“I am the third oldest of seven children. About 10 years ago, the state of Michigan required my three youngest siblings to go with their father and for me and my other three siblings to be placed into foster care. My mother decided to move to Kentucky so that she could keep us.”
Angela told her story with so much grace and humility in front of 200 attendees at this year’s Ingham County banquet. Now 23-years-old, she has lived most of her life with no stability. Growing up with domestic violence in the home, Angela remembers her grandmother’s verbal abuse, along with the boyfriends her mother brought into the home who physically, mentally, and verbally abused her, her mother, and her siblings.
She describes herself as a troubled child, one who was kicked out of every school she attended, due to misbehavior. While in Kentucky, her mother took her from home to home to live for free from month to month. Instability, and abuse, is what Angela knew from a young age.
Angela and her sister were placed into foster care together in 2014. The two found out that they were each pregnant, 3 days apart; Angela at the age of 16 and her older sister at the age of 17. At this time her sister left the group home, but Angela stayed for a year, along with her newborn son. She says, “By the grace of God I was able to go to high school and graduate a year early.”
At the age of 18, Angela aged out of foster care. She recalled, “The weight of parenting at a young age became too much to bear. I put my son up for adoption because I wanted him to have a better life.”
At this time Angela decided to move back to Michigan because this is where her family resides. It was at this time that she was introduced to crack cocaine and soon after she started shooting up methamphetamines. “For five years, I stayed in the shadows, homeless on the streets of Lansing, living in the woods or abandoned buildings. I broke the law and was arrested a few times but never fulfilled my legal obligations.”
In September of 2022, Angela got arrested for outstanding warrants and then found herself housed at Ingham County Jail. “I was bored so I signed up for the services the RTF provided. I was just happy to get out of my dorm,” she stated.
Angela was given a Bible, and being that this was her own reading material, she started flipping through the pages. She said, “The verse that got me was Psalm 146:7-8, specifically where it states, ‘he sets the prisoners free… he lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads.’ I wanted that freedom. So, I became a regular attendee of RTF programming.”
Angela’s life started to transform as she spent day after day in the Word, and in prayer. God started to speak to her through the RTF staff and volunteers that she encountered. She finished by saying, “I no longer enjoyed telling my war stories or glorifying my crimes. I turned my life over to God. I no longer felt hopeless or wished to die. God has given me the ability to love and forgive myself and I am now aware of the promise that God will not let my sufferings go to waste.”
Today, Angela is 9 months sober. She currently resides in a transitional home and continues to work a recovery program. She has a sponsor (shown below) who is able to walk with her as she continues to learn what a life of sobriety, and stability, looks like. “My hope for the future is to be able to inspire more people to follow God and help people overcome desperation.”
At the end of the event in Ingham County, Angela received a standing ovation. 200 people stood and applauded her openness about her journey, her decision to seek a life of transformation, and to join in celebration with a God whose light penetrates darkness.
Angela’s story matters. She shared the picture of her with her mother (shown below) and confessed, “This signifies the freedom of forgiveness that Jesus allowed.” We continue to pray for guidance for her future, and a community who will continue to walk with her.