After completing the Renew program, my husband and I got a house and begin rebuilding our lives and our family. I felt very unorganized in this house, nothing had a place, and it did not feel like a home by any means, which was a reflection of my old life.
As I went through my second divorce, God told me to let it all go: house, cabin, boat, car, things, stuff, I gave it all to my husband. Soon after that, I filed bankruptcy on the home I'd given him. It's true the less you have, the less you have to worry about.
I lived within my means in a two bedroom apartment giving the bedrooms to my three children. I had a place on the sunporch. I followed my counsel to reestablish my credit, which took about three years.
I was arrested at the age of 17 due to inaction during a crime. My inability to deal with my own pain, let alone others’ pain, created a storm that ultimately lead me to spend over 21 years of my life in prison. I wasn’t ever an adult, yet, was treated, in the justice system, as one.
In March 2017, I was released and blessed with my own “space”. While I was extremely grateful for a roof, I felt isolated. I was use to steel and concrete but this was different. How can a plush environment feel cold?
In September 2016 I found myself struggling with depression and alcohol and an ungodly marriage. Everyday I wished for death and drank more and more to numb the pain. I tried to take my own life thinking there was no way to escape the pain of the depression. Fortunately, my attempt failed and I knew I had to turn back to God.
After spending my childhood and most of my adult life being trafficked, HOME felt more like a four letter word than a place I could ever enjoy. The Zion Project is an organization that helps people who have been victims of sexual violence restore their identity. They helped me find Jesus, they give me support, and they helped me to learn how to start to heal from over 26 years of trauma.
I grew up in church but never had a true relationship with God. I spent many years searching for anything to fill this void I had in my heart but everything left me feeling empty — nothing offered lasting satisfaction. At Renew I found exactly what would fill the void I had in my heart, something that would never disappoint me: a relationship with God. During my time at Renew I learned how to cultivate that relationship with God through reading His word, listening to His voice, and being surrounded with people who were doing the same things.
Crystal is a ray of sunshine with a generous smile. She has overcome so much hardship with a sturdy positivity, including a physical handicap after getting hit by a car at 16 years old and then raising a daughter at a young age. In an attempt to find a fresh start for her, her daughter, and grandson, she left their home in Florida and made it to Cleveland, TN, until their car broke down which left them homeless.
After being in a turbulent relationship that was going nowhere good, I ended up in a discipleship program in Chattanooga, TN. During one of my attempts to “fix” the relationship, I ended up renting out my condo and moving in with my boyfriend at the time. When things got bad, I lost everything I had in storage and was without a home.
While I was in Renew, the loss really didn’t hit me until I completed the program and moved out. It was then that I really had to face the reality that I had nothing at this point — no furniture and no home of my own.