New Life Newsletter

Sheila’s Story

“It took me losing everything”

An only child, Sheila was raised by a single mom who abused alcohol and suffered a string of broken marriages. “There were a lot of people in and out of my life, and a lot of things happened,” Sheila says, “bad things no child should be exposed to or endure.”

As a result, she had to grow up fast… and provide for herself at a very young age.

Her mother’s neglect made her angry. As her resentment grew, she began acting out, eventually adopting the self-destructive habits of the only role model she had. But when she became pregnant at age 25, it changed the trajectory of her life.

“I surrendered to Christ and began a different walk,” she says. For the next 20 years, “I served my family, my community, my church. My husband and I started a business. We were living the American dream. I put all my energy into doing things right.”

But something was wrong, and eventually she became emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Only later did she learn that she’d been so busy trying to do good things, she never took time to truly heal from her past.

When her marriage fell apart, she did too. And after losing two loved ones in a short span of time, her grief drove her further downhill. She reconnected with old friends, rekindled old habits and the trajectory of her life changed again.

“I went through this process of insanity,” she says, “directing every skill I had to something completely destructive. I didn’t care about myself or what happened to me. I just didn’t wanna feel anything anymore.”

When her financial means dried up, she became homeless… and her health deteriorated. She contracted an infection that nearly ended her life and was hospitalized. As she regained her strength, she thought about her future, “I was lost,” she says. “I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Then she received a text – from a friend she had met when she first met Christ: “You have a problem. You need help. God told me to tell you to call City Rescue Mission.”

Sheila knew nothing about us, so she was skeptical at first. But she opened her heart to the divine relationship she’d abandoned long ago. “I believed in God enough to know that maybe this was Him. So I decided, OK, I’ll try it.”

In our faith-based LifeBuilders Program, Sheila found professionals with knowledge and training to help her overcome her challenges. Most importantly, they offered counseling for the trauma she experienced as a child, which she’s never had before. “It was so valid and accurate – I believe the team of people were put together by God just for me. It was an amazing thing!”

She also embraced our holistic curriculum which addresses the long-term emotional, spiritual, medical, social, educational and economic needs of those in our care.

“While our only hope is in Jesus Christ, the Mission also believes all things work together to create a healthy person –body, mind and spirit.”

Today, as a graduate and alumna of our program, Sheila’s life once again has taken a new trajectory. She’s more than two years’ sober… works in a catering business she enjoys… and her relationship with God and her children are her highest priorities. Looking back, she says her time at the Mission was the richest experience she’s ever had.

“It took me losing everything – hurting my family and almost dying. But now I’m restored and healthy. I’m loved and alive. And my life is filled with hope.”

To read the entire May Newsletter, click here.

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