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Stories of Success:

Aisha’s Testimony

Aisha and Jude

Aisha and Jude

For the first time since my addiction began in 2005, I am committing to recovery. My addiction to drugs and alcohol, and relapses have ruined almost EVERY relationship in my life. Not only that, but they turned me into a liar, a cheat, a thief, a hypocrite, and just a messed up person in general. Addiction brought me to where I am today. It almost took my life away completely. Addiction ruined my relationship with Jesus. I don’t think I talked to Him in almost 11 years. It caused both of my parents and all of my siblings to distrust me. For the FIRST time in my life though, I’ve FINALLY realized that I HAVE A CHOICE of whether or not I’m going to pick up. It might be strange, but I literally didn’t think I had a choice. I thought if it was in front of me, I HAD to pick up, but that was Satan. God says, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” He says I’m NOT a screw-up and that I CAN change. For the FIRST time, I feel a freedom I have NEVER experienced. I don’t hear screaming in my head telling me to use and that I’m worth nothing as much as I used to. I obsess less and less every day as I choose to surrender my flesh and submit to God’s will for my life. And when I do hear those voices or start to obsess, I give it to My Father. I tell Him to take it and to give me peace and He does. I’ve got to continue to practice this and to protect my sobriety by staying ALERT. The devil is crafty and appears in many ways to me. Put on the full armor of God and be ready for it.  I MUST NOT isolate!  ALWAYS have accountabilibuddies. When I start to isolate, it either means I’m angry or depressed which leads to using. That is also something I need to stay on guard with. I need to continue my groups. For me, staying busy and healthy helps me extinguish even the idea of going back. And the most important thing for me is to ALWAYS, NO MATTER how big or small or how scared I am, or how I feel, be honest and TELL THE TRUTH. Lying leads to shame, which leads to isolation, which leads to using. The positive rewards even since I’ve been in recovery are AMAZING. I got my son back, my Ma and Dad are starting to trust me again. My siblings and my relationship have gotten stronger. God has blessed me and if I stay on the right track and in His will for my life, (recovery), I think His blessings will be endless.

Chelsy’s Testimony

My name is Chelsy and I am a Daughter of the King and I am in love with Jesus Christ. My identity is found in my Lord Jesus Christ and not in my past addictions, struggles or who the world says I am. The word of God tells be that I belong to him, that I am a child of God, that I am royalty, heir to the throne. It says that I can approach the throne whenever I want and that I am seated next to my Father. That I am chosen by him and am fearfully and wonderfully made in his image. That I am united with him and one with him and that he loves me and that I am complete in him, and I am made whole in him. This testimony is not about me it’s about Gods amazing grace and this is a testimony of Jesus Christ and all the Glory and praise unto his name forever. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY….. HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!!!

From the moment I was conceived pain filled my heart. My mother 19 years old was living in fear of my father. They were married two years before at a young age. My bother Brandon only one 1 year of age was living in a home full of hate and violence. The drunken rage my father poured out was unbearable and brutal. From as early as I can remember my mother called me her miracle child. She told me when I was old enough she would share with me the reason. The miracle was that my abusive father physically tormented her, hitting her several times in the stomach, trying to kill me.

Psalm 139:13-14   you knit me together in my mother’s womb, every part of me you hand crafted. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!

After a very complicated pregnancy, September 21 1982 a beautiful healthy baby girl was born. Shortly after giving birth to me, my mother gathered her strength and left my father. Two years later she fell in love with a man and was married for the second time.   This man adopted my brother Brandon and I, he became our father. I grew up in a middle class family in Cottage Grove, OR. I had what I needed, but not much more. My mother became pregnant & had my sister Brittany when I was 5 years old, two years later she had her fourth child. A baby boy named she named Cameron. There was four of us kids and there was no difference in us, we were full blooded siblings as far as we were concerned.

There were many problems with my home, although everything looked good on the outside. We had family game night, fishing, camping, and family vacations. All the normal activities of what seemed a good functioning family would do. There was physical abuse poured out onto Brandon and I by our father Steve. Any reason he could find to punish us. He made it very clear to us we were not his real children. At age 7 was the first time I can remember the sexual abuse. To this day I don’t really know at what the age he really started this. I tried telling about what was happening, however nobody wanted to believe this could be true. This is the point when I started lying, stealing, running away, and acting out. Anything to get attention.

Since I was very young I attended church regularly with my grandparents. My mother’s parents whom us kids spent a lot of time with while my mom was working and going to school. My grandmother Mavis & grandfather Jean loved the Lord. They never stopped telling us how much Jesus loved us. My mother did not attend church, however she always made sure we were on time for the church bus. We also attended church Wednesday’s and were apart of all the church activities. When I was 10 years old I gave my life to the Lord and was baptized.

That same year my parents divorced. This was a hard and difficult time for my family. We lived with my mother and spent weekends and summers with my father. Within the next few years the sexual abuse got more severe and the man who was supposed to protect me, took my virginity at age 12. Soon after he introduced me to pornography and this became the usual way he taught me how and what to do sexually. The abuse only got worse and more and more frequent. I was so incredibly out of control by age 14. Lying, stealing, running away and the continuous destructive behaviors only cause my mother and I to be enraged with one another. All I wanted was her attention. I was screaming out for help. She however could not see through the chaos of my behavior. Eventually I left home and my grandparents took me in. I spent the next 6 years with them. I still cannot fathom what I put them through. My grandmother just kept telling me how much God loved me. To this day my grandmother is my hero. Her faithful love for God never faltered through the toughest challenge of her life. She believed whole heartedly that the Lord had sent me to her so she could place the love of God deep into my heart. I however did not understand how a God full of love could stand back and let my father steal my innocence.

At this point I did not understand that God gave each one of his children free will and if he took that from us we would just be like robots and then having a relationship with his children would be impossible. And that is what it is all about, God wanted to have a relationship with me and he was not going to stop until I understood his true heart.

I was lost in a dark hole with what seemed to be no way out. I finally came forward with proof of the abuse. This is when my family lives were changed forever. Steve the father whom adopted me admitted to the abuse. The next year was spent inside of a courtroom. Court was devastating. On one side of the courtroom was half of my family and the other half sat the rest. I was abandoned once again by those who were supposed to love and support me. After the year of court he was sentence to 20 years in the state prison, no chance of parole.

At the same time I was going to court on more rape and sodemy charges. This time against a city council man that was once my grandparent’s best friend. This case was a high profile case because of who he was. It was all over the news and newspapers. Shame and guilt covered me like a dark storm cloud. I had lost all hope that God existed and he could love me. School became a nightmare. Some kids found out that I was the girl from the news and what my father had done. I won’t go in to detail, let’s just say kids can be relentlessly cruel.  At that point all I wanted was for the pain to stop. The only way I knew how accomplish that was to kill myself. Again the Lord had other plans.

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. “

Not long after this I was baptized again, re-dedicating my life to him. This was not enough to wash the feelings of shame off. I soon found myself back in captivity of my dangerous addictions. Alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, masturbation, fighting, stealing, and anything to numb myself of feeling. I continued to put myself into dangerous situations. Which resulted in several more rapes that I never told anyone about. I once again tried to kill myself and again the Lord had other plans for me. During the next few years it was the same old thing and I had had several run in’s with the police. They knew me by first middle and last name. I barley graduated high school. However, with only the grace of God I stood a year early and received my high school diploma.

After high school I got my Certified Nursing Assistant License and then my Medication Aid License. I buried myself in work. I was always a hard worker and had my first job by age 12. I don’t remember when I didn’t have a job. Work became the one thing I could really excel in. I eventually started college to become a Nurse. I did very well in school and was an A and B student. All along while working fulltime. I thought I had everything under control. But eventually my addictions caught back up with me and I was barely keeping things together. Along with my serious drinking problem I had acquired an addiction to prescription pain medication.   This mixture became my best friend. However this deadly combination lead to several different overdoses. There were many close calls where I should have died. Drug overdoses where just a small part of the many deadly situations I put myself in. However my God is bigger than any addiction, disease and yes even death. There is nothing that he cannot do, nothing is impossible for him.

At 25 years old I was offered a job overseas in Thailand. By this point I was stealing and taking over a hundred pills a day. Taking this job was not only a dream come true but a way I could escape. I thought if I went half way around the world could have a new start and get sober. Once again I tried to run from my problems. So, I dropped out of school, quit my job, left my apartment, abandoned my belongings, broke up with my boyfriend, and walked away from my life. Unfortunately, no matter how far you run, you cannot run from yourself. Alcohol was still my best friend. When I finish my job. I took off and traveled around Asia by myself. I thought I was invincible and nothing could hurt me. I was dead wrong. I won’t get into all the things take took place. I’ll just say that I got myself into some serious trouble and it’s only by God’s amazing grace that I made it home and stand here to tell about it.

Soon after I returned home I was arrested and charged with my first DUII and then second six months later. In both cases I almost hit someone head on. It was only God’s mercy that I did not kill anyone or myself. This was the beginning of the end. I could no longer see the light of God and I had lost all hope. I had to quit my job in nursing once again. This time I was not able to drive as a traveling nurse with the DUII charges and losing my license. I soon started dealing drugs and became so far from reality, my families only hope was prayer. I isolated myself from anyone that loved me. I did not want them to see, that death surrounded me.   The lies from Satan had become so loud in my head that I couldn’t seem to hear any other. He just kept yelling at me what a failure I was and how I was abandoned, rejected and hopeless. However, the word of God says something different. This is not my sentence, it is Satan’s sentence. He is the only one who is rejected, abandoned and hopeless.

Again, I did not quite understand this and was still under the umbrella of Satan’s lies and was stuck in my fear. During the next few years the path to darkness only got darker. I experiences homelessness after being kicked out of a treatment center. This was in fact the most humbling experience of my life. While on the streets I met a man who help me get a job and a place to live. During this friendship we began to have an intimate relationship and I became pregnant for the first time. I quite all drugs and alcohol. I was committed to this child and we were engaged. Eight weeks later I miscarried. Soon after our relationship fell apart and I broke off the engagement. Soon after I moved into my own apartment. Not long after that I lost my job and I went spiraling back out of control. I was struggle to make ends meet and started dealing drugs again. My addiction was back in full swing. Alcohol, drugs, masturbation, men and the cycle went on. I then met another man whom I thought I fell head over heels in love with. We talked about a future together and having children. He had his life together. Job, car, house and was planning on starting school. He was the first man I had met in a long time that had never been married and had no kids. This man however had a dark past, just as I did. Alcohol surround our relationship. My reality and what was true reality were two very different things. Our dream of one day having a child soon became our truth. I became pregnant. Due to all the circumstances around us and our inability to actually love anyone other than ourselves we started fighting. The violence escalated at one point and I knew I had to get away from tis man. I started praying for God to protect me and to find a way for me to get away. A month later he was arrested and charged with drug possession. He was sentence to 19 months in the state prison. The Lord once again protected me.

I was pregnant and alone. I no longer had my alcohol to comfort me. I was ready to give up. Not only was I ready to give my life up, but dissipate the one of my unborn child. I had several phone calls of those whom encouraged me to have an abortion. Giving me a million reasons why I was not capable of being a mother. I called my sister Brittany who was now married to a wonderful man and just gave birth to her first child. During this conversation I told her my plans to have an abortion. She became enraged and told me that if I was not capable of being a mother or did not want to be, she and her husband would rise my child as their own. So I agreed. I knew that the only thing that could save my life would be a child.

My life was such a mess. Everything I had spent my life judging others for happened to me. When you think things could not get any worse, I started prostituting.   My pride kept me in bondage and reaching out to the ones who loved me. I kept myself in constant isolation and refused to except help from anyone.   I felt such shame and guilt for the chaos my life was in.

Matthew 5:4 Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I lost a total of 60 pounds by the seventh month. I had to force myself to eat. Going into the eight month of labor my doctor notified me of a problem with pregnancy. There was something wrong with my placenta and umbilical cord. They told me that my child had stopped growing and I needed to have an emergency C-section. April 25, 2013 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Malaki Chaz Abbott. He was a miracle just as I was. I knew right then the Lord had something special for this child to do and I had to do whatever it took to be the best mother I could. I searched hard to find what I thought the lord had place in my heart. He told me there was a faith based recovery program out there and I had to find it. I looked everywhere for this place. Everyone I spoke to told me that no such thing existed. I did not give up hope and pushed on.

Soon after I found Ashes to Beauty, which is a local nonprofit residential recovery program for high risk women and children. The mission is to redeem women and women with children from destructive behaviors or unsafe situations such as drug addictions, sex trafficking, and abuse, by introducing them to hope through counseling, education, job training, parenting coaching, life skills training, financial planning, structure and support, thereby breaking the generation cycle of poverty and abuse. The length of stay at Ashes to Beauty is usually two years. This was a newly open center, and it seemed the Lord opened it up just for me. I could not believe it, once again the Lord was there guiding my every step. The Lord answered the prayers of all who knew me that day. September 3 2012 I walk into Ashes to Beauty. For the first time in 16 yrs. I had hope.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

I heard very clearly that evening the voice of the Most High God, “You are home my beautiful daughter, you are home!” I then felt the Holy Spirit overflow my soul with his love. The welcoming hugs from those there to serve the Lord were overwhelming. This was just a glimpse of God’s beauty in action. I dove in head first to the presence of the Lord. I started attending church services at ECF. Soon after that I started the Alpha course and started attending Celebrate Recovery. During the Alpha Retreat weekend on November 4 2012 is when I re-dedicated my life back to the Lord and was baptized. At this time I was formally introduced to a man and his wife who had been ministering at the mission for the past 15 years, and shortly after this I started ministering at the Mission with them and have continued to serve in this ministry ever since. It has been my privilege to get to know and learn from such amazing leaders. Since this time I continue to have a yes attitude with the Lord and am ready to serve in any way he asks. From leading at Alpha, Celebrate Recovery, Mission, Prayer Team, Step Study, small groups, just to name a few.

This is what it takes to stay sober. To be of service to others and grow up in the Lord with the most amazing Leaders is an absolute privilege. Ashes to Beauty and the commitment from all the leaders I have worked with has been life changing. I was dead when I walked through the doors of Ashes to Beauty and now I stand her a new creation. The old has gone the new has come. All of the things that happened to me and all of the shameful things I have done do not define who I am. I am defined by who I am in Christ.

Galatians 4:6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, Abba Father. Now you are no longer a slave to sin but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

To share and exchanged the hope and struggles with other women with the same issues has been essential to my recovery. I have gained courage there to go forward no matter what the obstacle is that I may be facing.   The growth I have made in the past three years at ashes to beauty and celebrate recovery has been phenomenal. This has been where I have been able to dig deep into the core beliefs that have impacted my life and really begin to understand my pain. This is where the true healing has started and is where I was able to find freedom and be able to forgive my father for the abuse, as well as my mother. I now no longer have to carry the burden of the past abuse and am able to let God have all aspects of my life. God calls us to forgive others as he has forgiven us. The years of not forgiving my father and others only hurt me. It’s by grace that we have been saved and we must extend that grace to others as well.

It was in the small groups at CR that I truly came to terms with my problems with masturbation. I thought I had the sobriety and recovery thing down but soon realized there was something blocking true healing God wanted to do in my life. I had no idea that masturbation was a problem and that it was such a stronghold. I mean in my past I had serious problems with it. So bad that is caused relationships to end. And It wasn’t like I was as bad as before. It was just…… anyway, It was the pink elephant in the room that no one talks about. I’ve heard men talk about it but women??? No way??? I was over a year into my recovery and was leading Celebrate Recovery as well as several other ministries and I had no idea that it was a problem or a stronghold. It is not the act itself that was damaging to me it was what I was thinking about in order to do so. The things that I was thinking about, were things that I thought I could never tell anyone about. I thought there was something wrong with me and that I was set apart, not in a good way. It was only in these small groups that I heard someone else talking about their struggle and it gave me the courage to talk about mine. This is when I started to find true freedom over my masturbation and pornography issues.   It is a stronghold and a addiction issue just like any other. I am not going to sit back and keep my mouth shut. I am up here talking about it so maybe some other woman who did not know that it can be a stronghold, can be set free. And that is what God wants to do. Set people free from there bondages.

Principle 4 at Celebrate Recovery says. Openly examine and confess my faults, to God, and to someone I trust.

Matthew 5:8 Happy are the pure in heart.

I am learning to face the lies other and myself have engraved upon my heart. We must learn how to tear down those lies and replace them with the truth of God’s word. I hold God’s word close to my heart and seek the knowledge of his truth every day. This is our only defense against the world and the evil one who tries to defeat us at every turn. I now have graduated from Ashes to Beauty and am working for them as the program coordinator. I now get to pure into the lives of other women who have been addicted, sex trafficked, and abused. God is doing amazing things in and through this life transforming ministry. I praise God every day that I get the opportunity to serve him and give back what he has so graciously given me.

Recovery is not easy. It takes heart wrenching dedication and determination. However, with the Lord Jesus Christ on our side, anything is possible. With the Holy Spirit we can have courage to face anything that stands in our way. At times I have stubbles but the Lord is there to pick me up. I stay upon my knees in front of his throne and my pride in the hand of Jesus. I must give my will over to him every day, one day at a time.   I came to Ashes to Beauty in a self-created prison. I no longer am a prisoner to death. I am now free under the blood of Jesus Christ. I once was lost but now I am found. I now have risen and stand high under the grace and mercy of the Most High God, King of all Kings, Lord of all Lords, My father Jesus Christ!!!!