Eleven years ago, I drove across the bridge and entered the program for women at the Boynton Beach farm. I had a mixture of feelings going on inside me: anxiousness, relief, fear, depression, and sadness.
I did not know how or why, but as I drove over that bridge, I had an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness. Maybe because I had made the decision to change my ways; or maybe because deep down inside me I knew I had made the right choice to be there.
Another interesting reaction that happened is that I had a sense that I was going to be there a very long time over the required time served. I know now that it was all God’s plans.
The reason I chose Faith Farm was because it was free and I could afford that. I had just gotten two DUI charges within a month. I had to get myself in an inpatient treatment center fast; my focus was to do what was required. I did not care where, just a place I could afford and without a waiting list to get in right away before my next court date. I found Faith Farm. It was free and I would deal with the religious thing later. My focus was getting into the place.
Now remember, I was just avoiding jail and all of that business; and as I have learned about myself, thanks to Faith Farm, I am the queen of manipulation and compliance. I can conform to situations, so this religion thing: “Piece of cake” I thought; “I can handle this. I will do what they say. I will say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and whatever they throw at me.”
Needless to say, it took about 3 months of compliance, and lo and behold, the Spirit moved greatly in me. Everything that I was learning went from my head and landed miraculously into my heart. I was saved by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I graduated from the Eastham Home for Women at Faith Farm and stayed on as a Servant Leadership Student (SLS). After serving as an SLS, I resumed my life as a professional chef and moved up to Chicago, Illinois. I was active in the church. I even hosted a Bible study/cooking demonstration class, which drew a lot of people to the study and many became active members in the church.
I was amazed I could walk along side women who had been Christians; brought up in the church. Time went on in Chicago. I found that being in the food industry was okay. However, the hours and lifestyle were not for me. I was struggling to stay in the food industry because my attitude and outlook on life had changed. I had lost the passion for being a professional chef and restaurant manager. My focus on life had changed.
I wanted to work with women who had problems with drugs and alcohol. I was ready to give back what I had received. I was diligently in prayer and meditation about what my next move in life would be. No doors were opening up in Chicago.
Then, one day I received a call from Faith Farm. They wanted me to help run the Women’s Home in Boynton Beach. It was winter of 1999, and the Women’s Home was going through a transition. I packed all of my furniture and other belongings, moved down to Boynton Beach and lived above the women’s dorm.
As I look back now, God was preparing me for something more with each new transition I was taking on my path of life. I was so proud to be part of the staff at Faith Farm. It was an honor and a privilege to work there, and I treasure the experience I gained by working at Faith Farm. Many of my students still keep in touch with me today.
God knows! He always has the big picture in mind, and my experience working with the ladies was preparing me for what I do today. I am now a social worker at a local medical emergency room. I now help hundreds of people a year and daily take the opportunity to share what the Lord has done for me.
I am proud I went through the program at Faith Farm. I am not ashamed. If by telling my story helps one person, then that’s what it is all about.
The Lord took a self-absorbed, career-oriented, selfish and lost woman who just received her 5th DUI and was facing major time incarcerated; God took a woman who did not believe she had a life-controlling problem due to drugs and alcohol; and transformed her today into a beloved daughter of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.