From a Child of Abuse to a Child of The King – Part 2
Stacey had been on a destructive path since childhood. After being rescued from an abusive home, she grew up in a children’s home but returned to familiar addictions after high school graduation. With a child of her own, she had moved to Pensacola and one day realized she was repeating the same patterns of abuse she had endured in her childhood. A coworker told her about the Most Excellent Way meetings at Olive Baptist Church and she began attending.
“I knew God was wanting me. It was making me sick, and frankly I was scared to death; but I thought I needed to clean myself up first. I thought, ‘Let me get this fixed first, Lord, then I will come to You.’ ‘Let me get this straightened out, Lord, then I’ll be ready.’ Finally, I realized I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. On October 19, 1998, I sat down a thief, a liar, a drunk and an adulterous woman; but when I stood up, I was a princess and a child of the most High King.” Stacey had accepted Jesus as her Savior. She continued battling her addiction with the support of the Most Excellent Way program.
After celebrating 9 months of sobriety, Stacey began serving on the ministry team of the Most Excellent Way, leading meetings and supporting others in their struggles against addiction. In 2005, she stepped down from the ministry team to care for her son, but she continued to stay involved when she could and eventually began leading Bible studies at the Charis House as well as a women’s group through the VA’s Pathways for Change program.
July 7, 2018 marks 20 years of sobriety for Stacey, and she credits the Most Excellent Way for helping her find Christ so He could save her life. “Each week’s meeting was based on the Sermon on the Mount and it worked in my heart week after week. I found comfort in those rooms and it healed me.” Her 20 years of sobriety have also included healing and restoration in Stacey’s relationship with her family. God has healed the broken relationship between Stacey and her mother, as well as Stacey’s relationship with her brother and sister.
Dealing with the hurt and anger from the years of abuse by her father and stepmother was more challenging. A faithful friend Stacey met through MEW helped Stacey realize that offering forgiveness to those who hurt her was a necessary and vital part of healing herself. Stacey was finally able to forgive her stepmother for her part in the years of abuse. Throughout Stacey’s journey of sobriety, God also restored her relationship with her dad. Stacey and her siblings were with their father when he passed away in 2017. And most importantly, in the hours before he died, Stacey’s dad accepted Jesus as his Savior. Stacey wants everyone to realize it is never too late. “There is hope – even up until that last breath.”
Sitting in an MEW meeting one day, she heard Genesis 50:20 from the story of Joseph and realized she would be okay. In the passage, Joseph is speaking to his brothers, forgiving them for selling him into slavery. Genesis 50:20 says, “What you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this – to preserve the lives of many people.” Stacey says, “I knew when I heard that, ‘God, You are going to use my hurts to help others one day’.” It became her life verse, and she had the verse sewn onto her Bible cover as a visual reminder.
As a way of marking her 20-year sobriety milestone, Stacey felt the Lord challenge her to raise money for the Charis House, to help women take back their lives from sin and destruction like she did with God’s help. She set a goal to raise $20,000 by July 7.
“When I told people about my fundraising goal, no one understood why the Charis House would need that much money. People don’t realize that every single necessity is provided there – food, shelter, clothing, toiletries, electricity, water, transportation – for each woman living in that house. Those are just their costs to live, not to mention the costs of helping them heal. They receive full-time counseling and classes to learn how to manage their lives without addiction. I wish I could give $300,000. But no matter how much I help to raise, my desire is to help educate our community on the needs of these ladies and the work being done so we can help to change their lives. God is faithful. I didn’t always see it, but He is. He will use my hurts to help others.”
♥ Most Excellent Way meetings are held each week at the Olive Baptist Church Main Campus (Tuesdays and Fridays from 7pm to 8:30pm) and at the Olive Baptist Warrington Campus (Wednesdays from 7pm to 8:30pm). Meetings are open to anyone struggling with addictive behavior, as well as the family members and loved ones of those struggling.
♥ To learn more about the programs of Ministry Village at Olive, including The Most Excellent Way and the Charis House, click here.
♥ If you would like to make a donation to fund the work at the Charis House or Most Excellent Way, click here.
♥ To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Ministry Village, click here or call (850) 476-1116.
If you missed part 1 of Stacy’s powerful story, click here.