Hi, my name’s Amanda and through the forgiveness of Christ, I celebrate 6 years free from addiction, depression, and hatred. Growing up, I was at the hands of an abuser in some sort of way whether it was verbal, physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. The feelings that followed, cut out a blueprint for the life and emotions I would try to escape for over a decade.
I come from a broken family. My parents were never married or “together” for that matter. I was raised catholic by a single mom. Mom had several boyfriends that were in and out of our lives. I had one older sister and then my father and other siblings were absent until I was 11. My father denied that I was his daughter up until I was 11. Around that same time my mom got married. I always felt “less than”. I would compare myself to my
siblings, boyfriends, stepparents, or anyone really, trying to figure out what I needed to do to be good enough or feel accepted and loved. Most of my life I felt out of touch yet trapped.
Throughout my teenage years I was very sheltered due to the hands of my primary abuser. I never found my way of “fitting in.” I had no interest in friends or a boyfriend, yet I longed for them both. This was primarily due to consecutive years of sexual abuse by my biological father. My idea of love was distorted, and I developed hatred, anxiety, and severe depression. Overwhelmed by my emotions I attempted suicide in 10th grade. My brother found me with a rope in our basement and saved me from myself. I was admitted to the hospital and psychiatric treatment followed. Trust was a huge barrier with treatment and the abuse at home continued into my early adulthood. Looking back, I know it was God that rescued me from those situations but because of the teachings (“God is with you everywhere.” “He always was and always will be.” “He’s all knowing and all powerful.”) that played in my head over and over I felt like God watched me suffer and allowed my abusers to hurt me. I concluded that it was his fault, or he didn’t even exist. I ran with this mindset and found myself in places and situations I promised I’d never be. This verse summed up my life. Proverbs 5:6, She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
I was a lost wandering soul, constantly chasing the wind. I didn’t know addiction was even a thing. I wanted happiness and thought I was just using pills, drugs and alcohol for fun and “recreation” but nothing ever satisfied. Then one day my life choices and consequences caught up to me and I realized that I was a full-blown drug addict. Everything in my life was unstable! Even during periods when I wasn’t using a substance, I would resort to things like gambling, shopping, or men. I was so full of myself, yet I had no respect for myself at the same time. I was arrogant, selfish, and prideful. Full of hatred and self-seeking. I was in and out of abusive relationships sometimes me being the abuser, and eventually I turned to prostitution as well. I couldn’t hold a job. I dropped out of college. My family didn’t trust me. I was a liar, a thief, and a cheat. I was in and out of jail, hospitals, and rehabs. I Lost everything I owned more than once and lived out of my car until I lost that too and became homeless. My losses didn’t stop at my life. On Jan 11 of 2016 I overdosed yet again. After multiple doses of Narcan my mother got a call that she might have to bury her daughter because they couldn’t stabilize my oxygen. BUT GOD! You’d think that would be the ticket, but it wasn’t. I ended up in jail immediately after being released from the hospital. This is where I finally surrendered. I hit my knees and asked God to prove himself to me if he was real. I wanted more than anything to escape the consequences of my addiction, but I couldn’t imagine functioning the rest of my life without the rush that I got from the drugs or the people and fast life that came with it. Shortly after being released God showed up!
I came across a diamond in the rough, The Warren family mission. I was introduced to pastor Chris. He immediately drove me to Hannah’s House for a tour, with no hesitation, the very same day. And I will forever be grateful for his servant heart and the safety he provided me because it unlocked the door to the freedom I have today! When I walked into Hannah’s House, I felt this indescribable peace. The ladies had this radiant glow to them. For the first time in my life, I felt safe. I didn’t know what “home” was supposed to feel like, but this was it. A week later I entered the program on Feb 16, 2016. That March I accepted Jesus into my heart at a worship service. Every day I prayed for a husband and family. I had a childlike faith and was on fire for the Lord, although I didn’t realize I had to change my ways too if I wanted to honor God and receive his blessings for my life. This verse spoke to me clearly early on and is something I continually pray for still to this day. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26. Hannah’s House has taught me so much both spiritually and practically. The Lord softened my heart, and my faith was reignited. I took it day by day, sometimes moment by moment and allowed the Lord to work in my heart. I found forgiveness in my heart, restoration with family, a relationship with Christ, and the structure taught me to be still and allowed me to regain stability over my life.
After completion my probation was terminated, and fines were dismissed. I stayed in the transitional housing on-site and completed schooling. The housing was extremely rewarding because it was free of charge, and I was able to reestablish myself. It gave me time to focus on my education, rebuild my credit and become financially secured. In 2018 the lord heard my cry for a family! He brought to me a “gentleman” full of compassion and a foreign kind of love, I’d never known. On October 13 I married my very best friend! Today we have two of the most beautiful little girls together who fill our hearts with unspeakable joy! And in 2020 we made our very first ‘big’ purchase together as homeowners.
The Lord has placed new life in me, and I find purpose in being a wife and mother. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to give back by taking a position in ministry. I get to work side by side with other women much like myself and my heart strives to bring hope to survivors of addiction and abuse today! The Lord has brought me great lengths from where I started in ministry and this verse inspires me in how to be a good leader! “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads” Isaiah 40:11
If God can do these things for me, he will be faithful to you too! You are precious to Him, you have purpose in this life, and YOU are WORTH it!