As I sit here praying for inspiration, I am struck by the lyrics of a beautiful song called Inside Out by Hillside United:
A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains. And should I stumble again I’m caught in your grace …. Your will above all else my purpose remains. The art of losing myself in bringing You praise. In my heart in my soul Lord I give you control. Consume me from the inside out.
This song spoke to me after becoming so far lost it could have been called a lot of things and art was not one of them. I was not living for God, in fact, I had spiraled into a place so dark my friends and family were grasping for signs that the Katie they once knew and adored even existed anymore.
My name is Katie, I was born to two young parents who had divorced by the time I was 4 years old. I grew up in a tiny town in Texas called Dawson and there were about 900 people in the whole town. We were poor- economically poor – that is but, what we lacked financially, my parents made up for in wisdom and humor. I was raised to have respect for adults and to always offer my chair to the elderly.
In high school I was popular and smart; always on the honor roll and always a part of every extracurricular activity that was offered. I was named best personality my junior year. You could call it “big fish in a tiny pond”, there were 26 people in my class mind you! My senior year of high school I moved south to live with my aunt and uncle who had offered to help me apply and register for college. An offer I would have never have turned down. The Woodlands was “a lot bigger pond” and I graduated High School with close to 1700 students. They helped me get settled in at Sam Houston State University, home of the Bearkats! I attended Sam Houston for 3 years and this was where I joined a sorority, swore off having children, and started experimenting.
My father, who had recently been released from his first time to serve time in prison, had warned me that drugs were a slippery slope. He was an avid member of NA, Narcotics Anonymous, and would later be the one to rescue me in the depths of my addiction and whisk me off to my first rehab. I was young, fearless, living fast and with no regrets. The skeletons from my childhood were about to start rearing their ugly heads. After coming to terms with sexual abuse that had occurred between the ages of 8 and 12, whatever healthy coping skills I had were quickly becoming replaced by a white powdery substance. I knew God loved me, but I just could not understand where he had been during those years my sister and I were just children suffering at the hands of a predator. I was no longer a big fish in a tiny pond; in fact I was completely lost in a sea of darkness. I spent four months in my first rehab; It took me less time to get back on my path to destruction. During this time, the hole I felt inside was being filled with everything but the one whom I needed most, Jesus Christ.
By the time I had reached 28 years old I had found myself homeless and pregnant; a drug addict with no one to turn to and nowhere to go. I was on a five year deferred sentence after being arrested with my dad-just a short time after his traumatic relapse had cost him his house, his car and 11 years of sobriety. While I was given 2 years’ probation, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. My hope of a successful career, a healthy family and a white picket fence were long gone. I was at the lowest point my life had ever known. My precious baby girl was stripped from my arms in the hospital. She had weighed just 3 pounds 14 ounces and was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. She was already so brave and I felt a love like I had never known before. The trial date was set for me to lose all parental rights to her. Here was this beautiful, healthy baby girl that God helped me to bring into this world and it would be my own mistakes to keep me from even knowing her and showing her the unbelievable amount of love I felt for her.
I was broken, battered, hopeless and homeless, but God met me right there.
My OHS judge ordered me to the City Rescue Mission where I would be given one final chance. Surprisingly, I walked through the doors on February 9, 2016 and was met with open arms and a warm bed. I remember sobbing through devotion each morning. It was as if my own shame refused to allow me to accept this new chance God had given me. He was consuming me from the inside out. Miracles were beginning to happen, the types of miracles that I could never have even imagined. My dad was released from prison after just 2 years. Sobriety, a newfound faith and hope like Id never felt before were enveloping me in a place that I had never even heard of or given a chance. The Bridge to Life Program at the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission has changed my life. A thousand times I’ve failed still His mercy remains. I can proudly say that I am set to be reunified with my 18 month old daughter, Lynlee. My father and I are both sober and free. The probation violation charges I was facing were completely dropped. In fact, I am on great terms with my probation officer! I am mending relationships with friends and family I hadn’t spoken to in years. I have over 6 months clean. I have hope and a future, just like we are promised in Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 29:11)
My heart is overflowing with gratitude; I was recently baptized for the first time. Everlasting your light will shine when all else fails. The art of losing myself and bringing you praise. It is true, I was lost and hopeless but today I am brand new. I will praise Him all of the days of my life.
I thank God every day for the City Rescue Mission; a safe haven, a refuge for recovery, a place where the lost can go to be found.