My name is Leah, I am 26 years old, and I came to the Hope House in December of 2010. My addiction started at the age of 16. I started out smoking cigarettes, and then came marijuana, and that eventually led to pills and cocaine. I remember the first time I ever took my first drug. I was terrified and curious all at the same time. I learned very quickly that doing drugs took away every care I ever had. For that moment in time, nothing mattered. No fear, no anxiety, no worry. I felt free. Little did I know that the “freedom” I felt, would eventually capture me. I began to use on a daily basis, hiding it from my friends and family. During this time I was working for a well known evangelist as one of his receptionists, all the while living a life that did not honor God, the ministry, or myself. I was ashamed of the things I had done when I sobered up enough to think about it, but I would continue to use in order not to feel.
As my need to get high began to grow, my paychecks began to disappear the moment I cashed them. I was 20 years old, and had already put myself into so much debt with banks, loan offices, pawn shops, friends, family, etc. I then became someone I’m not. I became a thief, a liar, and a manipulator. I would sleep with men who would get high with me, only for them to wake up and I would be gone… and so would their drugs.
Coming into the Hope House, I was a very broken girl. My trust was minimal and I certainly did not trust men. I had nowhere to go, and no family in Tennessee. I felt alone. I had no intentions of staying for a 15 month program, but God had other plans. Throughout my many attempts at leaving the Hope House, I always knew in my heart that I was suppose to stay. I finally surrendered to it around my 7th month, and I graduated at 15 months! I went through the beginning of the program kicking and screaming for the most part, but staying was the best decision I ever made! Pastor David and Mrs. Connie loved me through it all. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. That is something I was searching for since I can remember. Pastor David has shown me the love of a father and the love of THE Father. I can honestly say that I trust him with my life. He never gave up on me, and slowly and carefully helped me to take one brick at a time off the wall I had built for 20 years. Even in times I felt my life was falling apart and that I couldn’t take another step, Pastor David and Mrs. Connie would hold me up. They saw potential in me that I could never see within myself and they pushed me to succeed.
In 2013 I came on board as a staff member at the Women of Hope. I am now able to give back to women what was so freely given to me. I know that God has placed me here for this season of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful. I love these ladies, and they love me. I learn so much from them and this ministry is where my heart is. Hope House saved my life, and I will be forever grateful for it.
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
~(1 Corinthians 13:1-7) The Message Bible