Your Support Gave This Mom A New Life
“This will be the best Christmas ever!” exclaimed Gina. It would be her first Christmas following graduation from the Nashville Rescue Mission’s life-recovery program. “It was the first time I could remember being clean, sober and happy at Christmas in a long time.”
Prior to that, Gina’s memories of Christmas were blurred—both by images of her mom who struggled with alcoholism and by darkness that covered many of her own years of addiction.
Gina’s mom was an alcoholic. Her parents divorced and she moved around a lot. Her dad was a drug addict. Her mom remarried, but he too was an alcoholic. Unfortunately, Gina witnessed a lot of abuse. She had no idea what a “normal” family looked like.
“My life lacked stability until we moved in with my uncle and his family,” shares Gina. “We went to church. We ate dinner together. Christmas was actually wonderful and not depressing. I saw a picture of what a family should look like and what I knew was lacking in my own life.”
On the outside, Gina’s life mirrored that of many kids her same age. She played basketball in the 7th grade and was a cheerleader in 8th grade. She enjoyed going to school. She made good grades. But deep down inside, Gina was broken. After moving again things took a turn for the worse.
“My mom was never home,” says Gina. “Without adult supervision I made some bad decisions. I dropped out of school. I started experimenting with drugs. My mom stopped paying the bills and we were evicted. My brother and I ended up staying with his best friend’s family. I was very unhappy.”
Not a Typical Teenager
Gina’s drug use escalated and at 16 she started running drugs. Truancy officers eventually found Gina and took her into custody. She stayed in a couple of group homes before her mom found her.
“I was raped while at the group home,” says Gina. “When I told my mom, she went through the roof. I was almost 18, at which point I could leave, but my mom was so mad, she came and got me anyway. Things were still unstable. We moved a lot. I got tired of it and ended up getting a job with one of my step-dad’s friends. I started dating a guy, we moved in together and I got pregnant.”
On Her Knees
“At first, I stopped using drugs,” says Gina. “But I relapsed and used for four months of my pregnancy. I went to church seeking help. A woman asked if she could pray for me. She put her hands on my belly and prayed. I felt something I’d never felt before. I accepted Christ into my heart and was filled with a peace I could not explain.” Two months later, Gina delivered a healthy baby girl—Jade.
When Jade was six months old, Gina’s boyfriend went to jail. One of his buddies convinced Gina to help him with a drug deal. She wasn’t using, but needed the money. Someone turned them in and when they crossed state lines, they were arrested. Gina spent three days in jail. Her step-dad knew she wasn’t using and was trying to get her life together, so he bailed her out. Afraid of going to prison, Gina called her pastor for help.
“My pastor knew I was clean, but recommended I get out of my environment,” says Gina. “He found the Hope Center. Within six days of leaving jail, Jade and I were on the way to Nashville. It turned out to be the best decision of my life. During my time at the Hope Center, I developed a personal relationship with Jesus. The Mission’s life-recovery program provided me with an opportunity to learn, grow and heal. It changed my life!”
After graduation, Gina moved back home. Her dad started coming around. She was hopeful things had changed. One day he told Gina he was taking Jade to get ice cream. Instead, he took two-year-old Jade by a drug house where she accidentally drank out of a cup that contained meth chemicals. “When my dad drove up I remember hearing the kind of screams you never want to hear,” says Gina. “The ambulance came and took us to Vanderbilt where Jade was admitted to the ICU—her face was badly burned.”
After Jade got better, they returned home. Gina started dating Jared, someone she’d known since 7th grade. They were married on October 25th, 2003. The Christmas of 2003 was the first of many wonderful holidays.
Today, Gina is happier than she can ever remember being. She’s a mom to three beautiful girls—Jade (12), Jaylin (8) and Journey (5). Since graduating from the Hope Center, Gina has earned her Associates Degree in Applied Science. She is a Certified Medical Assistant and Certified Nurse’s Assistant. She has put her past behind her and is pushing forward, living the life God intended for her.
“These days Christmas is a very special time for me and my family,” shares Gina. “My mom and I are closer than we have ever been. We are extremely blessed and I am so grateful for all God has done in my life. He is so good!”