We are not defined by our pasts. For in Christ, you are a new creation.
I was born in Crawfordsville and raised in New Market Indiana. My father was so disappointed in not having sons, he refused to name me. The last memory I have of him was of his fist going through a wall just before he left our family. I was 7. My mother remarried my step dad, who I never appreciated until adulthood. Instead of the sons he wanted, he had me and my two sisters to raise. The man was a tyrant. Apart from his presence, I looked forward to being home.
My mother was unaffectionate and distant, but I knew she loved me because she took care of me. She worked and cleaned a lot to stay busy. Their marriage was strange: perhaps a means to an end. He was obsessively jealous and she was always crying. Although alcohol was prevalent in my home, it was not abused to my knowledge. Us kids just thought that’s what grown-ups do, they drink and smoke. And I just figured when I got older, I would drink and smoke too.
As a child, I was creative and artistic. I ran around town getting into people’s things and letting my imagination run wild. As soon as I was old enough to play outside, I met my best friend Misty. In the woods, we would imagine we were Indians, or stranded with nothing but our instincts to survive.
My memories of school were not so fond however: Misty was in a different grade than me. I didn’t understand the assignments and could not make friends. I hated school. I remember laying in bed at night wishing I was dead. Then after my grandfather fought for integration in the church, I was singled out for choosing ethnic friends. But it was there I met my first love.
My grandpa was the pastor of the Pentecostal church we attended. We went a couple of times a week, sometimes twice in one day. I always knew there was a God and that Jesus died for our sins. But at the time, all that meant to me was that I needed to be good. However when I was 13, my grandfather died and we never went to church again.
My parents disapproved of my interracial relationship and there was tension between us from that point on. They tried to use scripture to justify their beliefs. It really rocked my world because I wasn’t brought up that way. I couldn’t believe it was coming from them. It was never a topic of discussion until I started sharing my life with other races.
From there on I fought to do things my own way. I had to succeed without my parent’s help. Three children, one affair, and a divorce later, I found myself drinking and partying almost every weekend. I was going to college and raising my children alone, with help from my sister.
My last marriage started out really good. We did a lot of stuff together and he raised my children as if they were his own. He made me happy and we seemed to have a lot in common. We got along and enjoyed camping, fishing, and barbequing on a regular basis. Because of this I quit going out and partying, although I continued to use alcohol moderately.
As our marriage went on, I became more and more depressed. Working all the time, running a business, taking care of the kids and the house, the bills, and constant maintenance over all of it overwhelmed me physically and mentally. The harder I worked the more my husband became absent. It felt like I was the only one working toward what I thought we were building. I became lonely and depressed and my drinking increased.
All my life I stored up my treasure in the hope of unconditional love from another person. That was the point of my life, to get old with someone. I expected one person to be able to satisfy all of my needs, and when it didn’t happen I became bitter and failed to fulfill my duties as a Godly wife. But God was not at the center of our marriage. In reality, even my love for my husband was about me. He became discontent and looked elsewhere. The last affair was more than I could handle.
I didn’t see anything left for me in the world. My kids were grown. My daughters were struggling and I just broke down. Our finances were crumbling and our marriage was coming to an end. I stopped imagining a future where my security and stability were found in another person. After we divorced, I never looked for anything permanent. I was haunted by my past and things got out of control.
I shut down completely. I couldn’t bear to wake up in the morning or continue going to work. The constant feeling of despair and darkness lead me to several attempts of suicide. Although, they were really cries for help. I realized in the midst of an attempt, as the blood was letting out, that I really didn’t want to end my life. I just wanted the pain to stop. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to stop living.
Alcohol became the center of my world and I had no answers.
My then ex-husband was newly single again and showed up at my daughters (Bella’s) baptism here at Stonewater. It was bittersweet. When I saw him it was like a piece of myself came back. After some conversation we decided to work it out and get back together. But by that time, alcohol was such a strong part of my life, I couldn’t put it down. I was in too deep.
God brought my husband back and yet I was still in darkness. If having everything returned to me was not the answer then I wondered what was? I knew I needed God but I didn’t know how to get Him. I also knew I didn’t want to put my husband through what I had underwent the last 6 or 7 years.
We knew about Through The Gate because our daughter, Bella had successfully completed the program. We saw what it did for her and we knew that this place offered something that could change a person entirely. I had resigned myself to the fact that one day I would get the call that she had died from a heroin overdose. So if Through The Gate could make my atheist, heroin addicted daughter into a sober follower of Christ, we knew there was something special going on there. The whole time we were saying, “what do they have that no other place has?” On the outside you don’t realize that it is God. The credit was His.
I was hesitant to go because I didn’t want to bring shame and embarrass my daughter. I didn’t get how this place worked or know that there were people here praying for me. Marshall insisted that I was going. I was in shock at first because it felt so sudden and we had only been married for a week.
The first couple of weeks were filled with anxiety and fear of the unknown. In my mind I told myself I wasn’t going to stay long. But Being alone with myself and my studies started to change my heart. Through a lot of self-examination and internal thinking, I started to realize how little control of anything I ever really had.
In the past, my faith was never real. At Through The Gate I have learned who God actually is to me. Before it was all just like a story that I heard about. Now I have a relationship with Jesus and I know who He is.
Now I know it’s not about “being good”. It’s about understanding and living the gospel. Because I have been able to make sense of God, I have been able to make sense of everything.
Without Christ, there is nothing to look forward to. I needed a solid purpose that will last forever. You think that’s what you’re doing when you are living to build your life, but you’re not. It won’t last. There’s more than just being a wife and increasing your assets. A relationship with Jesus is the only thing that’s given me a chance. Without that hunger for Him, I would have no recovery. He is the only thing more powerful than addiction.
I have learnt that life isn’t about me, that God loves me and that I can be forgiven. I always thought you had to be perfect to come to God but I learned that He loves me even through my sin. It’s the ones steeped in sin who need who need Him the most. My perception of God is totally different now than what it was before. I know that all the ugly things in my life can be forgiven if I truly repent and love the Lord.
I even see others differently now. I see the imperfections in all of us. It takes a lot of love and patience to affect people and be an example. And in that, you find that your capabilities to serve others extend so much farther when you’re not self-serving. Relationships built on Christ are stronger because they exhibit the love of God.
The relationship with God I have built at Through The Gate has made my marriage stronger the second time around. I hope and pray that the Lord can use me to help and bless others the way that I have been helped. If I could say anything to the new ladies in the program, it would be to hang in there and be open minded.
I would say to love each other the way that the Lord has loved you. We are all sinners and broken. Take the time to learn what the Lord has for you.
I would like to thank Steve and Janet for their faithfulness and obedience to the Lord. In turn, bringing about this program. I am thankful to everyone who volunteers their time and sitting with us. I am thankful to my husband for sticking it out with me and to my daughter for being patient and supportive (especially since she had to witness me from start to finish). I also want to thank Misty for always being my friend. And for listening to all my stories about the Lord while I went through the program. Overall I am grateful to the Lord for this whole opportunity.
I would like to end with a piece of my favorite life verse from Ps 23. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”.
In this life we walk through sickness, hardship, trials, and physical death. I can endure all through the power and promise of God’s Word. He is my protector and my comfort. He is my purpose. In Him I find my peace and joy.
Hello, my name is Sarah. Before I came to Through The Gate, I struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was born in Logansport on December 15th and have remained an only child ever since. My parents were married in the beginning but I don’t remember a whole lot. It was mostly a blur of constant change and relocation. My mom was somewhat closed off and avoided confrontation, including anything that would agitate our relationship. We were more like friends than mother and daughter. I think it is safe to say that I never truly had any guidance. No one was telling me wrong from right. There was no role model setting healthy boundaries, disciplining me or pushing me to achieve more.
My parents divorced twice in my youth. In second grade while my dad was at work, my mom decided to leave my father. Before he had time to react, our things were packed and she took me with her. She had a lot of boyfriends and because of this we were constantly moving from place to place. My dad tried keeping the relationship alive during all of this but it never worked out.
In 9th grade my mom decided to move to Michigan. My dad didn’t want me to go, so I made the choice to live with him instead. My father always expressed having faith in God but he did not have a lot of knowledge of God’s Word. So, I didn’t learn much about Christianity growing up. He had taken me to church a few times when I was much younger, but that was all the exposure I had.
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t depressed. Whether it was circumstantial, clinical, or what, I never knew for sure. But I started drinking at age 15 with a troublesome circle of friends. It started out as something I did for fun whenever I could get away with it.
And in school, I was merely passing with the bare minimum amount of effort. My parents only showed mild disapproval and always gave me the benefit of the doubt, never wishing to cast their daughter in a negative light.
During my junior year of high school, my 3 best friends moved away one after the other: including my boyfriend who cheated on me beforehand. I felt abandoned and lonely and could hardly bare to get up for school. That year, I decided to drop out because of my depression. I had no relationship with God during this time of loss. I might have talked to Him a time or two but I didn’t really know Him or understand the gospel. I was not familiar with His promises and faithfulness.
I went on trying to suppress my problems by drinking excessively. All I really cared about was how I was going to get money for another bottle. I tried going to IVY Tech twice, switching majors from teaching, to accounting, to business before my lifestyle got the best of me. I wound up missing a lot of classes and flunked out both times.
Then in 2008 I met Zach. He was the man I thought I was going to be with forever. We had a baby boy named Cameron in 2010, but six months into my pregnancy I went into labor and our child did not survive. We were both completely devastated. We had already been regular partiers but after that, it became a coping mechanism for us both. Then in 2011 Zach was stabbed to death by a 15 year old boy. In the midst of this, I received news that my grandfather had passed away as well. The feeling of loss and abandonment came rushing back stronger than before. I was lonelier than ever.
At this point I was constantly drinking. It went on that way for almost a decade. I entered in to an abusive relationship with a mutual friend of Zach’s. We found comfort in each other after his death. I clung to that relationship through the darkest valleys. And because of my mother’s pattern of constant dating, I learned to idolize relationships.
After that, I entered into a new unhealthy relationship with an old friend who came back into my life. He did everything he said he would never do. While I was pregnant with our daughter, I quit drinking but he continued using drugs and cheating. It only took one time of using down the road which lead me into a pit again. He sold my vehicles to feed his habit, I lost my job, and these damaging patterns progressed. Until finally, after two years of this we separated. He is now in prison.
Then I returned to an old relationship where we were drinking and getting into physical fights. He tore me down every chance he got. We got our own place, but our addictions got wildly out of hand. The house was a disaster. It was deemed unsafe by child protective services, we were labeled unfit, and my daughter was given into her grandma’s custody.
While I was determined to get better so that I could have my daughter back, I did well at staying sober. But after legal guardianship was turned over, I figured I didn’t have my daughter so why try? When Zach’s birthday came around, we started drinking again. It was our custom to celebrate it that way but it lead to a downward spiral.
Soon after that relationship ended, I got a job at Tyson’s in Logansport. After work everybody would meet up at the bar, which added to my problems. It was only 6 months before I lost that job too. I was able to find employment again at Indiana Packers in Delphi and that is where I met my husband.
I was drawn to his sense of humor and the fact that we didn’t have a past together. But one day, he took me on a trip and I discovered he had his own addiction. He told me not to watch while he did it, but I found out it was heroin. I didn’t know anything about that at the time. He had his problem, we both drank to excess and have struggled together for 3 years.
In 2017 we got married. He got sober for the first time in 10 years and it lasted for about 8 months. We got our own place and he started working a lot. During this time, I was still struggling with substance abuse and was not being a very good wife. I think my choices and the pressures of trying to stay sober on his own will power was too much. He ended up relapsing and everything fell apart.
We had to cancel the court-date for guardianship and he began writing bad checks to support his habit. I was so discouraged and storing up anger in my heart. Because of our addictions we lost our house and had to move in with my mom. It was there where he got arrested for failing probation and was sentenced to prison.
It just got worse for me after that. I didn’t know how to handle everything. I stayed in bed all the time and fell deeper and deeper into despair. I became irate after a two week binge and got into a fight with our neighbor for trying to take a bottle. It resulted in property damage and I finally realized I needed to get help. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Ten years of trying to stay sober always failed. I wasn’t strong enough. I was finally willing to try to do something different from what I had always done before.
My dad heard about Through The Gate through some associations with Trinity Life Ministries and told me about it.
He left it up to me to decide if I wanted to go and offered to pay for it. I was worried they were going to force God on me in a way that would turn me away. But I really wanted to learn more about the Lord and for something to work. But I was so scared.
I didn’t have much of a criminal background, never spend any time in jail, and had never been to ra rehab program of any kind. I was used to my own little comfort zone and have never even been out of state. So, I had no idea what to expect but I was definitely afraid of failing again. Plus, at the time 8 months seemed like forever.
I applied and waited about two weeks before I was accepted into Through The Gate. The transition was difficult. For the first few days, I just cried unexplainably and couldn’t stop. I had never dealt with my emotions or anything else really. I never had to or really even cared to. It was easier to drown it out. Responsibility and structure were strange and scary.
The entire experience has been overall the best thing that has ever happened to me. I would have always said that I believed in God before and I did have a sense of what was right. But being here at Through The Gate has taught me so much about God’s Word. The biblical counseling class taught me about communication. I’ve learned to take my thoughts captive. I have a tendency to overthink everything and I have learned that all my thoughts are not as relevant or urgent as they feel.
I have become excited about God’s plan for marriage. I have learned that the role of a husband is to lead and the wife to submit, that respecting him is the way to practice love, and that the husband is supposed to love the wife with sacrificial love: the way that Christ loves the church.
My husband and I have been doing a bible study together and I look forward to implementing these new principals into my marriage.
I have a new outlook on motherhood which has changed my relationship to my daughter. I realize now how important it is to disciple my her and how significant I could be in bringing her to God. I just want her to learn at a young age so that she can grow up knowing what I didn’t know. In my life, I had always done something to lose the people close to me or they just left me. I struggled with loss and feeling abandoned and lonely for so long. But maybe God takes them because I idolized them. Maybe it was the Lord pursing my heart. I want my daughter to know that God is there for her. I want her to have that best friend when nobody is around, to know that she is never alone.
I just want to thank God for His sovereignty and everybody that has anything to do with Through The Gate. I’m so grateful for Bella for being there for me. And Morgan and Lindsay for being good friends and role models. I want to thank Aurora and Jason for counseling me. I know that isn’t easy. I am grateful for my father for sticking with me through my failures. And I want to especially thank Steve and Janet for the whole program and how much they put into it. For how much they pour into our lives and how much they love us. You have all put me in my place when I needed it.
And to the ladies going through the program now, I would like to say that no matter how you feel or what you think, God can pull you through it. I don’t know ho wmany times I thought a certain way and had the wrong perspective, just for the purpose to later be revealed or good to come from it. It is worth it!
Hello, my name is Cheryl. I was born and raised in Crawfordsville. I grew up an only child in a loving home with my mother and father. Although I was an only child, I did not feel alone. I had plenty of neighborhood friends who were like brothers and sisters to me. I spent a lot of time with my mom and dad. They included me in their vacations and they never left me out of their activities or pushed me away.
I had a very good relationship with both of my parents. My mother had a spunky personality and my dad always encouraged me to strive for more. He was an intelligent business man who loved animals. Even though I didn’t always apply his lessons well, he made me feel loved. I could often be found on the outskirts at my uncles house playing with our horses and dogs.
I was an A, B, C student in school and an active member on the cheerleading squad. It motivated me to keep my grades up. I always believed in God, but didn’t have much knowledge about him growing up. We would thank him at family gatherings and my mother and I occasionally went to church. After football games, my friends and I would meet up and drink for fun but I never thought it could be a problem.
After graduation I went to work at Plastenes in Crawfordsville, where I ran the injection molder. I was content there for 14 years until they closed down. It wasn’t long after that I entered in to my first marriage at age 21. That lasted for 9 years. There was nothing horrible about our marriage, except that I felt neglected and alone. After we divorced, I was sure I would never marry again. That outlook didn’t last. My next marriage was good for a few years. But it wasn’t long before I saw that he was abusive and unfaithful. I blamed myself at the time because I thought I must have done something wrong. That was the start of my lowest point.
I used alcohol to cope with the depression and I was working a lot of overtime to escape my reality. I thought drinking would make everything go away but it didn’t. I was trying to keep my mind off of it all but it’s difficult because we lived in a small town and he was harsh. We lived only two blocks away from each other.
I got my first DUI around this time but I did not think much of it. It was just another thing I had to deal with. But it didn’t cause me to stop drinking and driving. My 3 closest friends knew that I was struggling and they tried encouraging me. However, that only went so far because they weren’t in my shoes. I still felt alone. It took me a long time to get over that. During this time, I felt disappointment towards the world. I was disappointed because things had not turned out the way I always thought they would. This is when things started going downhill.
I would drink to fix the problem but when I woke up, the problem was still there. I started working at a bar, where I didn’t feel bothered by the alcohol. However, I ended up getting another DUI. The judge continued allowing me to work at the bar as long as I took screens for probation. I was still young and dumb and just thought, “here I go again.”
I still didn’t think I had a problem then. You tell yourself it isn’t going to happen again. The amount of time between my offenses and the fact that I had went almost two years sober only added to the delusion that I had control. But I was still holding on to a lot of anger and resentment. My ex tried coming back into my life around this time. He kept filling my head with lies and false hope. My life with him was even worse the second time and I finally decided I wasn’t going back. I just kept running to my job to fill the time but it was not fulfilling me. I was getting burnt out from all of the overtime hours I was taking.
In 2015, I got another DUI. I remained sober on house arrest. On house arrest, I married my husband. We had known each other since we were young. He never lied or cheated and put me before himself. He was always concerned about me and wanted the best for me. I wasn’t really used to that in relationships. We were both on house arrest, so we could only hang out 3-6 hours once a week at first. We would ride his Harley and go to cookouts. He made me feel comfortable, like I could talk to him about anything. I didn’t have to worry about abuse for my feelings and we could relate to each other. I didn’t feel judged. He never put me down for anything.
Unfortunately, I violated probation by drinking again. Because of my decisions, I was sent to jail for six months. Jail sucked. There was no one in there I bonded with. I knew I was in jail because of my own fault. I felt bad because of the time I had lost with my family and my husband.
Then, in jail my lawyer told me about Through The Gate. He told me about how he had sent two other girls there before. From what he heard and experienced, he said it was a better place to go than the other places he checked out. Despite his positive ideas, I was pretty sure I was going to prison because the judge was against it.
My judge was saying rehabilitation programs don’t work. She wanted me to serve a 3 year prison sentence. When I heard this, I was terrified. I kept thinking she was going to reject our request for rehab because she kept looking at the papers my lawyer wrote and shaking her head. But once she agreed, my lawyer said, “hurry, sign these papers real quick before she changes her mind” The judge said to me “do your 8 months on ankle bracelet and good luck with your life”.
I weighed my options. I could go to Through The Gate, where I would have freedom, see daylight, and learn about God…or I could go to prison. Rehab sounded much better. I went to court at 1 and got out after 3, not in time for intake at TTG. So, I was transported by the jail first thing the next morning. I arrived at Through The Gate in shackles. When we pulled up I was filled with fear because of all the uncertainty. It beat pulling up at prison though. By ringing the buzzer I scared everyone who was asleep. The first person I met was Tisha, and then Amanda and Eunice (who I was in jail with). We sat at the table and talked, they offered me food and made me feel welcome.
This program has improved my relationship with Christ. I had always believed in God, but I learned a lot more being here than what I knew before. One thing I have learned is not to get so angry about things.
God gave me a peace and calm within myself. Before coming here, I had a bad attitude and was very irritable. My family has noticed my temper is better and that I am more encouraging even to them.
I am glad that I came to Through The Gate, I would recommend women to come here. I have seen what it has done for other girls in the house. And I’ve seen girls from other programs and they are not doing so good. I hope that the girls that are doing the program now get a peace of mind and change of life. Once I graduate I look forward to getting a job with a new perspective on work. I want to spend my pay check on good things that build up my marriage. I also have friends and family ready to be my support system.
I want to thank my family and the program in general. Thank you for all of your support and help.
My name is Amanda. I’ve been married to my husband for a little over 5years. I have 3 children of my own and 4 step-daughters, along with 2 grandchildren. I started to dabble in drugs when I was in my early 20’s. It started off with me smoking marijuana and then I was introduced to prescription pills. Pills became my go-to very quickly.
I learned from taking various pills that I could numb myself so that I didn’t have to feel the things in life that I did not want to deal with. They numbed my feelings and my emotions. After having my 2 boys at the ages of 24 and 26, my life really started to spiral out of control. I was going through a divorce and didn’t really know how to be alone. I started letting people in my life that I shouldn’t have.
I had my daughter at the age of 31 and 6 weeks after giving birth to her I was arrested on charges of dealing a controlled substance. I had sold pills to someone who was a confidential informant. I was sentenced to 6 years with the Indiana Department of Corrections. I felt like my world had just came to an end when I was given that sentence. I did my time and got out when my daughter was 3yrs old. Life was going good for a few years.
In February of 2014, I married my wonderful husband. He’s involved with church and works all the time: having the same job for numerous years. I thought this is it, life is going to continue to be great but as with any marriage, we had our ups and downs. With me not ever learning ways to deal with things, I did what I knew best: I let my addiction creep back into my life to help me deal with things that I didn’t know how to deal with, to numb the pain and emotions. My children were older at this point and my relationship with them became rocky.
I had several arrests at this point but still wasn’t ready for the help. I honestly didn’t think that I had a problem because the pills were prescribed to me and I wasn’t getting them off the streets like I had in the past. My attitude towards other people was horrible. Others tried holding me accountable but I just was not having it. It always ended up in arguments and screaming matches between my children, my husband and my children’s father.
I lied to get my way, I never did any wrong, I was selfish and only thought of myself and not what my actions and behaviors were doing to the ones who loved me the most. I didn’t have a good relationship with anyone at this point and I hated my life. I always felt alone, I always felt like nobody really truly cared, I had trust issues and I was not happy with life one bit. Depression was deep and although I had been to secular counseling I didn’t trust them and just told them what they wanted to hear. I knew deep down that I needed to get help, but I was always so worried about what others would think of me, not stopping and realizing that my actions were already causing people to look at me in a negative way, and admitting that you need help is a tough one to swallow.
In April and September of 2018 I got arrested once again. As I sat in that jail cell something came over me and told me that it was time to just give in, give up and get help. So I called my husband from the jail to tell him that I was finally ready to get the help that I so desperately needed. When I was able to say those words to my husband it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
In October, I was accepted at Through the Gate. I had heard of the place but didn’t know much about it (or any rehab for that matter). When I got sentenced in December, the judge allowed me to come to TTG. Although extremely nervous, I finally felt some hope for my future: that things could finally start looking up for me! The first in a very long time.
When I arrived it was very intimidating because I had stopped going to church when I became a teen. Then my husband got me back into church, although I was not applying Gods word to my life. In part, because I didn’t understand what I was reading and hearing and was too afraid to ask questions. But I knew if I was going to succeed in this program then I needed to put my worries behind me. In order for me to grow, I had to learn that God was in control. Being pushed out of my comfort zone was all part of growing!
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” I had to learn early on in the program how to do this. Trusting in the Lord was a hard thing to learn because I had never really trusted anyone in my life. So now I had to learn how to trust in someone that I couldn’t even see.
As I started to get into the program, I began to understand Gods word and what it meant. I was seeing Gods blessings in other people’s lives around me and I wanted that. I wanted some of those same blessings. I began to see just how selfish and prideful that I was. It opened my eyes to a lot of different things in the way I treated people and acted towards others. I was definitely living in my fleshy desires of the world and I no longer wanted to be that way. I wanted to walk by the Spirit.
I wanted to bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I had seen these things in people and thought that could never be me. But as the Lord continued to work, I started to see these things take place in my life.
I saw how serving others felt satisfying to me when I was always chasing things of this world to give that same exact feeling. I learned how to communicate with others without attacking them, which was always a problem for me. Now I can communicate and set healthy boundaries and not feel bad about it. I have been given the strength to rid the people of my life that are no longer healthy for me. God has replaced those people with ones that genuinely care for my well-being and love me; ones that want to see me succeed, help me continue to grow as a person and in my walk with the Lord.
The past 20 years of my life have been full of ups and downs. Never one time did I think that I would be where I am today but here I am, a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here”.
Today my relationship with the Lord is so much stronger than it was just 8 months ago. I have learned to lean on Him: not just in the easy times but the hard times too. I may not always get the outcome in situations that I had hoped for, but I now know that it’s all in His plan and I have to trust in that. My relationship with my children, my husband and my family is stronger, healthier and happier. I give all the praise to the Lord for all the work that he has done in my life, and continues to do in my life, always giving me the desire to want to do better!
To my children, husband, and my parents, thank you all for being who you are: for being so much stronger than I ever could be. Thank you for never turning your back on me. Thank you for believing in me when all I saw was darkness. Thank you for never losing hope. You all gave me the courage to vow to myself each and every day to do better today than the day before. Thank you for the tough love and the honesty that you have given me over the past years but most importantly these past 8 months. You are my gifts from God and I will continue to treat our relationship as so, I love you all so much.
Nikki, God brought you back in my life to help me through the darkness that had taken over my life. You have taught me that I have a story and that my story matters. More so, you have taught me that other people need my story. You inspire me to be the best version of myself. You have taught me so many things and I want to thank you. Thank you for inspiring me in life, thank you for making me want to be a better person. Thank you for always understanding. You never judged me. You accepted me. And your open-mindedness and compassionate heart always comforted me. Thank you for being you. I just love you.
Steve and Janet, God knew what a handful I was! He knew I was going to need a second set of parents in my life so He placed you both in my life. I can never thank you for all that you both have done in my life and continue to do. You have given your lives to serve people like me. You have sacrificed so much to help others and myself get our lives together when we couldn’t do it on our own. Thank you for challenging me and then helping me live a life of meaning and purpose. Thank you for seeing what I could be through the power of Jesus Christ and not just what I was. Thank you for demonstrating grace, love and patience. Thank you for always believing in me and allowing me to continue to be a part of this amazing journey with TTG. I will always be forever grateful for all that you have shown me and taught me. I love you both.
Lindsay, Morgan, and Bella: you all are excellent examples of how I want to be and live. Thank you for being such wonderful friends and sisters in Christ. I appreciate all your love, kindness, and support. You both inspired me during a difficult time when I needed words of encouragement. You don’t even know how much your help meant to me. Few people have the privilege of having such supportive and loving friends and I’m beyond lucky to have that from all of you. I’m truly grateful from the bottom of my heart that God placed you ladies in my life and gave me the special gift of our friendship. Thank you for just being who you are. I love you so much!
My name is Lindsay and I was born in May 1987. My favorite movie is The Little Mermaid and my favorite color is turquoise because its a combination of blue and green. I was baptized as a baby at Hope Chapel Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, IN; which is where I was born and raised. I grew up going to that church and went to church camp every summer from elementary to high school. I heard of Jesus and His miracles but had never applied God’s Word to my life.
My childhood was good and I was blessed to have parents who were loving, supportive, and hard working. I took them for granted with my selfishness, stubbornness, and disobedience. My parents rarely drank and did absolutely no drugs. I lost my grandma and my great aunt whom I was close to in a terrible accident while I was in middle school. I was in sports and was good in my athletic performances. During those years was the first time I got drunk because I stole my parents alcohol from a top cabinet to look cool in front of kids on the bus. And that is also the time I started acting upon sexual desires to get boys to like me. In the back of my mind, I knew these actions were wrong but the fear of man and lack of God’s Word was great in my heart of stone.
In high school, I quit basketball and started smoking weed. Then that moved to smoking cigarettes, taking painkillers, eating mushrooms, sneaking out of the house, getting drunk, and being sexually active. After high school, I planned to get a criminal justice degree, but my fleshly desire for partying was greater than my desire to be successful. I met and had 2 children with the father of my oldest kids. While with him, we drank excessively, smoked weed, and ate acid. He was verbally and physically abusive, even when I was pregnant with my children. Again, I knew that those actions were wrong, but my fear of man and lack of God’s Word was great.
There were nights that I prayed to God he would pass out and not hurt me and God answered some of my prayers. My children are miracles from God because there were times I thought he was going to kill me. I was like the father whose son was healed by Jesus. In Mark 9:24, the father told Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I didn’t reach out for help though because I had a distorted view of a family life from my own heart problem of not having a close relationship with God.
By the grace of God, I was able to get out of the relationship after 6 years, but I was still unable to find peace from the pain I had buried over the years. I began to drink even more and take adderall. I got into another abusive relationship which resulted in trying meth and heroin, a CHINS case with DCS, losing my house to a fire, having a miscarriage, and losing my last grandma. I did my best to work with DCS and found a little hope and support for a better future after leaving my 2nd abuser, but not to the glory of God. I was proud of myself for these works. I was proud that I even got back into school to try again at becoming a police officer, but my heart problem was still present and my motives were evil. On top of that, I was still drinking and smoking weed.
I agreed with DCS that I need to sign over temporary guardianship to my parents, for my lack of being successful in my CHINS case. That is when I began my hard addiction with meth and anything else I could get my hands on. I was never at home with my children when I was still welcomed to live at my parents. I had told myself that when I thought I was doing something good like going to school to become a police officer, I was still a bad mother and because of 2 abusive relationships, I was not even a good woman. With that conclusion, what was I to hope for? I was on the street, walking in the middle of the night, high, and at trap houses filled with gang members, guns and drugs. I didn’t want to commit suicide myself, so I would ask the boys with guns to shoot me in the face and they looked at me like I was crazy.
Somewhere among these events, I started talking to God. I was so lost, it started with murmurs and ramblings while I was still high. Then I began to really converse with him. I felt like all I wanted was to love and to be loved back. I didn’t understand all the suffering I went through and how I was suppose to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I met my husband in my active addiction. He was kind and tried to teach me about respect. We were friends for a short time before he went to jail for a year and I entered into another negative relationship that involved heroin. I got arrested for the first time during this year, served a month, got out, and started right back where I left off. Eventually, I had a court hearing coming up and was so sick of the drug lifestyle I thought to myself about missing court on purpose, getting a warrant, and turning myself in. I went and visited Zack in jail and told him my plan. With his counsel, he agreed it would be best for me. I served 4 months in jail where I was in God’s Word everyday, prayed to learn how to surrender to His will, and was thankful for Zack’s encouragement.
After I got out of jail, I got pregnant, relapsed, and was involved in the drug lifestyle again. Once again, I knew my actions were wrong and was wondering why I put myself back into the same lifestyle I was sick of. I was still like the father in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” I had another opportunity to miss court and get a warrant. I took it knowing it was better for me to go to jail while I was pregnant and to be sober, than to be out on the streets again. I was so thankful to be in jail! I was able to go to doctor’s appointments, be honest with my doctor about my drug use, make arrangements for when I was to be released, and be back in God’s Word daily. During this time my dad knew I was pregnant but my mom didn’t. I asked him to tell my mom and she didn’t want me to come home after jail.
When I was released, my children were the first people I wanted to see and my dad brought them to pick me up from jail. I was 7 months pregnant, sober, and felt the love of my children in my arms. I had made arrangements to live with an older Christian couple, but when my dad took me home to see my mom, she saw me, we hugged, and she let me stay. She was shocked to see how far along pregnant I was.
I got a job, had my son with my mom and sister at my side, and was in the clear of him testing positive for drugs (because of my drug use during my pregnancy). I felt a moment of bonding with my sister after his birth and began to hope for better relationships in my family. I went to Sunday service from time to time and attended “A Better Life: Brianna’s Hope” at my parents church where addicts can meet, share a meal, and give testimonies. Since I kept a job, was home every night with my children, and paying for daycare, I felt in control and good about where I stood in life. Then, I gave into my fleshly desires again and started smoking weed and drinking on the weekends. I was justifying to myself that I was doing fine with a little bit of fun with my hard work.
One day I received a call about Zack and sought to help him and take him to Brianna’s Hope to talk to the pastor about getting into a rehab. He ended up at a place in Indy called Agape and we finally committed to being in a relationship. The weekend partying continued, we got arrested, and he left rehab. He had a good job and my parents let him stay there if he could make weekly rent payments and buy groceries. We started using meth and heroin again, got married, and were completely out of control, putting our children in danger. The whole time we thought we were in control.
We checked ourselves into Sycamore Springs, got out, got high. This time, not being able to live at my parents or take care of our son, we found ourselves at a man’s house with freedom to spend his money. It was absolute chaos and insane. Neither one of us wanted what we were doing, but couldn’t understand why we were doing it. Like Paul says in Romans 7:15-20, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
Being stranded at Walmart with no car, no money, no food, we reached out to our Christian friends, Jared and Mara, for help. They opened their home to us so we could detox. They fellowshipped with us and encouraged us to decide to get help through the love of God. Trinity Life Ministries and Through the Gate became our new homes. Separated in our first year of marriage, we took a leap of faith and truly surrendered to God’s will.
Now I began the story of my rebirth! I am a child of God, adopted to receive His salvation through Christ who died on the cross for us. Participating in the 8 month program at Through the Gate has truly given me a “Freedom to Grow.” I was able to wrap my mind around the scripture of Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand,” gives me an advantage to face any of life’s trials.
Because of what Jesus has done, I love and accept myself. He has given me a new nature and I am ready for the new life He wants me to live. All of my confusing thoughts and questions are answered through God’s Word. I now know that I had a major heart problem in the darkness of my sin, and by fully believing Christ is my Savior, He brings me to light. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that through my darkest active addiction, He was pursuing me. I can try to tell you how much God fully knows and loves me, but human words cannot express accurately enough.
My life verse I choose to describe my walk with Christ is Psalm 139:14, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” I love the Lord our God with trembling fear and wonder. I believe His word over man and through Christ have overcome my addictions. I can never repay what He has restored, so I surrender my life and everyone in it to follow the righteous path He has planned for us all. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Thank you God to everyone who has supported me on this journey and may God bless you for your love: My husband, Zackry, our children, our parents, our trusted Christian friends, Trinity Administration and Through the Gate Staff. Thank you God for placing this program on the hearts of Steve and Janet Covington and the Stonewater Church family. I love you all, and God bless all!