Success Story Three

Anonymous Care Center Friend Story

My life has been filled with twists and turns. I grew up in church from a young age, but like many others, my life took over and going to church wasn’t a huge priority.  After earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana University, I worked at a life insurance company for 30 years.

I married my husband and automatically became a stepmother to two wonderful daughters. Soon we added a wonderful son. In 1988, our lives drastically changed forever as my husband was charged with sexually abusing our oldest girl. After divorcing my husband, I was granted custody of my son, but my stepdaughters went to their mothers. Our lives were never the same.

This life change forced me into working two jobs to provide for my son, my ex-husband wasn’t paying child support. Eventually, I was supporting the two of us on credit cards so I could “keep up with the Joneses” in buying my son the most current video game consoles, games, toys, etc. I even went so far as to put a semester of my son’s college on a credit card.

In 2003, I was laid off by my long-time employer. Unable to find a job due to physical limitations, I lived on my credit cards — burning through savings and 401(k) accounts. I incurred credit card debt. But when I eventually had NO money, I asked my sisters for help. Boy, did they help — and I am very grateful to them.

Financially things needed to change, and they did. I was granted Social Security Disability — and my oldest sister was named my Representative Payee. She managed my money and bills. I began living on an allowance of $100 a week. With careful spending, I paid for my groceries and other needs.

$100 a week is very hard to get by on without feeling deprived. A financial counselor recommended a 12-step program called Debtors Anonymous. My first DA meeting was in June 2013, and it was through the Steps Program that I began to develop a relationship with my Higher Power.

One of my fellow debtors mentioned a church where she volunteered in its Food Pantry. Looking for positive activities to fill my severely depressed living situation, I looked up Grace Church on the internet and registered to volunteer.

I was met with kind, caring, compassionate people who accepted me just as I was. Through their examples, I learned more and more about what it meant to be a Christian.  Eventually, I swallowed my pride and admitted that perhaps I would like to shop at the Food Pantry. The first time I cried like a baby, but the volunteer was very understanding and compassionate. Everyone was so kind, and I cried all the harder. Shopping for items help me stretch my grocery budget. I love coming home on Monday evenings with groceries and household items. Putting everything in its place gives me feelings of comfort and security.

My next step of life change happened Easter 2016 with my first visit to services at Grace Church. It felt so good to be among people I knew, volunteers from the Care Center. My relationship with God grew stronger and stronger to the point that I surrendered myself to Jesus — and was baptized in August 2016.

Today, I thank Debtors Anonymous and Grace Church for my life change. I have met the most wonderful staff members and fellow volunteers at the Care Center. Every time, they greet me with heart-felt smiles on their faces — and with arms wide open. The Grace Care Center is truly a place where CARE is abundant!