I’ve been waiting to share this story with you. It has been the very best victory we’ve experienced in the last 12+ months. Nothing could stop this woman from accomplishing her goals at Naomi’s House, not even a pandemic.
When I first met April*, she was intense and boisterous. When she was first settling into NH, she made her presence known. She was intimidating, difficult, stubborn. Her appearance was rough and edgy. Her language was course and inappropriate. She wanted you to know that it wasn’t going to be easy to get to know the “real” April and that she would be the one controlling her programming.
Her story and background are too much for anyone to experience. April’s abuse started young and her trafficking took place at the hands of her family. The details of her trafficking would send anyone to their knees in prayer asking for God’s mercy. But let me be clear: what was done to her, the evil she had to endure, the trauma she experienced, none of those define this woman.
It took several years for April to find the courage to seek help. As an adult, she learned to cope and live on her own, but her trauma kept her locked in a state that prohibited her from thriving. Through the encouragement of several close friends, she heard about NH and finally made the decision to apply for our program. She was managing her pain through substances and isolation. The young woman who God intended her to be was trapped and slowly losing herself to her past.
Her time at NH was so meaningful that we witnessed significant transformation right out of the gate. We were able to provide her medical and dental resources that brightened her smile! She connected remarkably well with her therapists and leaned into the healing techniques that led to breakthrough after breakthrough. She crushed it at work, saving enough money to qualify for NH4, our Independent Living Program. And best of all, she reconnected with God and her relationship with Jesus. A love for the Scriptures and godly wisdom were strengths she rediscovered within herself at NH. She experienced God’s grace in a new and unconditional way. When other women in our community struggled or doubted or experienced loss, April could be counted on as a source of encouragement. She frequently reminded all of us in the NH community that Jesus is worthy of our deepest trust.
When we recently celebrated her graduation, she packed a lawn full of her friends, new and old. The parts of her that we first saw when she moved in to NH had been replaced with laughter, joy, smiles, and beautiful memories of her time with us over her 15 months. She was quick to point out that not only did she successfully complete our program, but she did it during a pandemic! She had so many insightful things to say in her graduation speech (the first graduation of anything in her life, btw!) but these quotes are my favorite:
I had the desire to heal more than the fear of losing myself … I learned how to process myself and ask why I do what I do. [Naomi’s House] was the safe place I learned be the leader I was intended to be.
April is the tenth graduate of Naomi’s House. I’m stunned at what God continues to do in the lives of the women we serve. He does not grow tired of changing lives and giving us hope. WE grow tired, but He does not. And thanks to women like April and her incredible courage and strength, anyone who is part of her life knows and loves God more because of what He has done for her. When women heal, we all heal.