Sally and Lori’s Graduation

At any given time, we house up to 40 women and 25 children in our Shepherd’s Door location. Part of our New Life Ministries, Shepherd’s Door provides a safe place for women to recover from addictions, develop life skills and restore healthy relationships. It’s always a moment of great celebration when participants graduate from the 12 month residential treatment program, for them, for their families, and for the community they’ve found along the way.

We recently celebrated the graduation of Sally and Lori, two Shepherd’s Door residents. They spent some time, both before the graduation and during their certificate acceptance speech, reflecting on the circumstances that brought them here and on the change they’ve experienced.

In May of 2015, Sally lost her 18-year-old son in the space of a night, to an unexpected illness. “I was just in a state of shock,” she remembered, “The pain of that knocked my feet out from under me.” Soon she was moving from motel room to motel room, when she could afford it, too ashamed to tell anyone at her church she was homeless. At a potluck dinner, when she finally opened up, someone pointed her to Shepherd’s Door. The transition wasn’t easy. “I’ve done some really intense work,” Sally said. “There were a few evenings where I really wanted to just run from the hills… [But] I felt it was really important to finish.” 478 days later, “My feet are back under me,” she said, “and I’m ready for whatever the Lord has for me next.”

“I tried life on my terms,” Lori said, “and I ended up in addiction and lonely, at the end.” “I didn’t want to be a grandmother hooked on drugs,” she recalled, thinking about her days in addiction. “I finally asked my mom to pick me up and…before we got to the end of the block I blurted it out, ‘Mom I have a drug addiction, I need help.’” They started looking for places for Lori to stay, and her brother-in-law recommended Shepherd’s Door. 480 days later, Lori received her graduation certificate. On the hardest lesson she had to learn, Lori said, “I like to be in control of things, I want to be in control of my own life. So giving control to God and taking it back, obviously, is not working. I’ve learned now, I’ve got to give it all to him… He does answer prayer, He cares, He loves you, He will take care of me.”

Women come to Shepherd’s Door for many reasons, with different backgrounds, pains and needs. But they all come here for one reason, to find freedom, hope and healing. Thank you for playing such an important role in the restoration of lives like theirs.

Watch the video below to hear more of their stories: