Most of the people finishing the UGM LIFE Recovery Program this month experienced trauma as young children: Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment. Homelessness.
Those experiences left emotional wounds that were covered up and left to fester. The children became adults and sometimes looked fine for years, but the wounds were still there.
Left alone, that pain grew until it couldn’t be ignored and they’d do anything to make it go away.
That’s why people who have gone through multiple traumas as children are 7-10 times more at risk for alcohol and drug abuse, with all its destructive consequences.
The following stories are hard to hear – even harder for them to tell – but only by listening to the stories can we begin to understand how those wounds can be healed.
While most of us have not experienced the severe trauma many UGM residents have, we do carry scars from experiences and words that hurt us, and if we’re not intentional about diving into the truth of who God says we are, those old wounds can become labels that limit and define us.
For people who come from broken or dysfunctional families, plugging into a local church provides the healthy “family” they need to continue to thrive. Church involvement is one of the most important keys to ongoing recovery after moving out of UGM.
Jolene is beautiful. Her cheerful countenance overflows with love, especially for her two children.
Two years ago, she was sleeping in abandoned buildings and couch-surfing at drug houses. No home. No contact with her kids. No hope.
The Jolene we know today is a miraculous work of God.
Chapel providers Margene and Jerome Nobles have embraced the opportunity to heal broken hearts by sharing the Gospel of Jesus.
Thousands of individuals, churches and businesses came together to be part of God’s miracles of provision and transformation, big and small, in 2017. Here are just a few of the highlights – including a few bonus items we didn’t have room for in the print edition!
2017 was a year of strengthening and solidifying ministry work throughout UGM. Who is God going to send our way this year?
Over the past several years, Union Gospel Mission has seen an increase in the number of young moms with children coming to our shelters.
“Helping young moms in crisis is vastly different than helping single women,” said JoAnn Zajicek, Director at the UGM Center for Women & Children. “You have the abuse, the addiction, the unhealthy coping mechanisms, but you also have women trying to be good mothers when they haven’t been parented well themselves. Sometimes you have children raising children. They desperately want family and, consequently, are often drawn into unhealthy relationships. We have to teach them how to stay present in discomfort, how to do the difficult work of being a single parent without numbing or running away.”
Barely 18 when she came to the Center, Martha is an example of the new face of homelessness.
Growing up without a father, Martha started partying at 13. “It was just my mom raising me and that’s just not the way that God designed it so when we step out of God’s design, then the enemy has so much room to move and destroy and kill and steal. So there were a lot of things stolen from me definitely.
Mom paid close attention to our hearts. She modeled love and forgiveness. I know I would not be who I am today without the loving influence of my mother.