Meet Stephanie

I’m finally able to look at myself with the eyes of grace…

Chaos and pain found Stephanie early in life when she was sexually abused by a close relative at the age of five.  The abuse went on for five years.  When she confided in her mother, she didn’t believe Stephanie which only compounded her pain and the shame that went with it.  To try and dull the pain she turned to drugs and alcohol when she was 14.  She was even allowed to use them at home with her mother who had her own struggles with addiction.  By the  time she was 19, Stephanie was homeless, addicted, and struggling to “just get by.”

Eventually, she married and had children.  Still addicted, running from the pain of her past that she couldn’t bring herself to face, knowing her marriage was a wreck, and she was setting a bad example for her kids, Stephanie hit rock bottom.

She says that “doing drugs and drinking, it was never fun. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a little girl.  So, I’d feel convicted by my actions, but I just couldn’t stop because I was in so much pain.  Mentally I felt so unstable, and physically I just didn’t feel safe anywhere.”  After years of living like this, having lost almost everything she cherished, and not knowing how to change things, Stephanie was desperate for help.

She had tried going through other programs in the past, but nothing seemed to change.  The pain was still there.  Four months ago she attended Celebrate Recovery at Southside Baptist Church where Pat Chastain was speaking.  That night she rededicated her life to Christ.  After Pat spoke she approached him, not knowing he is the president of the Mission, and said, “how many times do I have to do this before I get it right?”  Pat replied, “you accepted Christ, but you didn’t make Him Lord of your life.”  That changed everything for Stephanie.

That was on a Thursday night.  That Sunday, she met Jessica Coleman, director of the women’s program here at the Mission at a church she decided to go to that day.  Jessica listened to her story and told her to come to the Mission.  The following day Stephanie came to the Mission and entered our life-recovery program.  The next day she saw Pat on campus and became overwhelmed as she realized God had “established my steps to get me to the help I needed and wanted so much.”

“When I came to the Mission I was a nervous wreck. I was so scared. But everyone was so loving and inviting.  Several of the women helped me get settled in, loved on me, and let me know we were in this together. For the first time I finally felt safe and that it was going to be okay, I was going to get help.”

”It hasn’t been easy, but with God’s help, the support of the staff and others in the program, I’m learning to love myself. I’ve become more secure. I’m finally facing the trauma of my past and I am so aware of how God is healing me and changing me.  Pat hit the nail on the head, I don’t know that I had Jesus Lord of my heart, or Lord of my life.  I knew of Him but didn’t allow Him to be #1, to be Lord of my life.  That is all changing now.”

Stephanie says before she came to the Mission she was a complete and total hot mess living for the world, living in the world and it just wasn’t good.  Now, since coming to the Mission she is redeemed, being restored, and renewed, and she is so thankful to God and the Mission.