Stories of Transformation: Michelle

In 2010, Michelle was in a bad place. She was a single mother with a serious drug addiction and no one to turn to for help. Every day was a struggle to survive – to provide for her five children while keeping her meth habit in check. She knew she was slipping. She knew that before long she would lose control, lose her home, her job, even her children. She knew it was coming, but there seemed to be no way to avoid it. That is, until one day a construction project gave her something to hope for.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center for Women and Children was nearing completion. Michelle could hardly believe that the answer to her problems was being built right down the road. Word was getting around that it would be a place where women, even mothers and their families, could go to start over. Here was a real opportunity to escape the meth addiction she had lived with for over 10 years!

“I used to walk by the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center with my kids on the way to daycare every morning. I would point to the buildings and say, ‘Someday soon we’re all going to live there … and then everything is going to be OK.’”

Unfortunately, that day didn’t come quite fast enough. For three years, Michelle avoided Child Protective Services’ ultimate action, managing to keep a hold of her children. But two months before the Changing Lives Center opened, CPS removed Michelle’s children from her custody and placed them in foster care. She remembers, “It was the darkest time of my life… losing them just took everything out of me. I started using more than I ever had and eventually I was out on the streets. But in many ways, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. God got my attention and because of it He was able to turn my life around.”

Michelle was the seventh woman to be admitted to the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children and wasted no time in starting her road to recovery. She knew that nothing but hard work and God’s grace was going to get her children back. There were some bumps and a few minor setbacks, but within four months her kids were awarded back to her care! “When God has His hands in something, there’s nothing anyone can do to mess it up,” she said. “Getting my kids back is proof of that!”

Today, Michelle is more than just sober. During her time here she’s earned her GED and her driver’s license. She’s taken parenting classes and culinary courses and she’s currently enrolled in our advanced servant leadership training program. She’s excited about giving back and can’t wait to share what’s she’s learned with others who need it. But Michelle wasn’t the only one to benefit from the Changing Lives Center. “Being here has given my children the structure that I never knew how to give them,” Michelle said. “It’s given them the sober mother that they’ve never had and it’s surrounded them in a loving and positive environment where they’ve been able to thrive. My oldest, Lilli, discovered her servant’s heart here. She hands out food with me at the Mission and she loves it.”

Michelle finished by saying, “This past year has been full of bonding experiences like this that have brought us all so much closer together. The Phoenix Rescue Mission has been a huge blessing to my family, more than anyone knows!”

To help others like Michelle, please make a generous gift today!