By Jim Palmer —
Lauren got her first taste of homelessness when her husband divorced her. She’d been evicted from her home. And her children were in state custody.
“It was so cold,” she remembers. But the nights Lauren spent in a drafty storage shed that winter were only the beginning. There was worse — much worse — still to come.
“After I lost my children, I lost my will to live,” Lauren says, adding that, “Alcohol took me down hard.” She had struggled with addiction since she was a teenager. But now, she was spiraling out of control.
One of Lauren’s cousins had compassion on her and tried to help. He moved her in with him, hoping she would take the opportunity to put her life back together. “But I was just so lost in my addiction,” Lauren recalls.
Within a few months, she was homeless again.
Running out of chances
Now living on the streets of Orange County, Lauren discovered she was pregnant again. A few weeks later, she landed in the hospital, desperately sick with an infection.
“I knew God had to have a purpose for my life,” Lauren confesses. “He plucked me out of the world and put me in the hospital where I had no choice but to get sober.”
But, after getting out of the hospital — and even after her daughter was born — Lauren continued to struggle with addiction.
By the time she arrived at Orange County Rescue Mission, Lauren was running out of chances. “It was just a hopeless situation,” Lauren says. “The more I used, the more I added to the pain I already had.”
“I knew this program was long term, and I prayed, ‘Please Lord, if that’s where I need to be, open the door.’”
Eighteen months later, Lauren is a completely new woman. You might say she experienced a resurrection, leaving her old life of despair and bad choices behind and embracing a new life in Christ.
With the help of her case managers, Lauren addressed the issues that had led to her addiction. She learned that God had forgiven her. “It’s so beautiful to be a new creation in Christ,” Lauren says.
It took a lot of hard work to get to where she is. In addition to the counseling she received, Lauren took discipleship classes. She also got coaching in parenting at our Parent and Child Enrichment Center.
Now in the final phase of her program, Lauren is thrilled by all the changes in her life. With the help of a job counselor, Lauren has polished her resume. By the time you read this, she hopes to have landed a full-time job. Her ultimate goal is to train as a legal secretary.
But more than anything, she wants to live to please God. “I now know what it is to have true joy,” she says. “All my life I have been searching for that joy, and I’ve found it.”
Thanks to you and others, Lauren is a powerful testimony to the power of the Gospel to change lives — to raise someone who is as good as dead from their ashes and turn them into something beautiful.
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
To learn more about the Orange County Rescue Mission, click here