A Principled and Righteous Life: What The Well Has Done For Me
As we reflect on 2014 there are many sweet stories of redemption and transformation. God has literally taken broken lives and restored them in the most amazing ways. BJM has the privilege of being part of these stories, and one of the most miraculous this year is Lisa’s story.
Lisa is one of the cornerstone women of The Well. Since the doors first opened in 2013, she has been a regular participant in bible study, Community Group, art and one-on-one times. This fall she asked to be baptized. This is her story written in her own words.
As a child I had a relationship with God. Because my parents didn’t parent me I thought God was my parent. I prayed to him every night.
I left home at 13 as soon as I could. I fell into child prostitution. I was used by people without being aware of what was really going on.
I thought I was an adult. And, for many years thereafter I lost my closeness with God.
I found God again after a near-death experience in a coma. I saw my life flash before me and was at death’s door. My brother had approved them to remove me from life support.
In the panorama, like a movie of my life showing everything that had happened, I could see very well that every bad thing had led to a good thing. I could see there was a God who had a plan for us. He was in control. At that time, my faith was renewed.
That was 15 years ago. During those years I lost my faith again as I became driven by drug addiction and prostitution. My body began to decline and my kidneys failed. Eventually, I was put on dialysis.
The suffering I experienced from all this brought me back to my faith. The kidney failure was a blessing in disguise because it got me to finally stop using drugs. Mother Teresa says this is Jesus in a most distressing disguise.
I lived in the Tenderloin on Ellis Street and discovered, next door to my building was The Well. I began to go to bible study and enjoyed Nail Day. The BJM staff introduced me to Teresa Lee, of Future Glory, a San Francisco business that contributes profits to help victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence. I was able to work for Future Glory. This was another important step for me because, through this work, I not only found employment, I became part of a larger effort to support women victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence – issues important to me.
Since 1991 I had been going on and off to Walden House, a residential recovery and treatment program in San Francisco. The Well and Walden House provided me with a family – and a support system. I was able to practice a principled and righteous life with the help of these people and the community I found there. For me, this was one day at a time.
Trusting God and these people culminated in my decision to be baptized. I wanted to share with everyone my newfound life.
The process of being baptized was beautiful. Being able to tell my story to a group of believers like myself brought light to me. I choose to live in that light. It was important to me to take a vow that I am ready to go forward and be hopeful about my life.
I am now on the kidney transplant list. I am fortunate to experience church at Reality San Francisco. I’ve begun to invite people to church and have succeeded in bringing a few friends from Walden House to experience my church with me.