Hello my name is Elizabeth (Beth). I was adopted as an infant into a Christian home. I am the middle child of 3 girls. My older sister is mentally handicapped. My younger sister and I are adopted. I grew up in church and around church people. My earliest memory is actually when I got saved at 4 years old following my Auntie Share-bear in the salvation prayer while helping her fix my baby cousin Seth a bottle in her kitchen. Jesus was normal to me. Going to church was normal to me. Having Christian friends was normal to me. Life was good. I remember as a little girl having long talks with Jesus……. He was always right there with me. Suddenly, things started to take an unexpected turn. My Mom started sleeping long hours until she could no longer stand to get out of bed. I took on the responsibility of caring for my older disabled sister. My life as a child was now gone. One afternoon while I was in the 4th grade I came home to an empty house and a note from my mother. We later found out she had attempted suicide twice but by the grace of God was unsuccessful. She was immediately taken to a mental health hospital where she received care for her depression and simultaneously found Jesus Christ. Once released my mother was trying so hard to figure out her Christian walk she at times went religiously overboard , and to me, that brought confusion. The “new God” I was being introduced to had way too many rules that I already knew I couldn’t keep. The harder my parents pushed religion, the harder I pushed back rebellion. By the time I was 13 I had become so angry at God. I felt my mother was to blame for abandoning our family and rejecting her daughters. I was completely out of control. My parents decided I needed help they didn’t know how to give. So, I was sent to Hallsville Texas from Chicago where I stayed 22 months in a Christian boarding school. At one point I can remember God’s peace and power resting on me, but just as fast as I’d surrendered, the enemy came with deception. I allowed myself to be led astray.
By the time I returned home at 15 I had gotten drunk for the first time and lost my virginity that same night to an adult man. Instead of seeking my approval from God I had turned to men which opened a door to demonic influence that would take many years for me to realize and close. I had a canyon sized God hole in my heart that I desperately wanted to fill. Instead of turning to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, I began to manufacture substitute saviors, both veiling my heart and scaling my eyes. At 16 I overdosed on heroine and was actually pronounced dead. The medic said that after 4 minutes of lifelessness I just sat up. I had received a breath from God. Following my overdose by 2 weeks was the death of my dearly beloved grandfather. That was it. I was completely done with God. I didn’t trust Him. I didn’t believe He could help me; and even if He could, I didn’t think He would, not after all I’d done. I was arrested 3 months later due to charges my parents pressed against me for stealing their car.
It was a last attempt and desperate effort to save their daughter from the destructive road I was running down. I was released twice on house arrest. Both times I violated the house arrest conditions. The second time I ran away before they could place me back behind bars. I stole a vehicle belonging to my friend’s father. While my friend slept hungover and unaware in the passenger seat, I made the decision for both of us that we were going to Miami. Once in Miami my friend called his Dad scared and desperate to go home, while I stayed to party. I was there less then 3 days before I was betrayed, kidnapped and thrown in the trunk of a pimps Cadillac. I was then transported to an underground brothel. Since I was a minor, that meant more money for him. For the next month plus I was frequently visited by the most perverted men you can imagine. Doing the things you pray will never happen to your kids and worse. I began to plead with God to not let me die in these conditions. I begged for His help. Shortly afterwards I was provided a way of escape, which I immediately took and ran for my life. Once I arrived at safety I realized I was 16, alone and on the streets of Miami. I couldn’t go back. I had warrants, plus the guilt and shame from what had been done to me was overwhelming. I stood ashamed, broken and humiliated. I grabbed the first fig leaves I knew how to sow…. a syringe full of heroine. Over the next 2 years I was beaten, raped, thrown out of cars, almost killed by a demon possessed man, was robbed and did the robbing, was homeless, arrested, re-arrested and arrested some more. Every time I was behind bars I would beg God out of worldly grief to relinquish me back to hell. Every time, no matter the charge, I was miraculously freed and allowed to run rampant with demons, and further and further from everything and everyone I knew to be true. After a near death experience God sent a messenger in a response to my prayer begging for intervention. He said, “this is your second chance go home.” He then proceeded to hand me $800. Once off the bus in Chicago the addict in me overrode my good intentions and I spent the remainder of that money attempting to get high, but nothing worked. The Holy Spirit encouraged me to throw my syringes away. As I acting in obedience, I was immediately set free from the physical addiction of heroine. God had displayed His power in my circumstances yet again and had shown me a glimpse of what He could do with a fully surrendered life marked by obedience. However, I still chose the instant gratification of idols masquerading as men, money, my career, marriage, keeping up with the Jones’, and children. I walked right out of God’s perfect will into His permissive will where I was met head on by hardship. Over the next 10 years of my life I was on an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster. The only thing consistent was chaos. I was married and divorced three times, lost 2 children to miscarriage and one to divorce, lost a home to a fire, went back to school & started a career, started and lost a business and failed at every relationship I threw myself into. Everything I attempted to do in my own strength eventually failed.
One evening while sifting through the ashes of my failed business and attempting to rebuild my life once again God spoke loud and clear to me while taking a shower. He said, “Elizabeth, I’m taking you to Texas. Everything I have for you is in Texas.” I knew God must have had the wrong number because I hated Texas! (2 hot & 2 slow) Plus, I was in love with my live-in boyfriend, Craig. I called my Mother who advised me to continue seeking the Lord through prayer, but I dismissed the prophetic word classifying it under my own insanity until I opened up my email account to a job offer in Dallas, Texas. Wait, it gets better. My boyfriend returned home from the gym and broke up with me. A few weeks later I was in Texas. I would love to say that I immediately got on board with the call of God on my life, but that’s just not the case. I purposefully chose to rent a home in Flower Mound so that I could attend and serve at the Village Church, but in complete transparency I only attended twice. I had a great job, nice house, 2 cars, and was still empty. The God canyon still existed and screamed to be filled, but due to the fact I was discontent and couldn’t stand to be left alone with myself I began filling again with substitute saviors and empty promises. I pushed and manipulated my situations and family until they fit my circumstances. I cared about me, myself, and I, unmoved at the effects or damage my actions had on others. After suffering a legitimate injury on the job and being prescribed pain medication I made the choice to abuse them to numb my emotional pain. With-in a short time span I lost everything and eventually found myself strung-out and homeless on the streets of south Dallas. Over the next 7 years I was in and out of jail, lost all my teeth, was almost killed many times and was statistically beyond help. I had fallen too far and was not considered worth the risk, But God!!!!! During one of my incarcerations my Dad sent me the book Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler. For the first time in my life the ugly dark places of my heart became exposed. I had to acknowledge my complete depravity before God. This was the beginning of my redemptive walk into repentance. During the same jail stent, I met an angel who told me about Restored Hope Ministries. Although it was 2 years and many miracles later I eventually landed at RHM by the sovereign direction given by God. He has shown me that in the middle of my mess he saw me. My life of continual redemption stories was all linked together by His thread of grace continually weaving me back to Himself. He was never threatened by my idolatry. It sure didn’t stop his reckless love or relentless pursuit of my heart. Long after I had chosen multiple substitute saviors, He remained fiercely faithful. Even to the point of breaking all the rules and risking it all at the off chance I might acknowledge and remember his love long enough for me to come to my senses and return home to rest in the shadow of His wing. He didn’t force my hand but with full force he left the 99 to come after me.
I’m so grateful that he did. Restored Hope Ministries has helped me grow and walk closer to the Lord then I ever knew was possible. Over the last year I’ve been writing a book telling my story. My only hope is that it would help draw others into His amazing grace. God’s hand and anointing are resting firmly on RHM. I can’t wait to see what God continues to do as heaven comes to earth here in this ministry and lives get radically changed by the simple power of the gospel. Pastors Sam and Sherry have been called by God to push back the darkness most people try and sweep under a rug. They need all the help and support possible. This is good ground. We are all called to do something! Thanks to all the staff (Robin, Alicia, Stacie and Mama Shirley) for pouring into me. I am blessed and better because of it! A special thanks to my counselor Amy Westly who saw and supported the vision and call God placed in my heart and believed in me long before I truly believed in myself. I pray God blesses all of you back 100-fold, enlarges the place of your tent and continues equipping you moving forward and taking new kingdom territory. Thanks to all the volunteers and donors. This is a life radically changed due to your seed. I’m on board with RHM for life. Thanks, and God bless.