Restoring My Soul

Before the Coronavirus Pandemic caused lockdowns in Florida, we were devoting our blog to the women of the Charis House. We took a break from our series to discuss ways to manage anxiety with tips from our Charis House Therapist. Last week, we returned to our series, learning about our most recent Charis House graduates, and discovering how their lives have been transformed and repurposed by God. *Names have been changed to protect identities and allow a fresh start.

“Elizabeth”*

Like many adults who find themselves battling addiction, Elizabeth began facing difficulties in adolescence. “My childhood started off how most people would consider normal. We moved from Texas to Florida when I was 12. That’s when everything started to really spiral for me. We moved from a huge town in Texas to a very small town where kids had grown up going to school together. I was picked on a lot, so I began to fight. I became very rebellious. I started smoking pot and cigarettes when I was 12. By the time I was 16, I was pregnant with my first child. I had my second child at 19. My parents ended up raising my children because I was full-blown into my addiction.”

“I was married by the time I was 21 and divorced before I was 22 from my first husband. I had my third child when I was 28, and the day after her first birthday, my best friend died from an overdose. I ended up overdosing months later, and went into my first rehab program. I was not ready for recovery at all, so as soon as I had a chance to leave, I was gone.”

“My husband and my parents always came behind me and picked up my mess. It was just one disaster after another until 2015. I was sure everybody was out to get me, so I packed my car and left. I told nobody – just left and had no contact with my children or my family for 3 years until I was arrested in 2018.”

“When I was incarcerated, I started to speak to my mother again. She immediately began asking me to consider coming to the Charis House. One of my cellmates gave me a book by Rodney Williams called Club Meth to Christ, and she told me to read it. I sat up all night reading and the Lord began removing the scales from my eyes. I knew if I did not do something different, my life was just going to be a disaster all over again. I called my mom the next morning and said, ‘Ok. If they will take me (at the Charis House), I’ll go.’ I wrote Ms. Debbe a letter and I prayed — for the first time, really — when I wrote that letter. I told the Lord that if He would just take me somewhere that people truly cared, I would give it all I had.”

Elizabeth had been accepted to the Charis House and finally felt ready to make a change in her life, but she didn’t realize how much she would change. “A very wise woman told me when I first arrived to Charis House that sometimes you have to go backwards in order to move forwards. That is exactly what happened this year. It’s been the hardest year of my life – facing myself and the restoration that the good Lord has done in my life. My journey to freedom has been long and hard. I walked into the Charis House full of rage. Completely broken and hopeless. I had lost all hope in people and myself and my addiction. I had no clue what this year was going to hold, but I knew deep down that I was home.”

…my God is good all the time.

“My addiction had cost me every relationship that I ever had in my life. And I had no hope of ever getting them back. But my God is good all the time. I have been surrounded by a church and women who have poured God’s truth and their love into me. I have been allowed to face myself and every poor choice that I have made over the last 20 years. I have been given the grace to fall apart and then shown how to grow in God’s truth, about who I have always been. I have found my true identity.”

“I remember telling Ms. Debbe, ‘The good Lord may help me have a relationship with my mother, and even my children may come back around. But my father?…that relationship just has too much damage.’ But God brought my dad to see me at the Charis House one day, and that was my changing point. It really helped my unbelief, and helped me settle down and fully trust.'”

“God is restoring my family every day. I’m getting to know both of my parents for the first time. My momma is my best friend. My daddy now answers the phone when I call, and he is happy to hear from me. I write to my sister, and she writes back. I get to speak to my son every week. And I know that the good Lord is going to restore the relationship with both of my daughters in His perfect time.”

“The Charis House has really changed my life in so many ways. I’m just so grateful that the good Lord never gives up. Thank you to this program, Olive Baptist Church, and Pastor Traylor for truly having a heart for the lost. We don’t know how lost we are.”

“Every woman that has ever been in addiction deserves to experience the life-changing gift of Charis House. It is truly a home of grace. I will forever be grateful.”

Elizabeth has entered Phase II of the program, is working full-time at Ministry Village, and is attending Pensacola State College to earn a dual degree in Culinary and Hospitality Management.

✝️ The Charis House is a non-profit Christian-based residential substance abuse program for females. The program is designed in 3 phases, each offering stages of recovery that provide the necessary tools for a practical transition into a new lifestyle free of addiction. The faith-based recovery program addresses the client’s personal relationship with God as the foundation for healing and wholeness. It requires a willingness to change and adhere to a controlled, strict and disciplined environment, allowing life-changing experiences to occur. There is no fee to apply.

☎️ To learn more about the Charis House, click here or contact Debbe Jefcoat at 475-1116 or DJefcoat@MinistryVillage.org.

🙏 To donate to the Charis House or any Ministry Village program, click here.

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