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Autumn's Story

From Mug Shot to Head Shot
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After a decade of addiction and multiple stays in jail December 2019 I was released to the Beauty for Ashes Women and Children’s home by nothing short of a miracle. My addiction and other life controlling issues had taken everything from me at this point including the birth of my daughter.

In 2016 I gave birth accompanied by an armed guard, chained to a bed.  The happiest moment of a mother’s life, left me broken and feeling less than human. This magical bonding time was a time of worry and defeat. I got out of jail and was able to maintain medicated sobriety for a few years but never worked on myself, or addressed underlying issues that caused me so much pain so by August of 2019 I was back in an abusive relationship and back on drugs worse than ever before. By September I overdosed which put me right back where I thought I truly belonged as a number in the county jail.  But even though I had literally the worst odds of release there was something different this time, I knew I had to try to get home to my daughter. There was a different voice in my head this time and for whatever reason Our God is an Awesome God was on repeat in my mind. I walked in a court room and was told no to a bond. Walking out my court appointed attorney looked at me and told me no we’re appealing this. I didn’t realize until later that this was just the start of God fighting for me to come home.

I got my bond and it changed everything. I pulled up to a beautiful white brick home to these two ladies carrying flowers and a stuffed animal. No chains no guns. I walked inside and the executive director who had been waiting for me all day sat down and ate a meal with me, she walked myself and my child to our room and told us welcome home. I was so confused. This was nothing like I was expecting. Over the course of the next year this same intentionality went into every day of my and my child’s life. While I was in classes getting things straight, Alexa was downstairs with other kids learning how to play in a safe environment. And at the end of the day she would run into my arms and tell me everything she learned.

 

When my court case came back up and I began to worry about all the mess stripping Alexa and myself apart again Cindy Zello looked me in the eyes held my hands and reminded me that God didn’t bring me this far to drop me off. If she had to care for Alexa her self and come bond me out because I had no money and no one safe to help me at this time She’d be there. And for the first time in my life I believed that I was seen as something more than a useless drug addict. For the first time in my life I started to understand what the intentional Love of God really was. We make mistakes and sin creeps in but when you take a posture of obedience and surrender to His will there is no weapon of hell that stand a chance.

 

I ended up doing so well in the program they offered me extended care and an internship so that I could help give back to ministry that saved my life and answer the call that God gave while he was piecing me back together. Today with the love and support of the ministry behind me I’ve finished a 1 year ministerial leadership course and started on my Bachelors in Christian counseling with a focus in psychology. I’ve learned that he repurposes pain and as I got to the point when Pastor Cindy asked me what was next I had an answer, I told her I wanna work for you because I don’t want another woman to ever feel the way I felt in my addiction, I want addicts to find true freedom and meet Jesus. And now I’ve gotten to be back in the hospital with a woman who was supposed to give birth in the same situation I did… BUT GOD and it was the best experience of my life to see a mom hold her baby without the fear of losing her. Because my testimony is simple. “   Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.   But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Today I am 4 years free of all life controlling issues. Not walking with my head held high out of prideful triumph but kneeling at the foot of the cross in daily appreciation for a life I never thought I was worthy of living. It’s not easy and I still have my ups and downs but my worst day with Jesus can’t compare to my best day wandering the streets of DC looking for a clean bathroom to get high in.

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