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Hi, my name is Lynn and I am a resident at The Sheepfold. John asked me to give my testimony, and at first I was a little nervous about it because I had never really given my past much thought, where I came from and how I got to be where I am at in life today.
My mother had a huge impact on me and my life when I was young. Every day my mom would get beat up by my dad, with my brother and I right there watching. He was supposed to be the one who loved and cared for us. One day she decided she had enough and packed my brother and me up and left. I was really proud of her for doing that. About a year later she met someone else who I came to find out was a heroin addict and got my mom to use too. It went on for so long that eventually her body started to deteriorate and she was hospitalized due to an overdose. Her legs were so infected from using that they almost had to be amputated. She also began prostituting herself in some of the worst areas of LA, sometimes not coming home for days and I would wonder if she was going to come home at all.
Soon after my mom was arrested and put in jail, and at 12 years old I began using drugs as well. While my mom was in jail I lived with my Grandma who was gone quite often so I had no real role model or anyone to take care of me. I felt I had to take care of myself and the only way I knew how was by what I had been shown by my mom.
I hung out with gangs, stole cars, and did just about every drug in the book and sold them as well. My Grandma was evicted from her apartment due to my brother and me having too many parties so at 17 years old I started living on the streets going from one bad house to another, never finishing high school or working at all. The drug use got to be so bad that I would get so high I didn't even know who I was or what I was doing anymore.
Around this time is when I met the guy who is now my baby's father. I moved in with him and he seemed to be a really nice guy at first, but that all changed. It turned out that he was extremely controlling, I couldn't go anywhere, and when I tried he would cut himself or hit himself in the head. I couldn't even go to the rest room by myself. I wasn't allowed to see my family or friends and was told that if I left him he would kill me and my family, and himself. I believed him. Eventually we found out that he had schizophrenia that explained quite a bit, but didn't excuse any of his behavior. He was always afraid that someone was hurting me and would hallucinate and hear voices.
I was so beaten down by all the abuse and everything he had put me through, and I had gained so much weight because I was depressed I felt like there was no way anyone else would want me.
Three years later I had my daughter, I had stopped using drugs when I found out I was 3 months pregnant, I wanted her to have a good life, not like the one I had. I wanted to be a good mother and to love her and take care of her like I should. Dealing with my boyfriend's schizophrenia and trying to take care of a new baby at the same time started to get to be too much for me to handle and I wanted to leave. I remember being at a bus station one day with my daughter, we had been there for hours and my daughter was cranky and tired and so was I. All of a sudden a man wearing all white walked by, looked me in the eye and told me "It's gonna be alright, God's going to take care of you." and then walked out the door.
A short time later, my boyfriend and I were in a hotel room when we got into what would be our last fight. We were fighting and arguing when he threatened to kill me and my daughter. Then he went outside because he needed a cigarette, and while he was outside I called to the front desk of the hotel and asked them to call the police because I believed my boyfriend was going to try to kill us. The police came and took him away, and told me that if I stayed with him they would take my baby away. So it was then that I finally decided that I would leave him for good. And that night was the last time I saw him still to this day.
About a month later I found the Sheepfold, and my life has been changed forever. I have learned what it means to raise my daughter like the Bible says, "the way she should go." I've learned how to have a relationship with God, and how to become independent and successful on my own. Since I have been at the Sheepfold I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. I now have a valid California driver's license. A car was donated to the Sheepfold and given to me. I have a full time job as a care giver to the elderly, my daughter is healthy and happy and I have saved money for my own apartment. Life for me is going really well. And, now my mom has seen how well I am doing and is beginning a drug rehab program to get her life back together. I am praying that I can be a Godly example to her and that Jesus would reveal Himself to her.
Without the Sheepfold and their supporters I would have gone back to my old ways and would be lost. Your help, love, and sharing Jesus with me is everything to me.