I grew up in New York City in the 90s. My father was not part of my life. I started drinking and smoking at the age of 14, but with repeated rejections by friends and boyfriends, I felt as though I would never fit in. I was lonely and looking for someone to fill the void. Eventually, I got into an abusive relationship that went on for 8 years. He kept a tight rein on my outside activities, restricted all the money, and used sex as a tool of control.
I quit my job as a caterer for the Julliard School to take care of his two children and became more and more isolated from the world. I was severely obese, Iost in self-loathing and fear, drinking heavily, and questioning why God even created me. I can honestly say I was at the lowest point I've ever been in my life, and I couldn’t see any way out. I wanted to disappear.
At this point, my beautiful mother was getting tired of praying for me, watching my life grow progressively worse. She asked God, “How long do I have to wait for you to do something in this girl's life? Will you change her? Will you save her?”
Soon after she prayed that prayer, I attended a service at Times Square Church and God met me there. I reconciled with Him, and began attending church faithfully, several times per week. I started dieting and exercising, quit drinking and smoking, and sought financial assistance.
But my relationship was growing progressively more dangerous. I was afraid for my life. I decided it was time for me to leave, even though I had no plan. I spoke with my mother and told her I was going to a shelter. In the meantime, a friend of mine from Syracuse heard Debra Person speak at church about a discipleship program she was starting for women called Exodus 3 Ministries.
I was able to speak to Miss Debra and tell her about the abusive relationship I was trying to escape. She told me I could join her program. It was a direct answer to prayer to be able to go to a Christian shelter—and even better, a discipleship program! The next day I was on a Greyhound bus with nothing but a backpack and God by my side.
Coming to Exodus House was a pivotal moment in my Christian walk and life. My faith exploded. I sensed in my spirit that I had entered more than just a shelter. This was a privileged opportunity. Something special was happening here, and I was invited to take part. Exodus 3 Ministries provided me with a home, so I could rebuild my life. Living there stretched me, but I also grew spiritually; developed a closer relationship with God, my true healer and redeemer; and no longer lived in fear. I can truly tell you that He is the source of all the transformation in my life.
Since graduating from Exodus House, I have gone through several training courses and residential programs. I’ve earned a Class D driver’s license and a Class B commercial driver’s license. I’ve been a school bus driver, a city bus driver, and now a motor-coach operator for Trailways. I am in a healthy relationship with a God-fearing man. I have my own means of transportation, and I am able to financially support myself. And I serve on the board of directors for Exodus 3 Ministries.
Today, I look forward to my future and am excited to see what God has in store. I once was lost, but now I'm found. I am truly living in freedom, and I praise God that every woman who comes through the doors of Exodus House, no matter her situation, has that same chance to surrender her life to Christ and be changed!