A perfect God who demanded perfection from His creation wasn’t a God that Charity could follow. So from an early age, she struck out on her own path.
But when a lifetime of doing it her way had left her broken, addicted, and at risk of losing her daughter forever, Charity found hope in an aspect of God that she never considered. His love.
Charity remembers, “I had the idea that to be a Christian you had to be perfect and I knew I never could be. I have always been an all or nothing kind of person and afraid of failure. So I thought if I just stopped trying I wouldn’t be able to fail at anything.”
It was that mindset that made drugs so attractive to Charity.
“For that moment when I was on heroin, all my anxieties disappeared. My fears were gone. I wasn’t disappointing anyone anymore; everything was at peace and OK in the world.”
When Charity became pregnant at 23, she found something better than drugs – her daughter Savannah. For her sake she left her habit behind for as long as she could. But around the time Savannah turned six; the pressures and anxieties of life caught up and drugs took over once again.
“Soon the cops were looking for me all the time,” says Charity. “At first it was for drugs and possession, but heroin is expensive, so later it was for residential burglary. Eventually my mom called Child Protective Services and I lost custody of my daughter.”
Then she lost her freedom.
“I got caught shoplifting and was arrested. Because of my history, I was looking at 10-15 years of prison time. The only bright spots in my life were when Savannah would come and visit me in jail,” Charity pauses to wipe away a tear. “They would tell her that she couldn’t touch me and she would use her feet to touch my leg under the table… it broke my heart.”
“It was really hard not being allowed to hug my mom,” says Savannah choking up, tears running down her cheeks.
Charity continued, “If I had gone to prison, they would have severed my rights for sure. I would have never had a chance to get Savannah back. But I never got the 10-15 years I deserved. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but now I know it was God’s love that brought me though that. Instead of punishment I got mercy.”
Charity didn’t know it, but while she was in prison, her mother had met our Partner Relations Officer, Anna Sosa, through her women’s bible study. When she shared Charity’s story, Anna connected her to our Changing Lives Center. In lieu of prison time, Charity’s lawyer asked if she could attend our women’s recovery program instead.
Charity couldn’t believe it when the judge said yes.
“The CLC had everything that I needed,” says Charity. “All the classes I was required to attend, the transportation to and from, even my meals and housing were provided for me. I didn’t have to think about anything other than just getting better. It’s a good thing too, because doing it on my own wasn’t working.”
“All of a sudden I was able to visit my mom,” Savannah remembers with a smile. “We played hockey and we got to watch a movie on beanbag chairs and snuggle. The best part was I got to give her hugs and kisses and hold her hand.”
Today thanks to your support and the hard work of our counselors and staff, Charity is not only sober; she’s a new person in Christ. She’s earned back the custody of her daughter, has a steady job and is looking forward to a bright new future with Savannah.
“Before the CLC I saw God as someone different than who He is to me now. He expects me to try, but will love me regardless of the outcome,” explains Charity. “Knowing His love isn’t conditional… it makes all the difference. It’s given me the peace I was looking for all along.”