression; he started reading the bible. I only remember him reading to me once, but I know he planted that first seed which took years to begin to grow in me.
I began drinking when I was 11 or 12 years old. My dad was strict, but I'd sneak out of the house to go drink with my friends. At 14 years old, I started smoking pot and dabbled in some harder drugs. The alcohol and drugs made my insecurities disappear, but I started getting meaner and one night I lashed out at my dad. He sent me to live wit my Aunt in another town, but she sent me back to my dad 3 months later because I was a bad influence on her daughters. My dad kind of gave up and let me run wild. At 15 I started getting into Meth pretty heavy. I went back and forth between my mom in Colorado, and my dad in Texas. I dropped out of school at 16, and at that time I was living with my boyfriend (his brother was a drug dealer) and I was shooting up daily.
By the time I was 17, I had experienced more trauma. I had seen someone get shot, I saw someone get their face sliced open with a knife, and I had been held hostage by drug dealers.
At 18, I caught my first felony drug charge. My boyfriend caught a similar charge, but we both got probation, and got clean together. A year later I got pregnant with our first child, and we got married. The preacher that married us planted another seed (like my dad did). He asked if I had ever been saved. I told him no. Even though I had gone to church my entire childhood, I didn't know Jesus as Lord of my life. He asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus as my savior, and I said yes.
My husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy several months later. Brody Ray. He developed RSV a week after we brought him home, and was readmitted to the hospital, and a little more than a week later, he passed away. When I look back, I can see God's hand all over that situation; but I couldn't see it at the time because I was so stuck in my grief. More trauma.
My husband had I had two more children a few years later. I put on more weight with each pregnancy, and I was feeling very insecure. I had some back problems, so my doctor prescribed pain medication. I soon realized that the pain meds were helping me loose weight, and I started taking them for that purpose. A year later I was hooked, and I had lost weight, and out of the blue, I told my husband I wanted a divorce and left him and the kids behind. All I wanted was to go out to the bars and party.
I ended up getting hooked up with a guy that owned a motorcycle shop and rode in a club. At this point I was taking a lot of pills (trying to cover up the self induced pain of abandoning my kids). I found myself pregnant with a little girl, and shortly after she is born, I am reintroduced to Meth, (eight years after I had gotten off of it!) and I start selling it again.
It wasn't long till I realized that I didn't want that life anymore. I left the guy, and locked myself and my baby girl in our house for about a week. I quit everything cold turkey. I was super depressed, and going through withdraws. I will never forget those feelings of emptiness. Then one day I picked up my bible and started reading. I read all night long because I hadn't been able to sleep.
I read a verse, and the way I read it, it said, "You might have 3 or 4 nights of restless sleep, but joy will come in the morning". I took a leap of faith and trusted God, and one morning I woke up filled with JOY. I got plugged in at church and read my bible every day. I carried it with me everywhere.
But, it didn't take long for my old patterns to return and I started spiraling again. I started going to the bar with friends after work. I got my first DWI, paid some fines and court costs. I got off pretty easy, but didn't learn my lesson. I got a second DWI 1 or 2 years later, and this time my daughter was in the car. CPS got involved and I lost custody of her.
I got back on the pain pills. It's the worst addiction ever!
Well, I met another man about 6 months later and we had a baby together. I still had an open CPS case and was on probation for my 2nd DWI. I was using K2 so I wouldn't get in trouble with CPS. Without a doubt I was running from the reality of my life, and after my daughter was born I got back on Meth. I failed my drug test, and had to go to mandatory treatment. I found a treatment center that I could go to with my daughter, but three weeks into treatment I found out that my dad was dying. I left the program, knowing Id be revoked and have to do jail time. I got my daughter safely to family, and went to be with my dad.
I spent the next three months watching my dad slip away, and turned myself in 2 days after we laid him to rest. I did 18 months state jail time in Gatesville. TX.
When I got out of state jail, I was on my own. My dad was gone. Id lost my kids, and I had pushed everyone away. I loved God, but didn't know how to live my life for Him.
After selling all of my dads property, I lived in his truck until I totaled it. Then I bounced around from house to house. I probably went to jail 15 times in those next three years. Then I caught a charge that was my wake up call. I spent 6 more months in State Jail. I had planned on going to a faith based treatment program, after I was released, but right before I was released they put a hold on me and sent me right back where I always got in trouble. I knew I'd end up in prison if I went back there, so I got ahold of an ex boyfriend. He picked me up from jail when I was released and we headed south. Half way to his place, I realized he was on Meth, and when he went in a store to pay for gas, I grabbed my chain bag from the bed of his truck and started walking. He didn't know I was gone, and I didn't even know where to go. I just knew I couldn't stay where I was, or I'd end up right back where I had been.
Again, I reached out to a friend from my past, and she let me stay with her in Whitney, TX. Well, within 2 weeks I was back on Meth, and a month later she kicked me out. That's when I landed in Waco, TX.
Homeless, no clothes, no money, nobody, and nothing.
I was lead by another homeless guy to The Hangar, and they helped me find my way.
After about a month and a half on the streets of Waco, Laurie & Dusty helped me get into a faith program in San Antonio. This is where I started healing from my past traumas and addictions. I chose a faith program because I wanted a relationship with God, and I knew I couldn't do it without Him. I was ready, I was tired, and I felt Him pulling at my heart. I was totally stripped down to nothing. I had lost everything. This is when He began to transform me.
Part of the faith based program curriculum was to pretty much write the story of my life. I had to write letters to myself as a little girl, and she had to write me back. As I was writing, I realized the trauma that had set the course of my life 40 years earlier. I had been raped when I was 5 years old. I didn't understand it at the time, but that's when all of my bad behaviors began.
I didn't graduate the program, but I knew it was time for me to come back to Waco 9 months later. Right before COVID. I moved in with an elderly couple that Laurie & Dusty had introduced me to. They needed some help, and little did I know that I needed them too.
My life makes sense now. I am finally happy. I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I don't depend on drugs or alcohol to numb the pain of trauma and insecurity, and I don't depend on men to define my self worth. Only God can do that.
I have a relationship with God, and he is my life leader. I am reconciled with my family and my relationship with my kids is more than I could have ever dreamed. I have a full time job with a big company in Waco, and I have supervisors who believe in me and see my hard work. I have hope for the future. I am also one of the Peer Support Specialists for The Hangar, and Laurie and Dusty are family.
I am grateful to God for everything he has brought me through in my life, and I am thankful for His saving grace. It has made me the woman I am today.
I am a new creation in Christ. The old has passed away, and behold the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17