I had a church going mom but a very hard, non-Christian father. He didn’t show affection and was a difficult man; he was hard and hurtful.
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with a condition producing chronic kidney stones which created chronic pain. The doctor gave me pain meds which made me feel good. I had a lot of difficult things going on in my family life at this time that led to depression. The pain pills numbed the pain & the depression.
My body built a tolerance & I eventually needed increased dosages to deal with the pain. Before I realized it, I was an opioid addict at the age of 18. Then, I started trying other drugs.
I was constantly messed up. I dropped out of high school & moved out of my parents home & moved in with friends. To support my new way of life, I got a job at convenience store. I moved up from stock boy to store manager. By that time, I was popping 30-50 pills a day just to keep going.
Although I was raised in church, I was completely away from God.
I believed there was a God, but I didn’t believe He had anything for me because I had become this awful person. I lied, I cheated, I stole. I did a lot of things that were wrong; I was corrupt.
Managing two stores at the age of 24, one night I was so high I took a deposit and I cannot tell you what I did with it. The next day, I was so ashamed, I called my supervisor and turned myself in, which led to my arrest and a Class A felony charge.
The shock kicked me into a clean period, but it didn’t last. After a year of fighting it off, I decided I would take my life. I had no hope to overcome addiction, so I overdosed intentionally.
I woke up in ICU the next day & what was haunting was that I woke up alone. I called my mom but she told me she couldn’t watch me kill myself anymore. Then, a nurse came in & told me about the Mission of Hope. Her finance’ had come through the Mission & his life was forever changed. She told me it was free & I was out of excuses, so I decided to give it a try.
I felt a peace when I arrived at the Mission, but much of the world was still in me. I sat in the back of the classes & I would try to sneak a nap in when I could. I was just going to work the program, until three weeks when my mom came to visit & I would convince her I was good & she’d take me home.
But the course of my life changed on that first family visitation. My mother did not show up, my father did. He had divorced my mom & we hadn’t spoken in years. He was the last person I expected to see. He had a tear in his eye & his arms were open.
He hugged me & told me he was so proud of me for making this choice. We sat down to talk and he told me how he had remarried. How had given his life to Christ & how he was involved with a local church. Then, before he left, he prayed for me. I had never heard my dad pray out loud. He hugged me again & told me he loved me. After he left, I said, “If Jesus can do that for my father, He can do this for me.”
I stayed & I started studying the Bible & taking notes & listening to every teacher & preacher. I knew about Jesus but I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. That changed on December 24, 2013!
In the evening chapel service, the message came from John 17 and for the first time I realized Jesus had left heaven & came to earth to go to the cross for me; this liar, this cheater, this thief. I went to the altar & gave Him my life. A month later I graduated the 90-Day Program.
I decided I needed to stay & walk longer in this new life God had given me. I grew so much during this season. Months later, I was made the Assistant Manager of the Thrift Store & then I became the Store Manager. I can hardly believe that was 10 years ago!
There are two parts to this position I really enjoy. The first is seeing the men in the program engage with meaningful work everyday here at the store. They learn life skills, gain business experience, & enjoy talking with the customers.
The second thing I really enjoy is helping the customers. We are meeting needs through thrift and furniture sales. A growing number of people in our community are struggling with low pay & higher prices for just about everything. Every single day someone comes into the store to find a needed item at a good price.
When a single mom gets a dresser for her children’s bedroom, or a father gets a set of mattresses for his daughters, or a lonely widow strolls through the store & talks with us while buying a $1 thrift item, these things make the experience deeply meaningful.
Mission of Hope Alumni, Saved & Delivered from Addiction, Furniture & Appliance Thrift Store Manager