For Such A Time As This
The First Esther House Residents Share Their Stories – PART 1
The Esther House is part of Phase 3 – Transitional Living – of the Charis House program at Ministry Village at Olive. Dedicated and named “The Esther House” in honor of the Biblical Queen Esther — a woman of great faith who was in the right place, at the right time, to help save her people — the home serves to provide women in need, at a tenuous time in their lives, with a safety net. The first resident moved into the Esther House on May 2, 2019, and the house was dedicated by Pastor Ted Traylor of Olive Baptist Church on June 2. Since then, 2 more women have graduated from Phase 2 of the Charis House and met the criteria for Phase 3 of the program, qualifying to move into the Esther House.
The women who live in the Esther House pay a monthly program participation fee. They are permitted to have transportation, which they must provide, and can have cell phones, computers, and televisions – all things they have lived without during Phases 1 and 2 of the program. “This is an opportunity for the women to live on their own and become financially stable, while still having the accountability and support of the Charis House,” explains Debbe Jefcoat, Director of Ladies Recovery Ministries for Ministry Village. They are no longer required to attend counseling at the Charis House, but if they wish to continue their counseling with the Charis House Therapist, they are required to pay a small fee. They must attend Olive Baptist Church each week, be an active participant in a connection group, attend weekly Most Excellent Way meetings, and stay involved with their Charis House mentors. They have strict guidelines in place for visitors and guests, and are required to comply with random drug testing and house checks.
They also have more privileges and the opportunity to gain more independence – grocery shopping, keeping the house clean, paying utilities – all things that will be required of them when they are out in “the real world” on their own beyond the Charis House program. But most importantly, the Esther House provides the ladies with a safety net – a place for them to practice living on their own while still having the accountability and resources of the Charis House nearby if they begin to falter. The 3 bedroom / 2 bath home can accommodate up to 6 women at a time. The 3 women that are currently living in the Esther House each feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to live there, rebuild their self-confidence, and plan for their futures.
Natalie* said that moving into the Esther House after graduating from the Charis House program made her feel like she had worked hard and earned something – her freedom. She credits becoming established with a church connection group of young adults her own age (outside of the group of women she grew to love in the Charis House) with helping her build a stronger foundation – something that has helped her transition beyond the Charis House program. As she adjusts to life in the Esther House, she is dedicated to staying focused on doing “the next right thing” and being accountable to the support system she has built around her. Natalie is finally making exciting plans for a career and her future — a future that was unclear before the Charis House.
When asked what she would tell young women who are struggling with addiction, following the path she had taken before the Charis House, Natalie says, “If they don’t really want help for themselves, they won’t get help.” Like so many family and friends of people struggling with addiction, the Charis House ladies have seen this reality play out in their own lives. Until someone truly desires that change for herself, and is willing to put in the work that is required, recovery will only be short-term.
However, once a person is ready to take those first steps toward getting help, Natalie says, “I would tell them, ‘Give Jesus a chance, because He is greater than any high’.”
Next week, we’ll visit another woman in Phase 3 of the Charis House program and hear how learning to trust God throughout the recovery process has changed her life.
*Client names have been changed to protect the identities of the women who are seeking a fresh start.
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