Testimony Tuesday with Shelley Montgomery

Meet Shelley Montgomery. Shelley spent a huge chunk of her life with an emptiness inside. She tried to fill it with drugs, alcohol, and men but nothing from the world could satisfy. Then she met Jesus Christ and for the first time in her life, she was whole.

My name is Shelley. I’m the daughter of a beauty queen turned alcoholic. I grew up believing I was doomed to be just like my mother. When she died my life became a perpetual haze of alcohol, drugs and men. I grasped at anything that I thought might save me from the emptiness I felt inside. Minutes turned to hours, hours to days and months to years of this vicious cycle. I used because I hated myself and hated myself because I used. I became trapped, a prisoner of my own making, paranoid and afraid. Defeated.  In the Word of God it says..2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed;perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed”

When I arrived at the Haven in February 2016 I was broken….but not destroyed. I came to treatment to find myself and God found me instead. I had not been abandoned, but the truth was I had been rescued by the blood of the Lamb. I have learned I am not defeated,but in all actuality victorious.

Today, I am a house mom for Mission of Hope Ministries at the new Fruitdale property. If someone would have told me a year ago I would be working for a ministry I would have laughed. I would have thought I could never be good enough to work for a ministry. But Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And here I am. God’s restoring relationships and rebuilding bridges that I thought I had burned. Am I happy every day? No, I’m not. Instead I wake up every day with joy. No matter how I may feel, I have the joy of the Lord. He is my rock, my strength. I never have to worry, nor be afraid. I am a daughter of the Most High King and thanks to him I am an overcomer.

I no longer feel doomed to be an addict like my mother. Instead, I strive to be more like my Father in Heaven.

 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. 1 Peter 4:12

 

Testimony Tuesday with Brittany Meeks

Meet Brittany Meeks. Brittany’s story is a love story, but not one like we are used to reading in a paperback version. It is the story of how a lost, little girl transformed into a mighty woman of God by falling in love with her Savior, Jesus Christ.

I grew up in a divided home. My mother was a devoted Christian, but my father was addicted to crack cocaine. I was raised in the church, but witnessed the destruction that drugs can do to a family. I became insecure and confused due to the broken promises and negligence of my father. Also, I was sexually abused from the ages of 8-11 by a family member (my whole identity was robbed from me.) The year I turned 13 was the year the devil did his best to kill, steal, and destroy me! After 16 years of my dad’s crack addiction, my mother divorced my father. We lost everything (our home, our belongings, our family, our independence).

My mother and I moved in with my grandparents;my brother moved in with his girlfriend. Within the next few months, life would only get worse. I was raped by a family member, found my grandmother dead in her bed, and began using drugs. I dove head first into addiction (ecstasy, Xanax, pain pills, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine…). From the age 13-18, I was in and out of jail, rehab, and kicked out of various schools. My promiscuous lifestyle landed me pregnant at 14. The father was a 26 year old that I met at my dope dealer’s house.

My life was out of control and I knew that the next step would be death! I knew it was time to make a change after 2 years of demonic nightmares, a demonic encounter, and a warning from God! God led me to a 12 month intense Christian discipleship program called Teen Challenge when I turned 18. It was at Teen Challenge that God began to change me from the inside-out (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Nine days after entering the program, I completely surrendered my life to Christ, was baptized in the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues ) and delivered from 2 years of demonic nightmares. My chains were broken by the power of God Almighty! At Teen Challenge, I learned who I was in Christ, and God broke off every label the world/enemy had placed on me (dirty, unworthy, loser, ashamed, guilty.)

Most importantly, I fell madly in love with Jesus Christ! I entered into Teen Challenge a lost scared little girl, and I left a totally transformed powerful woman of God! Since graduating Teen Challenge, God has blessed in many ways. God has opened many ministry opportunities (Christian rehabs, jails, churches, schools). I have had the opportunity to share my testimony, lead worship, preach, and minister through prayer in many counties/states. He has restored my family, sent me an amazing husband, and now we are first-time home owners! God empowered me to obtain my GED/graduate college with a BA in Psychology, and now I am working profession. Likewise, God has blessed me with opportunity to return to school (praying to become a Registered Nurse).

I am forever grateful for the prayers of my family and church, and that God’s pursuit of me is relentless! On August 29, 2016 I will be 9 years saved/sober, and I am still madly in love with my Jesus. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store for my life.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things become new. — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Testimony Tuesday with Crystal Ellerbee

Read Crystal Ellerbee’s beautiful story of redemption. After the death of her father she thought she would never be whole again, but Father God took all her broken pieces and used them to make a masterpiece of His love.

Hi, my name is crystal Ellerbee.  I was born in Tampa, Florida in March of 1981. I had some bad things happen to me as a kid, things that take away a kid’s innocence. From the early age of 11, I remember always looking for something to dull the feelings I carried inside of me. Something that could numb the pain and make me feel “normal”, or what I thought normal was. It was light stuff at first like pot, acid then ecstasy, and gradually went on to bigger things as I grew older.
I joined the military when I was 19. I hated school and thought that was the best route for me. In my last year in the military, I hurt my back pretty bad and  that’s when the prescription medication really came into play for me. At this time, I was already abusing uppers like cocaine and meth. I was medically discharged in 2004 and went back home to Tampa after four & half years serving.
I got married, but my addiction had really spun out of control at this point and  that’s when I went to rehab for a year. I lost my husband, which he was only a “security blanket” for me.  Not real love. I did really good for awhile. I thought was anyway because the only drug I was taking was Suboxene. 
Anyways, I did good for a year and then my dad died suddenly in October of 2008. It didn’t take me long to relapse after that. BUT that’s when I met Jesus.  A month into my relapse my mom found out about the Haven of Hope and even though I didn’t want to leave her side, I came up here to Mobile, Alabama for 3 months at the Haven. I was saved and baptized during this time,but after graduation I went back home. That was a huge mistake for me. I plugged into a great church for a while but then I let my social anxiety get the best of me and I slowly slipped away.
By 2012 I was so much further in my addiction then I thought I’d ever go. I was IV’ing OxyContin every day and was a horrible person. I stole from my mother more then I can imagine and many others, mostly strangers. I had myself in so many bad situations; it’s only God that allowed me to walk out of them. My mom was finished with me. She didn’t want anything to do with anymore unless I went back into rehab. She wanted a year long program though like teen challenge. I just wanted to escape all the damage I had done and I kind of needed to go in to hiding because of some of the people I had ripped off so I agreed to go back to the Haven for a recharge program for 2 months. I wasn’t really interested in God anymore. I just needed to hide. I had so much hate and  anger built up because of my fathers death towards God that I was a very hateful and angry person. They almost kicked me out a couple times BUT GOD. He knew His plans for me and He protected me even in my careless behavior. After a few months my heart started to soften and I started crying back out to Him.
I became the house mother at the Haven of Hope and was there for a year. I decided I needed to stay in Mobile this time. I had met some pretty amazing people that are now family and it was the best decision I could’ve ever made. But I’m here to tell you, gettin Jesus is the best part,but that’s not where it ends. We did a lot of damage to ourselves out there so we have to allow Him to work all that out. I spent my first 3 years walking with Him battling depression, insecurity, codependency and much much more mind torment. I wanted to give up everyday, but I wanted Him more than anything so I stayed the course. I have fallen a few times but I’ve gotten right back up and let Him use the falls for His glory. He broke all that mental anguish off of me all at once.  All of a sudden one day it just wasn’t there anymore. He replaced it with His peace and His joy. I still face daily battles on this walk, but through them all my faith grows a little stronger and I cling a little more to Him.
My daily choice is to please Him and to live for Him. I am very involved in ministry now. I am in a ministry that goes into the darkest of dark places to bring Jesus’s light and love to the lost and broken women in this city in the sex industry, to show them there is another way and His name is Jesus. I’m also involved in Celebrate Recovery because that’s where I really plugged into at the beginning of this walk and met my forever family. Celebrate Recovery has helped me and so many others out of  bondage.
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.– Genesis 50:20

 
 

 
 

Testimony Tuesday with Kim Wesson

Kim Wesson thought the life she had would be the life she would always have, but God had other plans. He turned her addiction into a beautiful example of His grace.

Most of my life has been filled with depression, drinking, and bad choices.

I lost everything I ever loved and that led to further depression, drinking, and bad choices. I can remember wanting to die just so I wouldn’t have to hurt anymore. I don’t remember how many times I have been arrested, but suffice to say it has been many. More than 20 at least.

On December 27, 2015, I reluctantly went to the Taylor House in Mount Vernon, AL. It ended up being the best decision I ever made. I learned so many things about a better way of life. I learned the difference between joy and happiness. I learned that happiness is something that comes and goes, but true joy from the Lord can be experienced even on the bad days. I learned that to live this joy-filled life that I needed to turn my life over to the Lord. To have a relationship with the Lord, I have to be obedient and to be obedient I have to listen to what God tells me to do instead of following my feelings. Then I learned that everything I needed to follow Jesus was all there in God’s word. When I have a bad day, I have to put my trust in God. I have to remember that He is in control and have faith that He knows what is best for my life.

Today I think back on that December day and shiver because I know how close I came to not going to the Taylor House. I just picked up my 7 month chip at Celebrate Recovery last week. I am in awe of how much my life has changed. My life has so much meaning today. I still have bad days, but during those bad times, I cling to my faith and trust in my Savior and even in the midst of those bad times I have hope.

I know there is only one direction for me to go from here and that is up.

Remember  ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; Shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:18-19