Transforming Lives, One Woman at a Time
If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside
There’s a better life.
If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker.
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker.
If you need freedom, or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain breaker.
– Zach Williams, Chain Breaker
The song Chain Breaker is one of our favorites around Ministry Village at Olive, and with good reason. We see God break chains in lives every single day. The ladies at the Charis House can testify about all kinds of chains that God has broken for them, and they know that if He can do it for them, He can do it for your sister, your best friend, your daughter, your mother, or for you.
March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the contributions that women have made to our country. We are encouraged to learn about notable women from our country’s past, read their stories, and discover how they helped to form the world we live in today. In honor of Women’s History Month, Ministry Village is devoting our blog throughout March to women from the Charis House. We will learn about 4 of our most recent Charis House graduates, read their stories, and discover how their lives have been transformed so they can pursue new paths and make contributions to our community. These ladies have learned from their own histories, and God has repurposed their lives. We pray that their stories inspire you to seek help if you need it yourself, or motivate you to help others who need a chance at redemption.
Paula’s Story – From Fighting to Forgiveness
For Paula*, everything was just so dysfunctional all the time. She would start every day waking up not knowing where she would get her next fix; but she would search it out until she found it. Routinely out of money, she was regularly stealing from her parents. “I used Adderall and Xanax,” remembers Paula. “I wasn’t prescribed the drugs I was taking, and I was taking way too many each day. So when I wouldn’t take them, I would have seizures. The last seizure I had was April 26, 2017 and I actually flat lined twice. Whenever I came to, the doctors told my parents that if I didn’t stop what I was doing, I would either be dead or at least brain-dead. They said, ‘She’s got to stop. You’ve got to get her help.’”
“I entered the Charis House when I was just 19 years old. I’d never been away from my parents. Coming here and being in a whole different place away from my family — who had always been there even through the ugliness — it was hard. I didn’t think that I would even be able to do it. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I knew it was something I had to do. So every day I prayed to God and asked Him to help me get through just this one day ahead of me. And then every day started to get easier.”
Paula grew up in church, but didn’t have a real relationship with God. She remembers feeling an overwhelming peace come over her as she attended church services with the Charis House ladies, even the very first Sunday she came. “I just felt Him tugging on my heart. Finally, I went down on August 20 and I surrendered my life to Him. I knew there was no way I would have gotten even that far in 2 months without Him. So, that’s how I came to know Jesus.”
When she entered the Charis House, Paula says she was lost, broken and in need of a Savior. Through counseling, classes and Bible study, she began finding answers. Psalm 46:10 became one of her favorite verses – Stop your fighting and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth. “I stopped my fighting on August 20, 2017 and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, and my life hasn’t been the same since.”
While at the Charis House, Paula earned her GED, got a job, and is currently enrolled in college to pursue her dream of being a teacher. Her passion for kids has motivated her to major in Early Childhood Education.
“I’m so thankful that I’m able to start over. This journey has not been easy, but it has absolutely been worth it. I could not have done any of this without my Savior Jesus Christ, Who died so that I may live, and Who gave me strength on the days that I wanted to give up. My family has been so supportive, every step of the way, and loved me even with every pain that I have caused them. I want to thank everyone at the Charis House for all of the encouragement and for seeing something in me that I couldn’t see in myself.”
“When I entered the Charis House, I was so full of shame, guilt and self-hatred; but with God’s help, I’ve realized that I don’t have to carry the weight of who I’ve been because I’m forgiven. I’m going to let go of who I once was and cling to who I am in Christ.”
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*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the women who are seeking a fresh start.