Growing up, I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in the church with parents who love the Lord. I did well in school but I wasn’t in with the cool kids and they made fun of me. I felt less than, embarrassed and withdrew a little. I was friends with the kids nobody else wanted to be friends with. I went to church, was active in the youth group and I loved it!
Fast forward to my freshman year of high school, I started to compromise my morals to “fit in.” It started out with choosing friends that weren’t good for me, and then lead to smoking cigarettes, marijuana, drinking beer and being rebellious. One weekend, I ran away from home to stay with my boyfriend. I went back home and ran away that very next weekend. I was out of control. I went to stay at an all-girls boarding school in east Texas for 13 months, where my relationship with the Lord was renewed and intimate. I returned home with my family.
My junior year in high school, I began sneaking out of the house to go drink and smoke marijuana. I got caught a few times and decided to move out of the house without telling my parents. I knew they would talk me out of it, plus I didn’t want to go back to the boarding school. I continued to party, drink, I started doing Heroin and drugs I had never done before. Before long, I was working at a strip club, I was in trouble with the law and I was addicted to meth. I went on the run to California where I continued spiraling out of control. After a few months, I returned to Dallas.
Upon my return to Dallas, I went to another club where I met a man that held me at gun point, demanding that I work for him as a prostitute. I was so afraid, alone, and without hope! I told him I would dance and give him money from doing that. We agreed. Days later, bounty hunters showed up at my door to arrest me. I was put in jail for 2 months. Nothing was going my way. Why was it always me?
I cleaned up my act in jail. Shortly after I was released, I became pregnant at 20 and had my son, Andrew, at 21. He changed my world. I wanted to be a better person for myself but mostly for him. For the next few years, I took good care of Andrew and loved him. When Andrew was 3, I found myself slipping back into old habits. I began smoking meth and doing cocaine, every once-in-a-while.
One night, my boyfriend at the time and I decided we were going to do mushrooms. When we were high, he introduced me to cheese, snorting heroin. A few days of that and I was hooked. That lead me to a place that I never thought I would be and do things I never thought I would do. For a while, I didn’t think there was a problem. Then CPS came knocking at the door, wanting me to prove that I was a fit mother. I went to a rehab, methadone clinic and none of these cured the problem, they only masque the physical pain for a short time. Long story short, I couldn’t stop by myself. I needed something more. I didn’t know it then but I need Jesus to change my life forever!
My son ended up getting adopted by his foster mom, where he now resides. After my son was removed from my care, I felt that I didn’t have anything to live for, except to get the next fix. I ended up losing my apartment, my car, everything I owned, and my self-worth. I moved to an area where motels, strip clubs and prostitutes are the norm. I began working at another club to support the addictions I had. I got fired from that club for having my dealer meet me there. From there, I began selling my body to support my habit. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. I remember, crying out to God, begging Him to help me because I couldn’t help myself. I knew He would help me but I probably wouldn’t like it at the time. At one point, after getting kicked out of every motel I could walk to, I ended up living under a bridge for a few months. I got arrested twice, while living that way. The second time I knew things had to change or I would end up in prison. I gave my life back to the Lord in church while in jail the last time. A few days after I was released, I went to a rehab program, sobered up, stayed for 3 months and thought I would be okay getting back with my ex-boyfriend, since we were both sober. That was a joke. I was about to be stranded in El Paso, but I ended up getting on a greyhound to San Diego to be with my sons father.
When I got there, I went right back to where I started. I was living in a hotel, doing heroin and meth again, and asking people for money at gas stations. I knew that I was headed right back where I was but it would be worse this time. I contacted my parents, asking them to help me get back to Dallas for my court date so I wouldn’t have to go to a prison rehab. They got me home on a greyhound and the very next day, took me to Restored Hope. I was scared, still a little strung out. Who were these people, could I trust them. I reluctantly stayed and began my life at RHM.
It was there that I laid everything down at Jesus feet and completely surrendered myself to Him. Through Pastor Sam and Sherry, the Lord provided me a beautiful place to clean up, clear my mind, be open to Jesus and know Him more. I learned how to live life a different, better way, with Christ in the center. Pastor Sam filed for a grant for me to go to school and I started my training to be an Aesthetician. RHM helped me pay my fines, and probation costs. They bought me a bus pass every month and took care of every need. Was it easy, NO! I took one day at a time and before I knew it I was ready for Graduation. After I graduated RHM helped me get an apartment by paying my deposit and furnishing the apartment with everything I needed. I love my apartment!
I will never be the same! I am so grateful that Pastor Sam and Sherry listened to the calling the Lord has on their life for this season. My life has been truly changed forever, thanks to them, and above all, to Jesus Christ!
Love you all. Julia