35 years. That’s how long I was dependent on drugs and alcohol. My story is one of addiction and ugliness, that God turned into beauty and a message of redemption.
I was sexually abused from five-years-old by three different men until age 14. I was nine when I learned that drugs could numb the pain. I tried to commit suicide at 26, but the Lord intervened. I accepted Jesus Christ and was baptized. But even with a relentless desire to change after accepting Jesus, I couldn’t stay clean.
I ended up in prison in 2010 to serve an 18-month sentence. But what Satan tried to use to harm me, God used to heal me. I studied every self-help, recovery and psychology book I could find in prison. But God spoke to me in my cell and said, “The only thing that will change the old mindset is the Word of God. Memorize a scripture a day”.
So, for two hours every day I studied and memorized scripture. This became my tool to freedom. As I began to heal in prison, I found many others had been through these same experiences and faced the same issues. The Lord nudged me in Luke 4:18 to help “set the captives free”.
While in prison, I started a class for my fellow inmates where I’d help them grow in their faith. We’d talk about the things that happened to them. And I could understand, because I had been there. The Lord gave me a prayer sheet for the ladies and I even sent it to other prisons. It still goes into prisons around the world today.
I have now forgiven those who kidnapped, choked, beat, raped and even shot at me. Today, I am free of drugs and alcohol, and I help others through Life Changers Legacy, Chebar Ministries, which I founded in 2012. I am an advocate for people who are incarcerated. I go back to the prisons today, not as an inmate, but as someone who wants to bring freedom to those still suffering. Our ministry’s goal is to help the whole person, mind, body, spirit, and soul to live a Christ-centered life that builds confidence and dependence in God, so they become a pillar to the community, giving back and living their life of purpose on purpose and for a purpose.