The Gift of Desperation

Melissa's story

"Several months ago, I finally hit a bottom in a pit of stranglehold addictions that were consuming me alive.  Over a 20-year span of time, I traded away pieces of my morality and things I cherished dearly until there was almost nothing left of me.  Damaging and destroying everything worth anything to me, I had convinced myself that I had gone past the point of no return and could not be redeemed.  I believed things would be better for my family if I no longer existed.  However, God already had me purposed for His will before I was even aware of it.

Unknown to me, this blessing of desperation brought me out of my cascade into destruction and back into the arms of Jesus.  The events in the months to follow were completely ordained by God.  The Lord first blessed me with physical endurance through a week-long detoxification process where I was again blessed with an immediate transference to a three-month long stay in a rehabilitation center for substance abuse.  However, it was there where I soon realized that three months alone was not adequate enough for my personal journey.  I needed more than physical abstinence from substances, I needed purpose in my life.  This is when word of Esther House (Peoria Rescue Ministries’ recovery program) found its way to my ear.  What was to ensue was nothing short of God’s living example of mercy, grace, and unconditional love.

“ I needed more than physical abstinence from substances, I needed purpose in my life.

During my residency at Esther House, I was introduced to staff and volunteers who willingly sacrificed of their time, goods and services to ensure that I felt loved and nothing less than a true princess of a king. I was fortunate in being able to partake in Bible studies and Biblically-based classes that facilitated a closer relationship with Christ and a revelation of just how real God was in my life and how close he had been to me my entire life.

While participating in the program, I sought out involvement in Christian discipleship recovery meetings. It was at these meetings where I met a kind, soft-spoken man who was involved in the program at the men’s downtown Mission. God had been working simultaneously with us to bring our two lives together as one. Over several months, God cultivated a precious relationship that led to us being married less than a year later - several months after we had graduated our programs. We both are now employed by Peoria Rescue Ministries and live in a beautiful three-bedroom home. We have an opportunity to reciprocate back to the Ministry that aided in our recovery and our relationship with Christ.

“God had been working simultaneously with us to bring our two lives together as one.

Due to my past addiction, I had lost custody of my two daughters and a relationship with my family, especially the close relationship I had with my mother. In the beginning of my recovery, I was prepared to clean my life and serve God, even if it was without the people most important to me. But because of his grace and my trust, he gave it all back to me. My daughters are back in my life after almost three years. I regained a close relationship with my mother who had prayed so desperately for me all those years I was lost. My mother recently unexpectedly passed away on September 25, 2018. Obviously, this is the most devastating experience I have ever known, but again, because of God, she came back into my life just in time to see me turn it completely around and live for the Lord. She saw my girls come back to their mother and also saw me marry a good godly man, whom was the first she had ever trusted. I was able to spend each holiday this past year with her as her sober, healthy and joyful daughter. I find comfort in knowing that she was able to pass away in peace knowing that all was right again.

“ I will no longer own shame and guilt as my badges to bear. 

I realized in coming to Esther House that this place was God’s refuge for me to not only gain strength and tools in abstaining from addiction, but also a training ground to be reconditioned and refined with the knowledge of His Word and His will.  God blessed me in overabundance with new places, new things and people I never thought I would have the privilege of holding the same company with.  In 20 years of addiction, none of my own attempts at sobriety have amounted to the time of abstinence and freedom I have sustained through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.  Now I appreciate trials and consequences because in them, I see prayers answered, plans prepared, and opportunities for obedience.  I will no longer own shame and guilt as my badges to bear.  Through Christ alone, I am an overcomer.  I am a warrior.  I am an heir and a daughter of royalty.  Thank you, Father, that desperation is a gift.”

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