You Will Believe.
It's easy to get caught up in our own lives. I get it. Allow me for a moment to share someone else's life with you... It's about something and someone bigger than our present concerns. I met Mandy at Saint John’s to interview her and was immediately mesmerized by a powerful feeling that everything was okay. Mandy’s quiet strength and honest gaze just made me feel safe.
It was a little over two years ago on Christmas Day that this beautiful mother of six children was balled up in a corner of a trap house wanting her life to end. Mandy knew that her kids were being cared for in foster homes better than she could care for them, but she also knew that the pain of living without them was unbearable. She didn’t want to have to wake up and numb herself with meth one more day.
On Christmas Day 2015 Mandy put her hands in prayer and asked “Please take my life because I cannot live in this pain anymore. I don’t want to live without my kids and I can’t take care of them. So please take me out of this world.”
The next day Mandy was sleeping in that same corner and heard a knock at the door. Someone said “There is some kid at the door.” Mandy briefly wondered “ Nobody knows where I go to hide.” It was her nephew. After six months of living on the streets he had found her and was taking her home.
Mandy went with him to her sister’s house where she detoxed for two weeks on the couch. After a stint at rehab, Mandy prayed again for guidance on where to go next. Shortly afterwards she was looking at a pamphlet and read a story about the Saint John’s Program for Women. Mandy knew it was where she was meant to be.
The waiting list was two to three months for a bed but Mandy called every morning at 5:30 am. She prayed again: “God, I’m scared. I know I can’t go back (to her sisters) but I don’t know how I’m going to do this.” Within three days, Saint John’s called her. Mandy said, “There is divine intervention at work. God has bigger plans for me. I know he does.”
The past two years at Saint John’s have given Mandy a place to relearn how to live and succeed in a world that is full of challenges but she is ready. Saint John’s gave her the tools, the counseling, the change that she needed. She has her kids back. They are thriving. She has a job she loves, and they love her. Three days before Christmas her employers walked into Saint Johns and Mandy thought 'oh no I hope I’m not fired.' They gave her a car. Mandy credits Saint John’s with saving her life. “I say I’ve been here my whole life because my life began when I got here.” Most importantly, two months ago with the help of a Bible study group that met at Saint John’s another miracle occurred.
She was able to finally forgive herself.
In honor of Mandy and her journey, I'm suggesting that you forgive yourself too.
After what seemed like no time at all Mandy got up to get a photo of her kids and I stopped our recording at 54 minutes. Sitting forward and putting my head in my hands I thought how am I ever going to be able to describe Mandy. Her struggles, her strength, her six amazing kids and how her story is brutally, beautifully honest.
I looked up in the empty conference room and noticed a framed print up high on the bookshelf with one word on it, “MIRACLES.”
Dear God, I need a miracle. Please let me do justice to my friend Mandy. To honor her I must take from her; work hard, be willing to change, never give up, pray, love and forgive yourself.