Changing Lives Center

The Gift of Freedom & Family | Demetria’s Story

Demetria and her daughter were both prisoners in different ways.

Demetria was caught in a no-win situation. On one hand, she had an abusive boyfriend who would regularly break her phone to keep her cut off from help. On the other was her daughter, who Demetria felt needed a father.

“I felt like I was supposed to put up with the abuse for my daughter’s sake,” says Demetria. “He abused me constantly until Leah was about six years old.”

On top of it all, Demetria was addicted. The stress of her situation drove her deeper and deeper into her drug use. When her car was repossessed, she stole one in order to get to her dealer. It was that move that landed her in jail.

You would think things couldn’t get worse. But in a strange way, incarceration turned out to be a gift – one that would serve as the starting point for a brand-new life.

“The judge allowed me to come to Phoenix Rescue Mission for rehabilitation. I wasn’t a believer at all. I kept thinking that I didn’t want to be here or do this program. But I stuck it out, decided to give it a try.”

That little bit of faith was all God needed to begin reshaping Demetria’s heart and changing her life. He wasted no time.

“When I started my program, Pastor Will was doing a new believer’s class on Saturdays that I started attending. I learned about sin and how we’ve been given a second chance, and I started connecting the dots.” The lightbulb clicked on. “That’s why God sent me here!”

While she was in the program, Demetria accepted Christ as her Savior and things started to change.

“I came into the program really angry and that’s one of the main things I prayed for after I got saved; for God to ease my anger and give me peace. Not only did I want to do that for myself, but also for Leah, my daughter. I know the only way I’d become a good role model and a good mom is if I seek God in everything I do.”

Thanks to you, Demetria found the direction and support she needed to learn how to become the best mom she could be – and we saw it take shape right before our eyes. Thankfully, the courts saw it, too! Just six months after she arrived, and right before COVID hit, Demetria earned back the custody of her daughter.

“It was amazing! His timing was just right. I couldn’t speak the night before, because I was so excited! All I could really say is that it’s all God’s work. I would not have been able to stay sober this long without Him.”

While working through the recovery program, Demetria joined the Mission Possible Cookies team, honing her baking skills and helping deliver sweet treats during the holidays.

“I loved it! I went in right before Christmas so when all the orders were coming in it was crazy!” she says with a huge smile.

Today, Demetria is sober, has a solid position working at the Salvation Army, and is looking forward to graduating from our recovery program very soon.

“I love my job! I love it because I get to be around kids. The best part about it is I leave home with God and I go to work with God, because it’s Christ-centered there as well. The Holy Spirit is with me at home and there, and I need Him. I need Him with everything I do. And that’s the biggest blessing.”

This Christmas, Leah has a brand-new mom and Demetria has found a brand-new path forward, full of hope and bright possibilities. It’s the perfect example of the transformation you make possible through your prayers and support for hundreds of families here every year.

“Something they say all the time here is, ‘There’s the easy or the hard way. I’m already at rock bottom. And the only way from rock bottom is up!’”

God bless you for this priceless gift – it’s the best one you’ll give this Christmas!