Stories of New Beginnings!

Jackie Bio Portrait

 

Rex bio portrait

Rex’s Story: I have a new name

People used to call me names. Reckless. Loser. Nobody. Let me tell you how God transformed me into a man I thought I could never be. 

I shouldn’t even be here. I overdosed five times during a 10-year struggle. I didn’t want to do drugs anymore, but I couldn’t find the power to quit. Every time I used, I needed more. It wasn’t even getting me high, but I was getting sick every single day – truly hell on earth. I had no friends and no real life. 

From that dark place, I was led to the place I had said I would never go: Rockford Rescue Mission. There I found the strength I needed to overcome drugs, my past and my pain. Nine months into the Life Recovery Program, I became free. I totally surrendered everything to Jesus Christ. 

Today I’m truly blessed. I don’t wake up sick. Instead of being angry at the world, I’m happy. I got married this year to the most amazing and beautiful woman I know. We have our own place. I’ve got a great job, and I have regained relationships that I thought were permanently broken. 

If you knew me before, and then saw me now, there’s no way you could say there is no God. I love the life that I have now. I feel as free as I’ve ever been. 

I’ve been called many names in my life. But now I like to go by a new name: Resurrected Rex. I am a new creation in Christ.

 

Suzanne Bio Protrait

Suzanne’s Story: God was with me

Most people in recovery say they were afraid they were going to die if they didn’t change. My biggest fear was the opposite: that I would stay forever in my place of dark loneliness. 

Not only was I a thief, but I also used cocaine from age 11 until my early 40s. Then the law caught up with me. During a three-month prison stay, I found a book shoved in the corner of my cell. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember a Bible verse it quoted, Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

That helped carry me through incarceration, my legal process and then Rockford Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program, where I finally confronted my pain, my addictions and the reasons behind it all. 

When I graduated, a friend of my mother gave me a plaque. She didn’t know about my prison experience, but on the plaque was printed Deuteronomy 31:6. It was another unmistakable sign that God was with me. 

Today I live a joyful new life. I’m eight years clean and sober. My relationships with my kids and grandkid are restored. My husband and I are homeowners. I’m a case manager at TASC – Treatment Alternative for Safer Communities – where we work with people who have been convicted of felonies, to help them turn their lives around. And, I’m working toward my master’s degree in clinical mental health and a career as a counselor. 

I don’t know where I’d be without Rockford Rescue Mission. Very likely I’d be in that same, awful place I had been for decades. Today I’m free.

 

Jackie Bio PortraitJackie’s Story: Sharing life’s lessons

In the 1990s, my life spiraled out of control. I was physically assaulted. I lost my dad. My son’s father went to prison. I felt completely alone.

My escape was crack, and my addiction quickly got out of hand. A friend told me about the Christian Care Center, Rockford Rescue Mission’s women’s program at the time. I drove up and down West State Street, but I could never find the place.

Then one hot July day, I had just spent every dime I had on drugs. My son was hungry and I didn’t have anything, and he was so ashamed of me that he wouldn’t look at me. I was driving around and I knew I couldn’t go back home. My dad had passed and my mom didn’t trust me in the house. At a traffic stop, I closed my eyes and said, ‘Lord if you help me, I’ll live for you the rest of my life.’ When I opened my eyes, I was right in front of the Christian Care Center.

So I went inside, and they had a bed available. And that’s where I stayed until I could get a handle on life again. It was the first time I really knew what love was, and especially from strangers.

I’ve been clean for 23 years now. I worked at Rockford Rescue Mission for some of that time. Last summer, I returned as a part-time Aftercare Coach. I want to help women make wise decisions, especially about unhealthy relationships. I work with them to prepare them for life outside Rockford Rescue Mission, to help them stay engaged with the program, and with their mentors and sponsors.

I am still a faith walker in Jesus Christ, and I am so grateful for all that He has done in my life through Rockford Rescue Mission.

 

For the Winter 2020 issue of The Rescuer, click here.