My parents divorced when I was three, and I went to live with my dad. For a while, things were pretty good, but another failed relationship brought him to depression, and he began to drink.

The more my dad drank, the more my personality turned inward. I began making friends with the wrong crowd and was kicked out of school in the seventh grade. I started smoking marijuana at 13, and at 16, I became pregnant. I didn’t think I could tell anyone, so I decided to have an abortion.

The emotional pain from the abortion drove me to harder drugs, and by the time I was 18, I was fully an addict. I soon found myself pregnant and again chose abortion. All I cared about was staying high.

The trauma from my second abortion threw me headlong into a full-blown heroin and methamphetamine addiction, and for the next four years, I committed crimes to feed my habit. Desperate, I began working as an escort.

At 23, I was arrested and given a felony conviction. My first day in jail, I received a Bible and, without anything else to do, I began to read. There I sat, in my cell, wondering if Jesus could really help someone like me. And then I heard a voice inside that said, “There’s a plan and purpose for your life, and it’s so much better than what you’ve been doing. If you turn it over to Me, I will do what I desire, but you have to let it all go.”

I didn’t know what to think, but I kept reading. I was glad to have that Bible—it brought me peace despite the fights and disunity that surrounded me.

I spent seven months in prison, but as soon as I was released, I went back to my old habits. I moved in with a prominent drug dealer, just to supply my habit and get off the streets. I was surrounded by crime and abusive behavior. I wanted to be sober, but I had nowhere else to go. Life just seemed hopeless.

One day, the drug dealer I lived with dropped me off at a friend’s house, then ran a stop sign. The police followed him home and found his house full of stolen goods. He was sentenced to seven years in a federal prison. 

But somehow, I knew it was more than coincidence that I wasn’t with him that day he was arrested.

I woke up one morning after a long drug binge and knew I was done. I grabbed my phone and called my cousin who had been encouraging me to apply to a Christian residential program called Mercy Multiplied.

When I arrived at Mercy in 2014, I hated myself. I was disgusted with who I was and the life that I had allowed myself to live for so long. I carried a lot of guilt and shame. I didn’t know how to interact well with people and felt very inferior.

Seeing the transformation God was making in the lives of other residents, I decided to make a total commitment to Christ. As I came into relationship with Him, He washed away the guilt of my past. I learned about His grace and how to forgive myself. And I finally learned to let go of my codependent relationships. 

God gave me another chance at life. He helped me learn who I really was and taught me to love myself. The people He’d put in my life helped me break free from the shame of my past and encouraged me to believe I could be the person God had created me to be.

I now have a future I never thought I was worthy of. I don’t know what’s in your past, but I do know that, no matter what, God can restore your life and bring healing to your deepest wounds. I am living proof that He can transform a broken life.  †