I was grateful to have a roof over our heads one that we could call our own, but it didn't feel like home. I love coming home now and I can tell my sons feel the same way. My bedroom is the best part. It's like a cozy little hide away. I am in love!
As I went through my second divorce, God told me to let it all go: house, cabin, boat, car, things, stuff, I gave it all to my husband. Soon after that, I filed bankruptcy on the home I'd given him. It's true the less you have, the less you have to worry about.
I lived within my means in a two bedroom apartment giving the bedrooms to my three children. I had a place on the sunporch. I followed my counsel to reestablish my credit, which took about three years.
I was arrested at the age of 17 due to inaction during a crime. My inability to deal with my own pain, let alone others’ pain, created a storm that ultimately lead me to spend over 21 years of my life in prison. I wasn’t ever an adult, yet, was treated, in the justice system, as one.
In March 2017, I was released and blessed with my own “space”. While I was extremely grateful for a roof, I felt isolated. I was use to steel and concrete but this was different. How can a plush environment feel cold?
In September 2016 I found myself struggling with depression and alcohol and an ungodly marriage. Everyday I wished for death and drank more and more to numb the pain. I tried to take my own life thinking there was no way to escape the pain of the depression. Fortunately, my attempt failed and I knew I had to turn back to God.
After spending my childhood and most of my adult life being trafficked, HOME felt more like a four letter word than a place I could ever enjoy. The Zion Project is an organization that helps people who have been victims of sexual violence restore their identity. They helped me find Jesus, they give me support, and they helped me to learn how to start to heal from over 26 years of trauma.
The past several weeks have been exciting on the so levels for our organization, but definitely stretching for me as an individual. From leading our first board retreat, to having our first Facebook Live interview, to filming this new mission video — it’s been equally exciting and nerve wracking!
I’m not naturally comfortable in front of a camera or large group of people, so I was praying A LOT for the right words, a restful heart, and kingdom impact. God showed up for me, as He always does, and helped me get outside of myself and share my passion for what He’s doing in and through Homes & Havens.
I grew up in church but never had a true relationship with God. I spent many years searching for anything to fill this void I had in my heart but everything left me feeling empty — nothing offered lasting satisfaction. At Renew I found exactly what would fill the void I had in my heart, something that would never disappoint me: a relationship with God. During my time at Renew I learned how to cultivate that relationship with God through reading His word, listening to His voice, and being surrounded with people who were doing the same things.
If you had been a fly on my wall during last couple of weeks, you would have heard a lot of “Can you believe this?! Did you see what God did? Did this really just happen?“
I feel like I arrive at the end of each day more amazed at the Lord’s provision and faithfulness than the day before. He is taking humble efforts and multiplying them into something I never dreamed would happen.
Crystal is a ray of sunshine with a generous smile. She has overcome so much hardship with a sturdy positivity, including a physical handicap after getting hit by a car at 16 years old and then raising a daughter at a young age. In an attempt to find a fresh start for her, her daughter, and grandson, she left their home in Florida and made it to Cleveland, TN, until their car broke down which left them homeless.