Because you give, lives like Sandy’s are forever changed
Sandy climbed out of the cab with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was anxious, her mind filled with fear and uncertainty. What would become of her? What chance did she have for a new beginning? The pain of her past weighed heavily on her shoulders as she walked into the Hope Center unsure of what the future held.
For Sandy, like so many others coming to the Hope Center—a new beginning, a fresh start, hope, healing, transformation and restoration would be in their future—Sandy only had to open her heart to healing.
In the Beginning
Sandy grew up in a good home, attended church on a regular basis. But at 15, she became rebellious, running away several times with her boyfriend. They soon married, then Sandy gave birth to son Josh. After that, her husband started beating her. Drinking became Sandy’s way of coping. Five years later, eight months pregnant with Gina, he beat her so bad she decided it was time to leave for good.
“I stayed sober during both my pregnancies,” says Sandy. “After Gina was born, a few months later she almost died from pneumonia. I started drinking pretty heavily. I was a single mom working two jobs. I remarried four years later to someone who mentally abused me. Then I started using cocaine and crystal meth.”
“My dad died in 1989,” recalls Sandy. “I was devastated. I didn’t want to live. My drug use got worse. Nine months later my mom developed cancer. It was just one blow after another.”
Each time life threw Sandy a curve, she turned to drinking and drugs to cope. She tried moving, changing jobs; nothing
“I experienced a lot of miracles while I was at the Hope Center. I went from being angry with God to praising Him.”
“My mom passed away five years later,” shares Sandy. “I got divorced and moved to a new city. It was there I met Chris. He turned out to be a heavy drug user. One night he beat me so bad it destroyed a lot of the cartilage in my nose.”
During that same time Sandy’s daughter was living with her dad; he introduced her to crystal meth—she was only 16. The state took custody of Gina and placed her in a halfway house in Memphis.
“I moved to Memphis to be closer to my daughter,” shares Sandy. “I needed a job so I started working in a bar. That’s where I met Ray and crack cocaine. Crack stole years of my life away from me.”
Love Must be Tough
“In 2001 my brother gave me $40 and said ‘I love you, but I have to love you from a distance. Don’t call me again,’” said Sandy. “Then he told my family, ‘If you want to kill Sandy, then just keep giving her money.’ In retrospect I know he meant well, but at the time I was heartbroken.”
A year later Sandy received the worst beating of her life at the hands of a boyfriend. With swollen eyes she recalls looking into her daughter’s car to see her precious granddaughter and will never forget what happened next.
“Today, I have a relationship with my brothers and sister. I regained my brother’s trust. I have a great relationship with my kids and grandkids.”
“She touched my face and said, ‘Maw maw, what’s a matter with your eye?’” recalls Sandy. “I walked back into the house, looked in the mirror and had no clue who I was. I walked out the door and just kept walking…right in front of an 18-wheeler. Miraculously, a gust of strong wind blew me into the ditch. It shook me to the core and I knew God was trying to tell me something.”
Sandy called a friend for help. He in turn called Sandy’s brother, who came two days later to take her to the Hope Center. She couldn’t check in until the next day so her brother gave her $50 and dropped her off at a motel room. “He told me it was up to me,” says Sandy. “I could either use the money to buy drugs or I could use it to take a cab to the Hope Center.”
A New Start
“The next morning I walked through the doors of the Hope Center,” says Sandy. “My life was forever changed. Five days later I gave my life back to Christ. Those next seven months were some of the best months of my life. I developed a foundation on which to live my life. I learned I was valued, I was treasured and I was worth it.”
After graduating from the program, Sandy lived in the Mission’s transitional housing for three months. She found a job, a home church and eventually moved into her own place. She’s faced many challenges, but has continued to find her strength in God.
“Despite all the bad stuff that has happened, I still have God,” says Sandy. “I have felt His presence in so many mighty ways.
Today, Sandy is a counselor who is working at two different halfway houses for women; one as a volunteer, the other as a part-time paid employee. She plans to go back to school and become a therapist.
Thanks to the generosity of faithful friends like you, Sandy, like others who have completed the program, has a new life.