Many women arrive at Through The Gate angry and bitter toward the Lord. Morgan was no exception. A devout Atheist, she perceived that belief was a masquerade for the wealthy and established. Despite feeling cared for, she was a troubled youth from Madison, Indiana. The various misconceptions regarding the making of an addict crumble at her testimony. She was raised in a loving Christian home and had everything provided she could have wanted and more. But at age twelve she was stricken by her parents’ divorce and began wrestling with the pain. In the pursuit of fulfillment, she turned her affections toward drugs and alcohol. Her 4.0 GPA, a bounty of scholarships, and work ethic fell to the wayside in the wake of her substance abuse. Her life spiraled into a swelling haze of guilt, shame, and concealment. She never spent time perfecting plans and wedding dreams as young women often do. Her concepts of love and marriage became skewed by worldly standards and seemed rightly foolish. And all of her attempts to make her relationships appear fruitful proved to be an exercise in futility. It wasn’t long before she found herself with a criminal record at her lowest point. She reflects, “I attempted to portray that I was a caring and loving person, but in reality, I held an enormous amount of hatred in my heart. Because of my felonies, the only jobs I could find were waitressing and bartending…it was a party every night.” It was there in the darkest corners she would fall into a cycle of abusive relationships in efforts to fill the God-sized hole in her heart. Like most addicts, she lost sight of who she was and could not pinpoint a moment where it all went wrong. Her carousing took a radical turn with the introduction of methamphetamines into her appetite. The rampant consumption of narcotic cocktails that followed left her muddled from drug-induced comas, the pangs of aimless despair, and a skeletal frame. With seven arrests to her name and prison in-store, the Lord began to move the pieces. Serving a stint of incarceration on burglary charges in 2017, her family agreed to bond her out on the condition that she get into treatment. Today, her face lights up in reflection, “My hopes upon arriving [at Through The Gate] were that it would get me out of the eight-year prison sentence I had been handed. I would never have imagined how much of an impact this place would have and how much my life would change.” Though she had never been to another residential treatment program, she attempted sobriety with Intensive Out-Patient treatment and Drug Court. When comparing those methods to those at Through The Gate, she says the contrast is stark. She offered insight as someone who experienced Drug Court firsthand, stating, “It was very mental health and medicine-based.” At Through The Gate, we don’t allow habit-forming prescriptions and recognize the over-medication of our society as a contributing factor to the popularization of drug culture. “Secular therapy tells you there is something wrong with you,” she divulged in our interview. “They focus on victimization and trauma to identify you,” whereas the scriptural approach of Through The Gate insists that in Christ, you are a new creation. The word ‘addict’ is seldom heard at the facility, where we focus on the heart problem rather than the behavioral symptoms. When Morgan first arrived at Through The Gate, she was in a “deep dark hole of despair.” Though, she felt in her heart that she was a child of God. We often see that, because of the horrible accumulation of guilt and shame, our residents believe their sin is too big for God’s grace and mercy. They think they do not deserve it. But we are here to tell them that they are right! It wouldn’t be grace if we had to earn it. We help them learn to put their trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, where imputation sets them free. “I couldn’t grasp why this had happened to me. It happened because I wasn’t allowing God into my life”, she adds with resolution. “You never know what God has planned for you. You have to trust and be content in Him.” As we know, God is most glorified when we are satisfied in Him. It was at church where she became acquainted with Andrew Wolf, a 24-year-old Subaru employee with boyish good looks. Never having had contact with people with criminal pasts, he held a negative view of the budding ministry adjacent to his church. Since his involvement he admits that his perspective has changed dramatically from harsh judgment to solidarity. He confesses passing judgment on anyone with a record before, but now sees, “they are sinners just like me,” he empathizes in humor, “And I mean if you get right down to it, I mean yeah, I speed!” In his perception of people who struggle with addiction, he reveals that she has helped him immensely in that area. “She’s helped me understand my addictions, just because they weren’t substance abuse.” Neither of them took notice in the other initially. Morgan was focused on completing the program, and Andrew was working through sin issues in his own life. It wasn’t until months after graduation that the Lord began moving in her heart regarding godly men and gender roles. She found herself thinking differently about marriage than what she learned from the world. Suddenly, she saw Andrew in a new light. From the first day they sat next to each other in church, she fondly recalls, “he has honestly cherished and pursued my heart since then. He’s never stopped! Being with Andrew is so extremely different from anything I’ve ever done in my entire life.” She goes on to describe how Through The Gate prepared her for marriage, “At TTG I learned what a godly wife’s roles are, what to expect and look for in a godly husband, and to not settle for anything less than what God has laid out. Hard lessons to learn. I had never seen a successfully married couple before TTG.” She was custom to taking the lead and having [the] control. “To learn that’s not what God designed for me as a woman was a hard transition. But now I love it. A lot of women are scared of ‘submission,’ but the way God designed us, it is natural and comes with ease the same way that a man naturally leads. As a church we believe in complementarianism. Where he falls, I am strong and vice versa.” Andrew follows with his outlook, “God has been preparing me [for marriage] through different experiences in life and His Word. My brothers [in Christ] and pastors have definitely helped. They gave me the nudge I needed to pursue. When my pastor called me into his office, I knew exactly what he wanted to talk about. For him to approve of me dating his ‘daughter’ that’s pretty huge.” He adds that “Without knowing Jesus you can’t know what marriage is, the ultimate example of how the husband treats wife is Christ and His church. There are so many things in the secular world that you are influenced by, which gave me a poor perception for a long time.” While she was nervous about being a good help-mate, Andrew showed no concern in her suitability for him. His green eyes brighten at the mention of her name, and his confidence unfolds as he describes her worth. Taking her as his wife, he says is “better than he could have ever thought. It’s so clearly God who put us together.” He believes they were made to be united and delights in the prospect of setting a Godly example for others. The life of an addict comes with a past that is rife with rampant disobedience to God and the crippled efforts of an unrepentant heart. Sexually immoral behavior, foul speech, theft, slander, covetousness, and such idolatry leads to a broken spirit. Only a relationship with Jesus can satisfy our souls. Through the biblical curriculum at TTG, Morgan was able to discover freedom in salvation. Andrew takes notice as she continues to grow in her walk with the Lord. Her heart becomes revealed to him in the way she serves in the ministry and at their church. “I remind her that her past doesn’t define her; her identity is in Christ. And I didn’t feel like I deserved her. There are things that made me feel unworthy.” A look of wonder washes over her as she describes the way he allows her to walk in a new life, “Oh, I just love that about him…. Andrew treats me like an absolute princess. He cherishes every moment when we’re together, always putting me before himself. I’m used to selfish men who are abusive physically and mentally. He’s different from anything I’ve ever imagined.” Morgan candidly admits that there was no reason or purpose to be clean before her relationship with Jesus Christ. The couple is devoted to the church body: thriving under church authority, valuing instruction, surrounding themselves with fellow believers, and serving in ministry. She cheerfully reports, “It’s my focus every day, it’s like I don’t even remember doing drugs…I can truly say that Jesus has set me free from bondage.” Extrapolating on her experience with Through The Gate, she adds, “I never thought I’d be where I am today. Three years ago, I was on the street, and now I’m getting ready to move into my own home.” She hopes to see TTG grow to help more women: that those same women will add to the graduates already on staff and one day lead to multiple locations. The message she wants to leave for women going to the program who feel irredeemable is that “God can transform anybody. I was an angry bitter woman with nothing to live for, and God transformed me into a woman sometimes don’t even recognize. A woman who handles anger well and is happy…I even have a laugh that I never had before. My love for the Lord outweighs anything I’ve ever loved or done in my entire life.” One would not even recognize her today from the old pictures of her grey and emaciated appearance. Once underweight with lifeless eyes and disheveled attire, she is now something to behold: a beautiful and godly woman. You would never know from her spirited personality, sapphire eyes, rich blonde hair, and classy ensemble, that her past was plagued with hopeless despair. “ ‘Id been hurt so much by so many guys” she reflects. “I sought love in physical ways. I had to become content in Christ before Andrew came into my life. I was ok being single and not finding my identity in a man. It only leads to darkness. So, I dove into the Word and my relationship with God. When I was no longer dependent on anything but Him, He opened my eyes to how beautiful a godly relationship can be and blessed me with Andrew. And now that I have Andrew I know that I had never experienced love before.” Women from all different walks of life cross the threshold at Through The Gate. It is our joy to disciple them. Our mission is to see them standing firm in a new life founded upon the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In doing so, they can live a life of forgiveness and mercy that allows them to extend the same grace to others: considering others as more significant than themselves. In Christ, our souls have peace. We believe that He is the answer the all of our problems and the hope of the world. We see this truth to be self-evident in the lives of our graduates and the people who pour their hearts out for this ministry. It is our chief end to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever. To Him be the glory unto eternity. Amen.
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