Shepherd’s Door Graduation: Colleen, Julie, Jenn & Izzy

As part of our New Life Ministries, Shepherd’s Door provides a safe space for up to 40 women, and 25 children, while they pursue recovery from addictions, develop life skills and restore healthy relationships. After the women complete the 12-month residential treatment program, we gather together as a community to celebrate their accomplishment.

Last month, we celebrated the graduation of four residents from Shepherd’s Door. Each graduate, before receiving their certificate, spent a few moments reflecting on the circumstances that brought them here and on the change they’ve experienced during their stay.

Change is a journey, and each walk of life begins differently. For Colleen, her struggles with addiction and codependency led her out of a loving home and into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. “Being with this man,” Colleen recalled, “I experienced homelessness, loneliness and depression… I remember getting on my knees one day asking God to protect me and give me a sign, or someone to take me away from this situation.” A few months later, she came to Shepherd’s Door.

Julie’s addictions left her unable to pursue her passions in music. Jenn found herself “pregnant and in prison.” Izzy spent years struggling with “insecurities, personal short comings, and behavioral patterns.” The journeys might have been different for each of these women, but their paths led them all to Shepherd’s Door.

Now, Colleen is over 15 months clean and sober. “I want to be a counselor and mentor for women who struggle with abuse and broken relationships,” she said, “I’m excited about the next chapter of my life and thank everyone who has been a part of this journey I continue to stay on.” Julie struggled with the program, but ultimately, she found peace as she recalled, “I remember being promised a new song to be put in my heart by Jesus but I had to completely surrender…Now I can trust faith and continue on with my life and live it through Jesus.” Jenn remembered her first days here, saying “I have to say that within the first couple of days that I was here I knew that this was right where I needed to be. I could feel the warmth and the peace coming from within the building. God had done a mighty work in me ever since I’d been here.”

Izzy ended her reflection with gratitude, saying, “Thank you to all the millions of unknown people who pray for strangers like me. Thank you to all the thousands of public and private volunteers for the rescue mission. Thank you to all the wonderful people who give by sharing their personal time and thank you to the many financial donors who helped contribute making it possible for me and my children to stay as guests at Shepherd’s Door.”