Kimmi Halbrook liked to play, “Let’s Make a Deal” with God: Get me out of this scrape, and I promise to get my act together. But at 39 – home gone, marriage broken, children taken by Child Protective Services, and legal charges staring her in the face – Kimmi wasn’t making any deals. Her prayer from the couch of the drug house where she lived was desperate.
“I was so broken; I had nothing to offer. I just said, ‘I need your help to get through this.””
The most pressing question for Kimmi at that moment was, Where can I go? She needed a safe place to stay away from drugs and alcohol, away from that culture and everyone in it…which was basically everyone she knew.
Kimmi remembered seeing a sign on an old, rather rundown motel on East Sprague, “Hope starts here.”
“I got up, took my coat and my purse and went to the Crisis Shelter. I didn’t look back.”
At that moment, Kimmi was most concerned about where she was going to sleep, what she was going to eat, and how to get out of the wretched hole she was in - her physical needs. And she found exactly what she was hoping for – food, a bed, clothes (she had only what she was wearing), and all the basic necessities in a clean-and-sober, safe place.
For the moment, that’s all she wanted.
"I had no idea how to live life on life's terms."
As time passed, Kimmi’s mind cleared of substances. She went to classes where Rich Schaus (director of the Crisis Shelter at the time) shared how it was possible to dream again, how the past didn’t have to define the future. She met staff and volunteers who seemed genuinely to care about her, and most importantly, she went to chapel where she encountered God.
Kimmi began to see she needed more than tangible help. She had no idea “how to live life on life’s terms.” She needed to deal with her unwanted emotions and come to terms with the God she used to wager with. She heard about Women's Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall and decided to pursue it.
Kimmi left home at 15 and spent 24 years using and selling drugs. She really didn’t know how to do life any other way.
“I went to Ogden with two goals: to develop my relationship with God and to learn tools because my tools were getting high.”
After 17 months in the Women’s LIFE Recovery program, Kimmi gained a whole belt full of tools: 1) letting go of past regret and guilt, realizing Christ already paid the price for that; 2) boundaries – knowing where her responsibilities begin and end; 3) recognizing anger and asking, what am I really mad about? 4) parenting with love and logic; 5) sharing her true feelings; 6) surrounding herself with healthy, supportive people; and 7) knowing at all times – no matter what – she is loved by the Creator of the universe.
“I am that new creature the Bible talks about.”
Today, five years after graduating from recovery, Kimmi has been clean and sober for 7 years and stays active in her recovery. She has a restored family, having been reunited with her daughters, Elisabeth and Vicktoria, a few years ago. She and her husband will celebrate their three-year anniversary this month. And she has the opportunity to speak into women's lives from her own personal experience as a staff member at the Crisis Shelter.
God-dependent, contributing member of society
"I get to share hope. I was that person that checked in and didn’t have any and now I can encourage others, and let them know, 'You know what, I was you and there’s hope. You can change. You don’t have to be who you were.'"
"I'm the burning bush for my kids."
While Kimmi’s life has radically changed since she first walked up to the Crisis Shelter back in 2009, she says it’s very important for her to communicate that she’s not perfect. “I’m still getting to know God and Christ and I still have the desire to grow.”
Still, the changes in her life have dramatically affected those around her, particularly her children. They see Jesus reflected in her. “I’m the burning bush for my kids," Kimmi said. "I’m the miracle that ignited their faith. They believe because they see the change in me.
“Now there’s no more just Kimmi. Everything I do, God’s involved in it. I’ve built an awesome relationship with Him, and He’s there for me. Before, I was doing it all on my own, and that didn’t get me very far.”
- Barbara Comito, UGM Director of Marketing & Communications
Editor's Note: This post was first published a couple years ago as part 4 in a series on "Helping the Homeless." Part 1 explained the magnitude and complexity of the problem. Part 2 was a story about one homeless couple and their struggle to get off the streets. Part 3 offered a surprising piece of advice: "Forget about the problem." Part 4 introduces UGM's whole-person approach to helping people address the issues that brought them through our doors. This post has been revamped and updated for accuracy.
For Kimmi, it all started with a safe place to stay away from the drug culture. Provide 3 meals and a night's shelter for women and children in crisis for just $12.94.