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A Past of Drugs and Abuse Won't Determine Woman's Future

Ever since she can remember, Kendra longed for the warmth of real love. But growing up, cycles of poverty and abuse made her tender heart grow cold.

“My father was very abusive to my mother he suffered with crack addiction and my mother was also an alcoholic. So, there was a lot of fighting arguing…Watching my mother being slapped, being choked. That was mentally draining for me. So, I felt that I was failed as a little girl because, that was my first experience of knowing how a man was supposed to treat a woman.”

At 14 years old, Kendra thought a baby would bring her the love she lacked.

“I wanted that love and I felt like the only way I was going to be able to get that is if I had something of my own. So that is when I started going around, giving my body to different guys. I got pregnant at 15 years old and then I had my child and then I realized that there was still this void missing.”

So, for the next 3 years she sought to fill the void- - the only way she knew how.

“I found myself in relationship with guys that I saw just like my father… abusive, that wanted to get high. And I honestly just didn’t value myself. All I knew was just go out have fun live life and just go get what you’re looking for.”

Around 18, Kendra met Ken. They had both dropped out of high school and over the years the couple had three children together.  But Kendra says those years were tumultuous. They were daily getting high off cocaine and Ken was increasingly violent and physically abusive toward Kendra.

“Somebody who didn’t know how to treat a man and then somebody who didn’t know how to treat a woman; you get together and you have a big mess. We were two broken people and we made a broken situation.”

For Kendra, life became unbearable.  “I remember I felt so hopeless and the only way of escape was suicide. I remember hearing things like okay, You should just go ahead and take your life. This is all you have to hope for. And I remember just taking knives and cutting my wrists and I just felt like it was a sense of relief. But once I was done cutting I was still in this reality and I felt like nothing was going to get any better. I knew that there was a God, there was somebody out there that did answer prayers. So, I knew of him, but I didn’t know him. I didn’t have a close relationship with Jesus.

At 23, Kendra was alerted to the fact that Ken was also physically abusing their children.

“And I felt like I failed as a mom, because I knew that my children were being abused and I felt like there was nothing I can do because I felt so weak at the moment. I felt like I wasn’t a good mom because I just had these babies. Because I felt like I was just trying to fill a void and I wasn’t giving them what they were needing. The same thing I was looking for…I wasn’t giving to my children. And I remember going to get high that night, just trying to fill the void of pain. I used cocaine from 9 a.m. all the way until like 6 o’clock that morning.

Kendra overdosed. Afraid of dying, she prayed for a second chance.  “And I felt, it’s like I felt my spirit was leaving my body and my knees begin to buckle and I remember falling down on the ground and I just called out to Jesus because I knew that was my only hope. And I called out Jesus! Three times I called his name.  I felt immediate strength in my body. I started to breathe again.  It was something that shifted inside of me. I began to feel a love that I never felt before. I felt that somebody has to love me to give me a second chance at life. In that moment, I realized that everything I had been searching for, every void that I had been trying to fill, was supposed to be filled through Jesus Christ.”

Kendra has been sober since that day. She began attending church regularly and reading the Bible. Through God’s love, she began to see her life transform.

“He saved me. He gave me a second chance at life, so I want to live for Him. The only thing I craved was to get to know Jesus because if he loved me enough to save my life and give myself another chance, I didn’t want anything else. I began to view myself as a woman of value. A woman of virtue. I began to view myself as who God said I was.”

Eventually, Ken’s heart changed too.

“But I remember beginning to pray for him. And God would wake me up at 3 o’clock in the morning and He would tell me Do you not think I can do the same thing for him that I did for you? And my prayers for him begin to change. There was a forgiveness that took place. I begin to pray that he would be delivered and set free.”

Ken surrendered his life to Jesus and their family began to heal and grow. Today, the couple is happily married. Kendra says she found the love she was looking for and so much more.

“We’re what it means to be reconciled. We’re what it means to be renewed and be redeemed. Now I know how to be a mother. We all go to church together and it’s just one big ball of happiness.”

“Your past does not determine your future. If you’re in a dark place God can give you light. If you’re broken, He can make you whole. He changed everything for me. He can redeem you. He can set you free and He can change your path.”

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