"I turned to drugs, alcohol and relationships..."
I grew up with my mother, grandparents and younger brother.
My father left us when I was two years old, and has had little involvement in my life since. As I was growing up I saw many of the adults in my life modeling negative behaviors, and I grew up believing that smoking, drinking and promiscuity were not really a big deal. There was a lot of conflict in my family, and I struggled to feel like I was really valued and accepted, so I began to look for a place to belong outside of my family.
When I was 15, I turned to drugs, alcohol and relationships to try and find a place to belong. Although on the outside it seemed like I didn't care about the choices I was making, inside I was depressed and hopeless and crying out to be held, loved, accepted and protected. When I was 16, my mom told me about a program in Vermont. A few weeks later, I interviewed at The Fold and moved in to the Girls Home.
Adjusting to the Girls Home was very hard, but I also felt very welcomed by the staff, and began learning so much more about myself and about God. I learned about forgiveness and that I didn't have to carry around the guilt of my sins any more. I learned I didn't need to turn to drugs, alcohol or sex to make me happy. I felt happy being around people who cared about me and who showed me love constantly.
I realized that I not only believed in God, but that I wanted God in my life, and I accepted Jesus into my heart. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore and I wanted a love that actually lasted. I wanted to love someone who I knew wouldn’t hurt me and someone who wouldn’t forsake me. I learned that God’s love is the only thing that we need in our lives.
My relationship with my mom and my family grew in many different ways. God, through the Fold staff kept working on my heart towards my mom. When I finally came to the point where I forgave my mom, told her how much I loved her, and apologized for all the wrong I had caused, I felt free and like this big weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Before I came to The Fold, I believed I was worthless and to blame for all the bad things that had happened in my family. Now I know that I am a valuable child of God who is unconditionally loved and forgiven. Before I came to The Fold, everyone thought I would get pregnant as a teen and drop out of high school. My life was definitely headed in that direction, but God stepped in, and now I am about to finish high school and go on to college to study nursing.