Stories of Transformation: Noora

With the beginning of a new year, there often comes a time for committing to new resolutions, with the hope that we can somehow improve upon what life has been like during the prior year. In addition to resolutions, many of us will often find a number of questions coming into the periphery of our thinking. “How did my year go? Did I grow as a person?”

For Noora Nuoraho, a 10 month resident at Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center, these same questions occur, but with some potentially different answers than there might be for many of us. 2017 was many things for Noora – a time of pain and struggle, but also a time of overcoming personal struggles and finding a new guiding light through the darkness thanks to Phoenix Rescue Mission and her now growing relationship with God.

Much of Noora’s life prior to her stay at the Changing Lives Center was quite enjoyable and normal. Born in Finland, she would move to Israel at a young age with her family. While in Israel, she would often find herself surrounded by what she calls a “culture of alcoholism,” that would leave a lasting mark on her. Later, after marrying, she and her husband would move to Phoenix. A move that would take her away from her support system of family and friends, and provide a catalyst to a growing set of issues.

Noora working at the front desk as part of the Servant Leadership program at the Changing Lives Center.

Through the passing of time – with no true relationship with God and no close support system – Noora found her life becoming more and more of a challenge each day. Over time, her and her husband’s once good relationship had deteriorated into emotional and psychological
abuse and codependency. Additionally, due to the prior influences of her earlier years spent outside the country, she was in the midst of a lifestyle of pursuing “fun and games,” as she called it, where prescription drugs and alcohol abuse were frequently at play in her life.

At the age of 27, a breaking point finally came for her when her relationship with her husband came to a physical confrontation. Noora says of that time, “In my mind, I drew a line in the sand. For some reason, when I drew that line in the sand, I knew this was going nowhere good and was about to get worse.” She had finally found herself, “Coming to that point of desperation.” She began in earnest to search for a friend or a domestic abuse shelter to take her in, but found that few options were truly available to her. Most of them were able to take her, but not her and her three children as well.

After a number of days of searching, God, however, provided her the path she needed. A path that she was not only happy to take, but one that would carry more benefits then she knew at the time. A local domestic violence shelter referred her and her kids to the Phoenix Rescue Mission – a light for her in the midst of the darkness.

It was here, during her time spent in the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Foundations program (an 8-plus week course and the first step on the road to recovery where clients are introduced to basic recovery principles, and begin classes to gain understanding, obtain the basic skills needed, and develop the necessary commitment for Christ-centered recovery), where Noora would truly find God. “God somehow closed all the doors so I could come here, so that he could finally get a hold of me.”

Noora has now moved through a number of the recovery programs available at the Changing Lives Center and is currently taking part in the Servant Leadership program, designed for moving clients into Christian leadership and where she gets to pour back into the same organization that helped her when she was in desperate need. So what exactly are Noora’s 2018 resolutions? “For me, I just want to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I want to strive to get to know him more, and never again allow a person, substance, or anything to be above God. To be a great mom for my kids. And to be intentional.”