I think the Lord has been equipping me to do this trauma-informed work all my life. I’ve had a passion to help others toward healing and wholeness ever since He guided me through my own adverse childhood experiences (I score an 8 out of 10 on the ACE scale). The studies may say I was ‘at risk’ as a child, yet instead I experienced resilience and restoration as the Lord led me through my own healing process, and led my family to recovery and reconciliation as well.
As an adult woman with a family of my own, we moved to Springfield, Ohio from Birmingham, Alabama into the same neighborhood as Safe Harbor, the year it was established. When the founder told me what she envisioned for this grand home she was renovating, I believed it was part of why I was replanted here. I believed in the model and the mission, and I wanted to participate. I felt this was confirmed when I met my next-door neighbor, a crack addict of 25 years. We held hands over the fence as she told me her story, and I told her I knew someone who could help whenever she was ready. We developed a friendship for the next nine months, and when she was finally ready, the house was finally ready, too. She became one of the first participants and one of the very first graduates of the Safe Harbor program. Ten years later, I’ve welcomed almost 150 women into the safety of this home and supportive community. I get to make each new resident’s bed and set a basket of goodies and bouquet of flowers beside it, letting her know she is beloved and belongs here. I get to help connect her to recovery resources and a network of professional helpers, and introduce her to a ‘Higher Power’ named Jesus who offers a whole new way of life.
I’ve been privileged to witness transformed lives, and that has sustained me through the gut-wrenching moments as well as the glorious. It is glorious when the miracle happens within a year, as the program is designed, but sometimes a woman leaves before she is really ready to stay clean and sober on her own. Though this is gut-wrenching, I have learned not to despair. The thing that sets Safe Harbor’s program apart is that while we are committed to providing excellent programming with clinical best practices, we introduce women to Jesus Christ as the Source that makes true healing possible. The Lord is faithful to finish what He starts in all of us, so even if we try to quit before the miracle happens, I have learned that His Love is never wasted, and His Truth never returns void. These seeds continue to take root and grow, long after a woman has left the safe harbor of this home. We often hear from her years later, bearing the fruit of an abundant life and flourishing in new ways.
Often, I have been asked for statistics on the ‘success rate’ of our program, and honestly, it is too hard to measure at first how a life might be forever changed. If you are wondering, too, then please consider this: every woman who enters this program benefits from the best resources available to recover from addiction and heal from trauma, but she also encounters the Love of Christ, the Truth of His Word and the wrap-around Peace of His Presence. I believe that kind of encounter can not only change a woman’s life, but change her for course for eternity. If every woman who walks through our doors is given that kind of opportunity, I consider that 100% success. Because of this, I can assure you your support is never wasted. It has a 100% return on the investment in these women’s lives.
As we pray for the flourishing of the women we serve, we pray for yours, also.