Thank you to Becca who bravely shared her story in front of hundreds of people at this year’s Gala! She is a true testament of God’s grace, love, and healing.
What an honor it is to stand up here and share God’s glory with all of you. If nothing else, this should inspire us to know that God can use every single one of us to do great things to complete his big visions. But we have to be obedient. We have to surrender and we have to believe. It’s not going to be easy, but he will see his plans to completion.
I was born into The Outsiders lifestyle. My dad was in a biker gang, The Outsiders; sex, drugs, and criminal thinking were the way of life. My mother grew up as a Mormon my father as a Catholic, so right from the beginning, I think it is safe to say I was confused. At the age of two, my father was in a fatal motorcycle accident leaving my mother to raise two girls alone. By the age of eight, my mom had lost control of our lives. She sent me to live with my grandparents where I would be spending the rest of my childhood years.
I was what you would call a superhero child. When I accomplished really great things it made everyone happy. By the age of thirteen, I had won a national figure skating championship and played the violin with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.
When I was fifteen, I met a boy who made me feel needed and loved. We became sexually active and at sixteen I became pregnant. I was so scared he would leave me and terrified my grandparents would disown me that I hid my pregnancy for nearly six months. I went to my doctor and had a pregnancy test. I then asked about my options. I was given a phone book and left alone to call clinics. I made the decision to have an abortion alone. Little to my knowledge, it would turn out to be the worst decision of my entire life.
Shortly after, my boyfriend broke up with me and I remember being terrified that I was not going to heaven, that I had committed an unforgivable sin. I started smoking pot and drinking alcohol to numb the pain. I quit ice skating and I gave up playing in the symphony. Depression took over I ended up getting pregnant two more times when I was eighteen and nineteen. I aborted both babies. By then I couldn’t even look in the mirror. I hated who I was. My drug use went from marijuana and alcohol to meth, prescription drugs, acid, and cocaine.
At 22, I became pregnant and I was too far along to abort. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter I managed to raise her for the first four years sober until her father and I went separate ways. I married another man and we had two children together, a boy and a girl. After the third baby, I now know that I was in full self destruction mode. I started using drugs heavily and eventually abandoned my husband and children. I ended up doing a two-year prison sentence and after I was released I was at my all-time highest point of addiction. I deemed myself unworthy of anything good.
I was sitting in a jail cell in May of 2017 praying for God to help me. And as usual, he was faithful. He led me to the Portland Rescue Mission’s restoration program, Shepherds Door where I would live for 14 months while working on my addiction and restoring my relationship with Jesus. While there, God placed the most incredible woman in my life, Ann. She became my mentor and close friend. She would drive me to Eugene to watch my daughter’s games. On our first two drives, she would talk about her abortions and the trauma that they caused. She talked about the freedom she received from Heart and how it inspired her to become a Heart leader. I remember asking God why I was never affected by my abortions. I felt like I was some kind of monster. I was too ashamed to open up to her about my own experiences until about 2 months later when I woke up one day and I started calculating how old my children would be, thinking about what they might look like or what their interests would be. My emotions that I had stuffed for 21 years took over. I called Ann and asked if she would come and talk to me.
Within a few weeks, I started a Heart Bible study. In the beginning, I couldn’t remember anything about my abortions, my feelings, or other people’s feelings; there was just nothing. It was all so stuffed I had no memory. Going through Heart, I worked through anger I had held on to. It lifted the majority of the blame off of my shoulders. It also helped me identify why I felt anger towards certain people in my life. There was a lot of acceptance and healing there. I learned the true character of God and as I learn to trust the Lord the more he revealed. It was the most powerful and healing part of my recovery process.
I give all the praise, honor, and glory, to You Lord. You have unraveled me with your tender perfect love. I cannot even wrap my head around the way you orchestrate your goodness. I started Heart a broken mess; I was filled with resentments hate and anger I was running from myself for 21 years, but deeper than that was something I was running from. I never even knew what that something was. But through it all, your spirit was in me. My heart beats with your pulse and my lungs are filled with your breath. Sometimes I don’t even have the words to say that would equal what you have done to me. You drop me to my knees, Lord. You are perfect and you will forever be the Lover of My Soul. I am without blame; I am forgiven. I have been delivered from depression, addiction shame, and guilt. I am a daughter of the most high priest.
I would like to share what the Lord has helped me accomplish this last year. After completing Heart, I graduated the Shepherd’s Door restoration program and a pre-apprenticeship program, Constructing Hope. I got my driver’s license back and I was also released from probation one year early, both of them big barriers for seventeen years. I will be moving to Eugene where I will work on restoring my relationship with my three beautiful children and I will begin my apprenticeship with the Union as an inside electrician.
These two women, Mindy (the director of the Heart program) and Ann, are the perfect examples of the kind of love that comes from First Image and Heart. God goes in front of me and these people are right behind me; thank you from the bottom of my heart May God continue to bless this organization.