Hi, I’m Ashley, former Agape parent. When I first brought my daughter to Agape House, I was nervous just like any parent. Mostly, I had hope. Hope that some how miracles would happen to help to make her life better; to help our family. I had no clue how that was going to happen, but one could hope. I thought Agape House would work miracles for my daughter, but little did I know that by the summer my life would change drastically. I never thought someone like me with a past like mine would experience such a miracle, but I have.
You see like most people, life hasn’t been a walk in the park for me – we all have our trials. Mine had got the best of me. As a child I was called fat, ugly and other names that hurt too much to even talk about. I experienced emotional abuse; being told how worthless l was.
My parents divorced my freshman year of high school. Dad moved to Kenosha. We stayed with my mother. I failed my freshman year of school due to the stress, depression, anxiety and the average 14-year-old problems.
Through those dark times in my life, I had completely forgotten about God. He wasn’t there. How dare He put me through all of this. The God that I was taught about would never have let this happen. I fell into a deep depression, I wanted to die. I was hospitalized and put on suicide watch. I had changed, I was dark in appearance and had no personality. I was unrecognizable to most, but mostly to myself. I was a person that not even I would want to know. Eventually, I went to therapy and was put on anti-depressants to get through this dark time in my life.
Through high school, the anxiety and depression continued. I had no hope and no relationship to God. I tried to pray. I tried to bring God back into my life. I felt that since I had pretty much cut Him out of life, I was not worthy of His love. For this reason. He would never come back. I eventually concluded that God was not for me. I felt I had severed a relationship that I wished to have. I didn’t deserve His love. Why would a girl who was awful enough to be hit and beaten, called fat, ugly and stupid? Why would that girl be loved by God? God had given up on me and I had given up on God. For years, I fought the battle within me. I could not find it within me to repair my relationship with God.
In 2017 my life changed. Agape House came into my family’s life. I have changed for the better. My relationship with God is now strong. I have started to iron out the trauma from my past. It will always be there, but I can look at myself in the now and smile. I have to say that after years of hating myself, my reflection is that of someone that I love and deserves my love.
I have now found the love of Jesus Christ, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that even though I have experienced some hard times in my life, I am not a child anymore. That even that child, would deserve to be loved by God. Everyone is worthy of God’s love. I may be broken but I am beautifully broken, God’s grace and glory is mine to experience. Even through the hard times, it may not have been apparent to me, He was there. He carried me in his loving arms. He took care of my family. Without the shelter of God’s love, I may not have survived.
Without God’s love, grace and mercy, I would not be the person that I am today. My depression has lessened. My relationship with family and friends has improved. For the first time in 20 years, I can say that I am at peace. Life is good. There are still challenges, and definite hard times; however, I know that God will get me through anything that comes my way.
Without Agape House I would not have re-connected with God. Agape House truly did work a miracle, the miracle of bringing God back into my life and for that I will be forever grateful.