May at Portland Rescue Mission started out on a festive note with five women graduating from Shepherd’s Door: Taylor, Denise, Vivian, Kim and Jeanette. (Jeanette could not be at Jubilee). Joined by their mentors on stage and in front of a packed house on a warm Friday evening, all five shared stories of redemption, renewal and a brand new life centered on Jesus Christ. Read on to get a glimpse of what a few of the women had to say about their journeys over the last year. (See all of the photos from the event).
Taylor on her journey: When I came to Shepherd’s Door, I was 19, broken and lost everything I cared about. My family still cared about me, but due to the path I was on, they couldn’t really be around me.
I wasn’t walking with Christ when I came here, but now I’m completely in love with Jesus. And while there are so many things that have changed me, it was ultimately just God. … I had a very hard time with trust, but being vulnerable is what helps you build trust and so I dug in with my sisters and Roots Community and, well, I think Scripture can do a better job than I can explaining.
“The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” -Lamentations 3:19-33 (NLT).
Vivian on her journey: All the glory goes to God as this is another battle that he’s won. On April 4, 2014, when I came to Shepherd’s Door, I was so empty and broken. I came from a dark basement, and it was one I set in for a couple of years. But in the midst of that darkness, I prayed for God’s guidance and he brought me to Shepherd’s Door. I knew what he wanted, and I knew what it was going to take.
I wanted to get to know Him, and I wanted to get to know the depth of His love. I wanted to experience His forgiveness and His character. …
I had someone ask me one time if I was to plant my heart, what would it grow back as. And today, if I were to answer, it would grow back as health, love and forgiveness. He’s so rooted in my heart.
Kim on her journey: I was in an abusive family where there was a lot of drugs and violence. The police were there all the time. There was love there, but it was a very unhealthy love, and so I left at the age of 15. I started having children at 16, and in that process, while in my addiction trying to cover up the pain of my childhood … I lost my kids three different times. Then, I lost my mom on my youngest son’s first birthday … and I got really angry with God. … I blamed Him for all of it.
After losing my home and my kids, I lost everything. I lost myself and I became homeless. … I tried to commit suicide, but the Lord said, “No, I have plans for you. You’re not going anywhere.” …
The Lord has been working inside of me ever since, and He’s been telling me it wasn’t Him who took my mom. … I’m learning now that all the stuff I believed about myself in the past, and that I got from unhealthy relationships wasn’t truth. There was a lot of false beliefs in that, and much of those came from my childhood. But by reading the Bible, and having the Lord in my life, I’m learning the truth of who I am and what my worth is, and with the Holy Spirit, I can do anything.
Thank you to all of those who have contributed to the ministries of Portland Rescue Mission. Our goal is to give hope and restore life to men, women and children who are affected by homelessness and addiction. If so inclined, please consider giving a special gift today to help us continue to reach out and help women like Taylor, Denise, Vivian, Kim and Jeanette. We are eternally grateful.