The father of my first child, when she was four months old, he died of a brain aneurysm. He was eighteen years old. That left me at the age of sixteen to raise a daughter on my own. I finally got married at the age of thirty-three. For the first time in my life I felt like my life was on track, like I had done something right. My family approved of him. He was an upstanding man. He was a scientist. We had two beautiful sons, two gorgeous sons, and for a little while, life was good. Even during that there was something inside of me that was just aching for something more.
I got prescribed pain medication. When he had an affair, it just completely devastated me. I think that at that point after being strong for so many years raising my daughters, I just stopped trying. I completely gave in to the depression, and I gave into the addiction. I became homeless. I lost custody of my sons. It was then that I cried out to the Lord. I was in my bed by myself, going through withdrawals from pain medication. That’s when I cried out, and I said, “Lord, I know you’re out there. I just know that you’re there. I need you to give me the strength to face this life. I need you to give me the strength to be the mother that I need to be to my children. You have blessed me with these children. Please help me to be the mother that I need to be.” I knew that the Lord had heard me, and I knew that He had saved me. I knew that I was different from then on out. I basically told everyone that I came in contact with. I told everyone that I love. I even went on Facebook and said, “I’m an addict. I have lost everything. I’m going to change my life, and I need your support.” I applied to several different places, and everyone, every door at every place I applied at, the door closed for one reason or another, except for Women at the Well.
I graduate on Saturday. I can’t even tell you what that ministry, what the Lord has done for me and in me through that ministry. The depression that I had for so many years is absolutely gone. He’s replaced it with a joy that’s never going to go away. No matter what I face, I will have that joy. I thought, “Lord, I’m going to fast lunches, and I am just going to go into my prayer closet and pray to you everyday.” That was one of the first times that I heard him audibly say to me, “If you’re going to do it for your children, then why don’t you give me your children?” I realized that my children were my god. When I got there, my children were above God. I think maybe the dependence first started when my daughter’s dad died. I felt like I was her only parent. I was her only parent, so I was all she had. Then my other daughter…her father wasn’t the best influence. I felt like I had to pick up the slack. I felt like I was the only responsible one in the situation. I thought, “You can’t be saying that. You can’t be asking me to give up my children. I have already moved away from North Carolina to be in this program. They are already missing their Mom. You can’t be asking me not to contact them, but He was.
I fasted my children for forty days. My sons were young. They were only ten and twelve years old, so I knew that it would be hard for them to understand, but I had to obey the Lord. In doing that, I even had my daughter’s birthday during that fast. I remember it was about lunch time and somebody said, “Is today the fourteenth?” I thought, “Oh my gosh! It’s my daughter’s birthday, and I hadn’t even thought about it yet.” My children were always on my mind until I did that fast. Then the Lord was always on my mind. It wasn’t about doing what they need. I mean, yes I want to be there as their mother, but it was about putting the Lord first. Then He would make everything work out the way that it was supposed to work out. That was probably the turning point for me, was that He helped me to see that He needs to come first.