I once dreamed of living in a home with a white picket fence. When I gave my life to Christ, I thought that dream was wrong; that somehow it was materialistic. It wasn’t. I’m now learning that what I was really dreaming about was what it represented to me; a safe environment where love existed.
When I was 10 years old my father was sent to prison on molestation charges. I started using Crank with my oldest sister at age 14. I wanted to hang out with her and her friends. I just wanted to fit in and be loved. As I got older I was easily influenced, doing things I never thought I’d do, like riding in stolen vehicles and going to Juvenile Hall. My mother didn’t care. She was too busy chasing men, leaving me to be raised by family members.
I used to drink a lot. I was never arrested for a DUI, though I certainly could have been. I went to jail quite a bit, arrested over and over again for “fighting while under the influence.” It seemed like I was getting into brawls at bars every weekend.
In 2016, CPS opened a case file against me, forcing me to seek help. Initially, I came to RTC for my six children. Eventually, I realized I needed real help and needed to change my life for me, so I began working on my issues. My favorite moments occurred in classes like Boundaries and Safe People. I learned about the damage that comes from codependent behaviors and unhealthy relationships. It was in these studies that I began to know myself better and began working on my addictions and anger.
When I read The Purpose-Driven Life, by Pastor Rick Warren, I was moved. It changed the way I think. I became hungry for the Word of God. I read the Bible every free moment I can find. I hear Him speaking to me! I pray on my knees; not because anyone is watching, but because my heart takes me there. When I pray out loud my kids just accept it. They know He’s with me and that I consider Him to be in the room.
Today, I am so different that it’s hard to look back and not cry. My children and I behave as a family should. We talk and play and laugh. I know my kids know that we are going to be okay. As I am preparing to look for work and as we transition to our own place, I am asking them to pray for me; for us. I love having Jesus as our bond. My 6-year-old daughter loves Jesus just like I love Jesus. She likes to pray and she likes it when I read Scripture out loud to her.
I finally discovered who I am; who God intended me to be. Because I don’t have good memories from my childhood, I now lean on the Lord, instead. He is my “everything.” I know that striving to be more like Him is never done. I am intended to grow into that person over time. I just keep trusting that He knows that, too. He called me for a reason, so I’ll go where He leads.
The Mission is amazing. Their programs are life-changing. Because of this place and all the people who support the ministry, my life has new meaning. My children now have parents who want to be alive and loving, filled with purpose for them. By teaching me to place God before all other things, I have been restored. My family has been restored! What a miracle! Thank you! ~ Josie
Josies article appeared in the March 2017 edition of Lighthouse News.