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

Testimony Tuesday with Kristen Stewart

Meet Kristen Stewart. Kristen got to learn the hard way how to let go and let God, but today she lives in surrender and victory simultaneously. Her testimony is proof that it doesn’t matter if you fall as long as you get back up!

My name is Kristin Stewart. I’m 26 years old and I used to be hopelessly addicted to pain pills and honestly any substance or relationship that enabled me to escape reality.

I’m an only child and I grew up in what most people would say was a pretty normal household. My mother has struggled on and off with addiction my whole life, but my father always kept things together for us. He was an aviation mechanic in the Coast Guard and he worked a job at night for many years also. I would say he was my rock. In 2003 he was in a car wreck and the on-base doctor prescribed him oxycodone and my father got severely addicted. He ended up getting discharged from the Coast Guard and this is when life as I knew it (at 13 years old) got turned upside down.

I grew up almost instantly it felt like. In 2008, shortly, after my father got clean he passed away and this shook mine and my mothers world. Exactly a year to the month of 2009, my mom was placed in ICU for 3 month on life support because of double pneumonia. After just losing my father and seeing my mother in this shape day after day I began  coping with life by smoking weed and drinking with my friends.  Eventually, my mother got out of ICU and came home.

She had never dealt with my fathers death and her addiction rapidly got out of control. After fighting with her to stop, and doing everything in my power to help her with absolutely no results I gave in and we began to party together.

Things got out of control fast and that’s when I checked myself into The Haven of Hope in 2013. I completed the program and felt God calling me to stay and not to go back home,but my worldly cares quickly pulled me out of The Haven and back home. It did not take long before I was back out in the world in a full-blown relapse. I stayed in my relapse for about a year until I had had enough and humbled myself. I called The Haven and went back in July of 2014.

Again, I stayed and completed the program and again I heard God saying to me not to go home and calling me to be apart of The Mission of Hope ministry. This time I listened to him and stayed on as a step-up first and then I became a house-mother at the Mt.Vernon location and all together worked there for 15 months. This is where I really started my true relationship with Jesus Christ.

Yet, I still struggled with one major issue I could not seem to give to God. My want and need to save my mother. I was so use to taking care of her I did not know how to have full joy if she did not have joy,peace,and happiness. I was totally codependent. Every other weekend I would go home and  try to shine my light, but my light just grew dimmer and dimmer. I heard God’s voice say to me  “Kristin get out of my way you’re only making things harder for me” but I could not give her up. This and a few other decision led to me leaving The Haven way before I should have, but thank God he works ALL things together for the GOOD to those who love him and who are called according to his purpose.

I fell right back into pills and drugs and stayed in that lifestyle for about 6 months when I found myself sleeping in my car and so sick with double pneumonia I could not get out of my car. My best friend, Stephanie Hepburn, who is the house manager at The Haven in Fruitdale, Alabama came and picked me up out of my car and brought me to The Wings of Life where my spiritual mother, Dacia Amacker, had called and gotten me a bed. Thank God for his mercies and love that never fails.

Today I live my life in freedom because I serve a God who is faithful and never gives up on his children. I’m currently in the dove program at the Wings Of Life and I’m starting college classes at Bishop State on August 15th. The word says a righteous man may fall 7 times but he rises again.- Proverbs 24:16. And what the enemy meant for my harm, God will use for my good. -Genesis 50:20. I know God did not want me to suffer so much in order to get me to this place in my life but because of my choices I had to go through them. My trials have become my testimony and my thorns have become my purpose. I’m now blessed to be able to be apart of two amazing ministries and have Christian friendships that will last forever. God is now working in my mother’s life also because I finally gave her to him, and let Him be the mighty God He always was.  We are both work in progress, but my God promises to complete the good work he started until the day of Christ Jesus and with my God all things are possible!

 

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17

Testimony Tuesday with Tabatha Eady

Meet Tabatha Eady. Her story is one of total transformation. Her life was out of control until she met the one who was always in control, Jesus Christ.

Whenever I was a kid, I didn’t know about God and I didn’t have any desire to know about him.
I started smoking weed when I was about 12. That quickly led to other things. I eventually started to use IV, and I was sold out to it. My drug of choice was opiates, but I found myself using meth with them. My life was a constant chase. I lived in a state of paranoia that I couldn’t escape. In July of 2014, I found out I was pregnant but I still couldn’t stop. The following month, I was arrested for manufacturing in the 1st, tampering with evidence, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia. I bonded out and was back in jail two months later for burglary in the 3rd and possession of drug paraphernalia. I was only in jail for a month when they transported me to the Haven of Hope, and I still wasn’t ready to change.
About a month into my program, I ran and was back in jail again ten days later with a new charge. This time, I had to stay for a few months, but I’m so thankful for that time because while I was there I gave my life to Christ. I had finally had enough and realized I couldn’t keep doing this, and I couldn’t do it on my own.
On March 19, 2015, I gave birth to my baby boy shackled to a hospital bed. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was leave him there and go back to jail. But God showed his mercy again in my life, and not only was I transported back to the Haven, but half way into my program, I was allowed to move into the Hope House with my son. He was two and a half months old when he came, and we’ve been there for a little over a year now. My relationship with my son has been completely restored, and I’m a full-time mom to him.
I am now working in the Hope House where I get to help other moms with their babies so they can do their program. The Lord has also worked out all of my legal issues. I was charged with 3 felonies and put on probation, but once I complete it, all of my charges will be dismissed. The Lord has been so good to me. I’m so thankful for his grace and his mercy in my life.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23