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When I was just one year old, my father took the life of two others and committed suicide. My mom turned to a life of drugs after the death of my father and has been in and out of my life ever since. Mom remarried another man that abused me at a very young age along with my siblings. I was removed from the home to live with different relatives. Unfortunately, the relatives I was placed in custody with were not healthy either, and the abuse continued. Around 10 years of age I began to be placed in several different group homes. I lived in 13 different home environments through my adolescence.
When I came to be a part of the New Life Transitional Program I was 20 years and had no idea how to be an adult. I had not yet graduated from high school, and I contemplated taking my life. The program provided a place for me to grow and helped my self-esteem.
Here are some of the accomplishments I made in the two years of being a part of NLTP. I enrolled myself back in high school and graduated. I got my first job and moved into an apartment that was mine alone. I received a scholarship to the Care Giving Institute and got a caregiving certificate. I learned many different life skills and learned how to cope with my emotions and pain. I have two years of sobriety.Most importantly this program gave me time to trust that Jesus is in the process of healing my past hurts. At church one day I felt like Jesus shared with me that He knew the pain I went through as a child and that He wept with me that day. It was like we literally shared tears together. Knowing He loves me so much that He recognized my pain, I was able to learn to forgive the people that have hurt me.
I am grateful to God and this program for helping me take my life back.
I remember when I first walked into Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries (ABCS) and asked to take a free pregnancy test. While waiting for my results I saw a pamphlet for the New Life Transitional Program and decided to ask for an application. My pregnancy test was positive, and I was unsure about going through with the pregnancy. The pregnancy center at ABCS offered me a free ultrasound. I found out I was having twins and thought, I can’t abort two babies. I didn’t know what God was doing in my life, but when I started my first class in the program He gave me the verse Matthew 6:33, Seek first the kingdom of God… I have graduated from the program and am now a mentor. I also volunteer with the pregnancy center. I am completing my Master’s degree and I am happier than ever with my four amazing children.
When I joined the program, I was taking a leave of absence from college wondering how I would survive as a single parent of a six month old. I was frustrated socially, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Through NLTP, I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes because they are opportunities for learning and growth. I learned the importance of boundaries, money management, joy, healthy relationships, balance and grace based parenting. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of achieving; I was challenged as a mother, student and young adult. I am currently pursuing a dual degree in Mathematics and Information, Science and Arts, and I am the proud parent of a little man who loves wearing bowties.
My four kids and I have lived in Tucson for almost two years. My husband and I were both raised in Christian homes. I have been married for 15 years, and my husband has been in prison the last four. Faith was always a part of my life, but only when I thought I needed. Today I cannot exist without it. Becoming a single mom overnight, going back to school and providing for a family have not been easy. I needed to find a community to help and encourage me. I found that with NLTP. Connecting with the other participants has equipped me with more tools to continue my journey of faith.
On the first day of seeing if I was going to be accepted into the program I remember being greeted with a smile from the receptionist. I spoke to the program director, who made me feel welcome too as she explained the program to me. I hadn’t been in this type of program before but it felt like it would be a good outcome for my family. NLTP has been great and has given me a better understanding of myself, my relationships and God. I have a stronger sense of self-worth since I started the program.
The curriculum used for the program is informative and has helped me grow. If there is something hard to understand, the teachers and other clients in the program help one another in an atmosphere of equality and encouragement.
As part of the program, every client gets a counselor and a mentor. My counselor has been great since she is not the stuffy, serious counselor I have had in the past, and my mentor is like talking to a good friend. The transitional program has been a Godsend to me.
Coming into the program I was very nervous and scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared to open up and share personal things about my life, but I also knew this is what I needed to get my life back on track. I have only been in the program since August, but it has changed me so much.
My teachers and counselor have been great, but the main person that has given me the most hope and good advice has been my mentor. She is a great listener and has been there for me, helped me to achieve my goals and lifted my spirits. She is like a sister to me, and I thank God for sending her to me.
This program has taught me how to forgive and how to move forward. I love all of my classes, and the homework is great. My goals include finding a decent house for my kids and a part time job so I can provide for them. I know I can achieve my goals with a lot of hard work, prayer and my faith in God.
Had you asked me who I was two years ago, I would have said that I was a hopeless addict, incapable of living one day without an obsession or compulsion driving my actions. I would have said I was one more generation in a long line of hopeless addicts with dysfunctional relationships. I would have said I was incapable of commitment, not because I feared them, but because addiction and dysfunction don’t lend themselves to long term employment, friendships, marriages, or even apartment leases.
I learned to escape life, or indeed, anything remotely painful or difficult, early in life. I found that escape in drugs by the time I was 8, and from then on, I lived to find escape from living. I began conniving, manipulating and calculating, to find escape. And so went my life. Drugs, alcohol, sex…Anything to escape, even if just for a moment, the chaos, pain and confusion. With the addictions came denial, dishonesty, and delusion – whatever it took to maintain the illusions I portrayed in my life.
Suddenly, I found myself, at 45 years old, a single mother of two beautiful children who deserved better than I was able to provide, who deserved to learn more than I was able to teach and deserved more love than I new how to give. I realized I was empty. I prayed for God’s guidance, and he started showing me the truth in scripture. I had 45 years of dysfunctional living to unlearn. I realized I needed some crash courses in healthy living. I prayed and God put Arizona Baptist Children’s Services New Start Program in my path.
The director of the New Life Transitional Program began mentoring me in all aspects of my life. I began to trust. I attended classes on boundaries, parenting, goal setting, financial peace and Bible concepts. I began to exhibit characteristics important in healthy relationships, and I learned healthy boundaries to keep me whole and individual. I also started seeing a Christian counselor who was able to help me learn to experience life - to be, rather than to do. Between counseling and mentoring, I learned to start trusting God and not people, and to believe that I could change. And I did change. I used the skills I had developed to help me deal with my money, my children, my walk with Christ, my relationship with other people and my feelings in healthy, successful ways.
Now, I no longer say I am a hopeless addict. I am a beloved child of God unique and special to Him. I am a great mother who disciplines in love. I am a loyal employee who shows up on time and gives 100% all day each day. I am a proud American citizen, who votes and obeys the law, including driving the speed limit. I am a good steward of God’s money who tithes and avoids debt. I am a valued friend who makes time to spend with others. I am a leader in a church ministry, encouraging others to make similar life changes. I don’t have to lie, cheat, steal or self-medicate to get through the day anymore. Instead, I pray, I do the next right thing and I help others. I have purpose and fulfillment in all I do, from the moment I wake until the moment I sleep. I thank God every day for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, and especially for the New Life Transitional Program.