Tied to a chair with the voice of an evil perpetrator threatening to pour gasoline on me, set me on fire, and mail my ashes to my children, it became clear that my decade long double life had finally caught up to me. After years of dealing methamphetamine by night and attending PTA meetings during the day, my life was much like the television show “The Sopranos”. We had the big house with the white picket fence and gorgeous family on one side and the criminal life on the other. When the two ultimately collided, absolute chaos and destruction occurred.
I had overcome a teenage drug addiction to crack cocaine and I had been clean for over a decade when my life began to spiral out of control. I had developed a prescription drug addiction that should have killed me, but God apparently had other plans for my life. I referenced the evil perpetrator at the beginning of my story and I have to say that my experience with him should have been my rock bottom. He kidnapped me, then physically, emotionally, and sexually abused me, and held me hostage for 9 days. On the evening of the 9th day, he miraculously set me free; however, my will to live was gone. I was terrified and filled with dread. In the process I lost my home, my chance of getting my children out of foster care, absolutely everything I owned, and my hope of ever prevailing over my despair.
I needed a job. I was in no shape to get a normal job, even though I had years of clerical experience and a BA in psychology. I decided to become a personal shopper. A personal shoplifter, to be more exact. I built a small empire. I had hundreds of clients, business cards, weekly specials, and a 24 hour guarantee. I shoplifted by day and returned to my crack addiction by night. Eventually, this life of crime caught up to me. I had misdemeanor and felony charges in 7 counties. I had so many outstanding warrants that if you added up all of my bond amounts, the total was nearly 1 million dollars! My charges were all put together and labeled a “crime spree” and I was eventually sentenced to 3 years in prison, plus 2 additional years for felony escape from a half-way house. In my opinion, prison is just like you see on television, it is just not that intense all of the time. Most of the time it is calm and boring.
Being released from prison was the most scary time of my life! Yes, even after all I had gone through, the idea of starting my life over from scratch, in a new city, with no friends, and a family who lived many miles away was terrifying. However, I was determined to never go back to prison, so I was going to do whatever I had to do to make it work. I was blessed that my dad found me an amazing family to live with. They are an enormous part of my success story. The road has not been easy and the loneliness was really hard. Letting go of everything and everyone you once knew is a task that is overwhelming and emotional.
Finding a job with 4 felony thefts on your record is next to impossible. My first job was construction zone flagging. I found out that God has quite a sense of humor, considering I hate the outdoors. Haha! Next I worked in fast food, then I worked as a telemarketer where I sat at a desk for 8 hours a day, with the yellow pages in front of me, making call after call after call to people that did not want to talk to me about commercial cleaning estimates. I did this for almost 2 years. Finally after 3 years of really crappy jobs, I got a great one!
Three days after I got out of prison, I met a lady at a church small group meeting. Jesus had blessed me with an angel. We become fast friends and she was a champion for my success. Everywhere she went she recommended me and told people what an excellent hire I would be. Ultimately her dedication paid off and the job I have now, as the office manager at a chiropractic/acupuncture/medical massage office, is an excellent fit with fantastic bosses and a great place to work.
My life is not perfect and there are still hard days, but through the never ending grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, here I stand. Relationships restored, a fantastic place to live, amazing friendships, legal problems a thing of the past, a brand new life, and a second chance to live the life that God intended for me.
I started No More Locked Doors Ministries because I have a passion to work with women who are getting out of prison. The inner peace and joy that I have from Jesus is something that I want to share with others. I want to love on these women that are enduring the same kind of pain and heartache that I did. I want them to know that they are not alone and that they are cared about and loved no matter their past mistakes.
I want them to experience the joy of Jesus!!