My childhood was pretty good in my opinion, normal is maybe a word I would use, unremarkable even at times. Although I was born in Illinois I do not recall growing up there at all. This is because when I was 4 years old my mother, my siblings and I all moved to California. I enjoyed growing up in California very much, although the hardest part was being away from my father and my extended family. Being away from my dad was definitely difficult on me growing up, but I do believe that we were blessed in the fact that we were able to fly back to visit him and the rest of our family each and every year for either 2 weeks in the summer or at Christmas time. In California I lived with my mom, my step dad and my siblings for most of my youth. We had a nice home, my mom and step dad worked hard to allow us nice things, and vacations, and I remember many trips to Right Aid for an ice cream cone on a school night. I felt that I had a good home life.
I enjoyed school and got good grades. I attended Church on Sundays, enjoyed Youth Group, and got to go to Church Camp several summers as well. I remember my mom, my sister and I being at church quite often and we were always involved in any special events; church wide yard Sales, bake sales, and the ice cream socials. I even tried to sing in front of the whole church once (but that didn’t go over as well as I had hoped!). The point is that I loved church and church related activities. But as I got older I fell away from church. Once my grandpa was no longer the pastor at our church, it just didn’t seem to fit what I knew and liked about the church life. I 'church hopped' with some friends but never found anything that felt right again.
Highschool turned out to be a huge blessing for me though. I was able to attend a Private Christian School. My mom worked there and it was all thanks to her hard work and sacrifices that I got to attend that school and participate in cheerleading. It was not cheap and It was more than I deserved. Unfortunately for me, right before my freshman year I broke my hip and pelvic bones in an ATV accident and that’s when I would say everything started to change for me...
By my sophomore year I had pretty well started flunking out of all of my classes and hanging around crowds who did the same. I was at that point pretty rebellious towards my mother and had started drinking, smoking, and using marijuana and meth regularly. It didn’t take me long to jump from one bad habit to the next, maybe a month or two between drinking the first time to doing meth for the first time. It was a very rapid decline. I honestly didn’t know who this Eunice was that flunked out of all her classes and had to sit out of her own cheer practices feeling like a loser. It just wasn’t anything I recognized or understood for myself. So I found something that helped me fit in again. Although that meant dropping out of WC, and partying way too much.
By the age of 16, I asked my mom if I could move out into a friends house, and I don’t blame her for saying yes. I was out of control. For the next few years I moved in and out of several friends and family members homes. Then when I turned 18 I met my first and only ex-husband. It was then that I got clean for the first time. One day he came up to me after one of my LONG NIGHTS and said “You have a choice to make, it’s either me or the drugs, but you can’t have both.” Needless to say I chose him. About 6 months after that took place I was pregnant with my first daughter and I was able to remain clean from meth for over 10 years with little effort. What I didn’t realize though, was that throughout all these years since leaving the church, WCH, and my mom’s home, I had begun slipping further and further away from my relationship with God and I was beginning to rely totally on my own will and my own strength to get by. To be honest, I'm surprised I made it as long as I did staying off the drugs.
About 4 years ago I relapsed after that 10 years I had managed to stay clean.
I was working at a doctor’s office and one day my boss came up to me and said, “We are way overbooked and understaffed today,” Then She said “Here take this it will help you get through and keep up today.” She handed me a pill and I never thought twice about it, I trusted her and I took it right then and there, no questions asked. What I didn’t know at the time was that pill was an adderall and that adderall is like the legal form of meth. Taking that pill immediately pulled me back to active addiction, and after just a few months the adderall wasn’t doing the trick for me anymore and I sought out meth once again. That decision was the beginning of the end in my eyes. That decision led to the loss of anything and everything that meant something to me. To start with, Starlet was removed from my care at age 9.5. She is 13 now and I know this still hurts her and affects her, for that I am truly sorry. I hope to make things up to her soon. After that I lost everything else, because now nothing mattered anymore. I lost my house, my truck, my job, everything I had spent years building up for her and I was gone within a year.
When I met my youngest daughter's father, I was 29 and had never done heroin before. Needless to say that quickly changed, and I never knew how bad things could be. I wanted to stop and just didn't know how. I thought getting pregnant would force me to stop. But then somehow I rationalized that if I did quit I would miscarry, so I kept using my entire pregnancy. I waited until I had her and then called CPS on myself thinking that they would be able to give me the push and the help that I needed to get clean and get my children back. But heartbreaking as it is and as difficult as it is for me to admit, that just didn’t seem to work out. I just wasn’t ready and the help I really needed came just a few months too late. I did almost make it here in time, but for whatever reason that was just not God’s plan for me and my family. I am still learning to accept this fact, but it’s getting better.
My addiction continued on and eventually lead to my going crazy. I was in a drug induced psychosis when I stumbled into a random church (Cornerstone Baptist Church) and asked them for help in July 2018. They brought me here to Through the Gate that very same day and they have sponsored my entire time here as well. Unfortunately due to my psychosis I was unable to make myself stay that first day. But after 6 months of jail and some antipsychotics I was able to come and start my journey back to Christ here at TTG January of 2019. I lost my parental rights while still in Montgomery County Jail. But Thankfully, my mom officially adopted her. That was just one of the many blessings I have received through my family since being here at Through the Gate. Another wonderful blessing I received while being here was when my dad told me that he felt like he was getting his little girl back! Hearing that really made my heart fill with joy and it felt so good to have the love and support of my father. That moment was and still is an important part of my journey.
As for my siblings, I thank my sister for stepping up as much as she did. It really meant a lot to me and my mom. She never treated me any different,, whether my life was good bad or otherwise she remained the same and never made me feel worthless. Not all sisters have that and I love and cherish it. Now my brother has also blessed me in the time I have been here by accepting Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior (along with His wife and my niece and nephew as well)! That was a prayer of mine since I was a child! I’m so happy for him and relieved to know I’ll see them all in heaven one day.
As for my mother she is one of the greatest blessings of my entire life, she has been my rock. She has never given up on me completely and loved me more than I deserved to be loved. She has stepped up and been caretaker for my children, and she continues to this day to make sacrifices upon sacrifices for the three of us. On top of all this she still manages to keep me on my toes too. She knows my bullcrap, and she isn’t afraid to call me out on it. So mom, I owe you the biggest thanks of all, for all you do, for all that you have been and all that you continue to be in the hearts and lives of me and my children.
Last but not least, I have been blessed again with the fact that my mother has allowed me to be a part of my daughters life as long as I make healthy choices, living for God and for His purposes. And I still have the option of getting my oldest back into my care and that is something we will begin working towards very soon. All of these things I am grateful for and blessed by immensely, and I thank God so much for making it all possible.
As for TTG what an absolutely amazing opportunity it has been for me to be here. I have learned so much from the books, classes, sermons, Bible studies and fellowshipping here. It amazes me still what all I’ve been able to absorb and gain from this program. Steve Covington, his wife and the staff here at Through the Gate are the real MVPs in my eyes! Before coming here, I thought I knew all about Christianity and my salvation because I grew up in the church, went to that expensive Christian High School, and because my step-dad and grandpa were pastors who spoke to me regularly about biblical stories and truths. But really I had little to no clue about what a Christ-centered life really looked and felt like. Not to mention I never even had a clue what sanctification meant before biblical counseling. From the bottom of my heart Steve, Janet, and Through The Gate staff and supporters: I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me and my family. You and this program literally saved my life.
As for the rest of the staff: I was blessed with 2 great counselors, Jason and Aurora, and thank them for all they have walked me through and all the love, support and encouragement they shown me. I have also been blessed during these last few months of being here by being paired up with my mentor and now friend Kristi Mangold. Our time together has always been an enjoyable experience for me and she has helped me know and understand what it is to have a true servants heart; loving and serving others just as Christ first loved me. So I thank Kristi for her time, effort, friendship, and mentorship. Next, of course, I want to thank the ladies on staff here like Morgan, Lindsay, and Crystal who in my opinion are such a huge blessing for us girls here at TTG. I would really like to thank these ladies especially for making our day to day lives here so much fun, for loving God and loving TTG so much, and for always being there to talk to and laugh with, because that helps more than they probably even know.
Whenever I had a rough day or a bad moment I knew I could go talk to one of them for a little while and boom that was all I needed to realize that I too want to live a life pleasing and glorifying to God just as I was able to see in them. Many many times they gave the encouragement I needed to keep moving forward. They are all such beautiful examples of how this program works and I will continue to strive to be more like them. All the praise and glory here goes to God! I know in my heart that He is the One who led me into that Church back in July 2018, and through my mother pulled all the strings that allowed me to come back in January.
God knew, this place was exactly where I needed to be
...and He has not stopped blessing me since I arrived here almost 8 months ago.
The last thing I would like to share with you is my life verse and what it means to me. Romans 13:14 says: “Rather clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” This verse pretty well sums up how I want to choose to live my life everyday moving forward. To clarify what it means to me I would like to add Romans 8:9, Galatians 5:16-17 and Galatians 5:22-23. So,Romans 8:9 states: “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, If the Spirit of God lives in you.” And Galatians 5:16-17 states: “So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the sinful nature.” Now to kinda help understand the Spirit of God I like Galatians 5:22-23 which says this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience. Kindness, Goodness. Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Against such things there is NO Law.” So I have the choice now everyday to wake up, open up the Word of God and clothe myself with my Lord Jesus Christ, so that I can live by the spirit and not by the desires of my sinful flesh. God knows I’ve done that already for far to long. But now I can live a life fruitful in His Spirit and well as continue in my progressive sanctification so that I can live a more pleasing and more glorifying life for God who has saved me. Thank you all and God Bless!!