As a kid, Christmas was an exciting time of opening gifts and having fun with my foster brothers and sisters. You see I spent 10 years of my life in DFCS custody. I actually grew up in a group home just down the street from Gilgal. I loved my mother very much, but she and my father were unable to care for me and my siblings. She died when I was 17 and after that my world fell apart.
I began to smoke crack and became so wrapped up in life on the street that when I got pregnant with my son (who is now 12) I didn’t even know who his father was. My life has been filled with tragedy and rejection. My addiction to crack has taken me a lot of dark places and I carry the physical and emotional scars to prove it. I have also carried the label of “black sheep” and “outcast” for many years.
While childhood Christmases hold fond memories, adulthood was entirely different. So many holidays came and went without me even realizing it. For years I was literally homeless, sleeping under the bridges of downtown Atlanta and showering at nearby shelters. I carried what little clothing I had in a small bookbag and survived day to day.
Last Christmas, I was locked up on drug charges and in trouble for violating probation (again). It was hard for me to believe that anything could change. I knew a little about God because I had been introduced to the church as a child, and I would sometimes read the bible to help me get through tough times.
This Christmas, since coming to Gilgal, however, I am learning who God really is and that He doesn’t have any outcasts. I also understand the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for my hope and He is changing my heart daily and transforming my life.
I now have a new way of seeing the world — and a 2-year old daughter, Autumn, who is waiting for me to get my life together. I recently saw her on Family & Friend’s day. Her sweet sugar kisses were the best Christmas gift ever! I am grateful to Gilgal for a safe place to get my mind right and experience God’s unconditional love. I plan to graduate the program, become a Certified Nursing Assistant and secure stable housing.
Thank you for supporting Gilgal and giving me a second chance. Please pray for me that I will stick and stay and become the mother my daughter deserves!
Change Happens at Gilgal. Thank you for being a part of it!