January 28, 2016
Dear Partners of Wings of God Transition Home,
My name is Peaches Maize, and I am a current resident of Wings of God. I share my story with you to thank you for your partnership with this ministry. Your kindness and prayers and financial support are the biggest blessings in my life. Without this home and ministry, my life would have gone down the drain!
My old life seems like a bad dream. Two years ago I moved to Kalamazoo from Lawton to help my daughter’s father, who had sole custody of her. They were living at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and he needed help with her care. When he found an apartment, I moved in with them. Things went great for several months. We attended church regularly and stayed off drugs and alcohol. He was working and I stayed home with my daughter, who was 3 1/2.
But then my daughter’s father started accusing me of cheating on him and he became abusive. He had become so angry with me that I feared for my life. I had previously suffered four years of abuse at his hands. I believed, and knew, that I deserved better than continued abuse!!! I would have to move out, but as he had custody, that would mean leaving my daughter, my beautiful angel. I took all my things and left, my heart broken into little pieces. This was truly the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.
At that point I did not know what to do or where to go. I ended up living in my car and abandoned apartments. I had no money for gas so I was reduced to looking in dumpsters for scrap metal and pop bottles. My life continued like that for months. It’s hard out there living on the streets, fighting depression, tears and hopelessness. Some days I would go to Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo to hang out with my homeless friends. A couple of guys I knew from my school days would guard me while I slept and I did the same for them. I considered them my street family. But people would make fun of me and I got in a lot of fights. Everything I owned was stolen including my car, though eventually I got it back.
I started spending time with “friends” on drugs and alcohol. They used my car, but I just wanted friends. I needed drugs again just to function. It was horrible!!!! I was even staying in a drug house. One day I decided I was done with this – I was not a bottom feeder!!!
I applied at Wings of God Transition Home and was accepted. My new life began. My fear is gone. I have a chance to change my life. I have stability, a roof over my head, clothes, food, a good car and a nice warm bed. All these are things people take for granted until they have to go without them. My daughter is still with her father, back at the Gospel Mission, and I visit her regularly. I hope one day to regain custody of her.
I cried to God every day when I was homeless. I believe with all my heart God was with me even through homelessness and addiction. That belief helped me survive the horrors. He then led me to this home and a new life. If Wings of God were not here, I do not know where I would be!!! Thank you all so very much from the bottom of my heart for letting me have another chance at a real life.
Grateful for God’s and your blessings to me,
“Thanks to Wings of God and My Father in heaven, I’ve got my life back!
I was once so trapped in my addiction that I believed my children were better off without me. Today, I have the strength, hope and joy it takes to be the mother my children and step-children deserve and need. I no longer live at Wings of God, but I’ve carried with me many learned lessons and a wonderful network of people.
“Things aren’t always perfect, but I can now deal with life with confidence and courage. Without his ministry helping me learn who I am in Christ, I don’t even want to think of where I would be. I am now focused on being the best I can be in order to be the mother and wife I chose to be.” Gemma
My name is Jessica Hillman. I am 32 years old, a mother, recovering drug addict, felon and I am now aware that I am a child of our One True King! I came to Wings of God a year ago to break a terrible cycle of addiction that lead me away from my daughters, my family, myself and God. I was a single mother for the better part of thirteen years, a supervisor of a large bank, ran my own business and even owned my own home. I lived a life that many thought was a good life, however I built my life without a strong foundation to base it on, without God.
When a series of traumatic and life changing events occurred (my fiance left, I was beaten and raped in my own home and my best friend hung herself) I didn’t have the tools to handle them. I tried to seek help through a counselor who after three sessions looked at me and said “Ms. Hillman, for the first time in my thirty five year career I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how to comfort you or what help I can offer”. I was crushed. I felt completely broken and lost. Instead of seeking the help of another professional I gave up that very day. That night, after four years of being sober, I drank and smoked a blunt. By that next weekend I was using cocaine.
I became what some may call a “weekend warrior” or a “functioning addict”. Slowly the using and my addiction took over my life. The weekends weren’t long enough and my using spilled into the work week. My life became unbalanced and out of control. I couldn’t cope or function anymore. I never thought an addiction would take over my life, but that is exactly what happened. 2 ½ years ago I walked away from the life I built for myself and my four girls. I thought they would be better off without me and at the time I was right. I went from happy to hopeless to homeless.
I spent a year and a half in the grips of a strong addiction to methamphetamines. I gave up on my kids, my family, myself and God. After spending months including a full winter living in the woods, manufacturing drugs, poisoning myself and others, many trips to Van Buren County Jail and the death of a friend to addiction, it was obvious my life had to change. Three weeks before my last arrest I stopped using drugs, only by telling myself each day “I will be sober today, but I can use tomorrow if I choose”. But sitting in jail I knew that thought process wouldn’t keep me clean for long, but I had no idea how to change it.
After being blessed enough to be placed in Drug Court, I was released from jail. I thought I had a drug-free place to go, but I was sadly mistaken. I went to my friends only to find drugs had taken over their life too. It was painfully obvious I had to change my people, places and things. But how?
Through the grace of God, and a number of unexpected heroes, I was lead to Wings of God. What an amazing place. Not just a house, but a home. In the past year my life has changed dramatically. Not only do I have a bed to sleep in, but I have restored faith in God and hope for a happy and healthy future. With each passing day I grow stronger in my faith and my recovery. I have been clean and sober for 14 months. I have been reunited with all four of my beautiful daughters and my family. I have gained my drivers license back. I have been baptized. I love myself and life again. I have a full time job and was given a job also with in Wings of God as a resident assistant. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to use my experiences to help other women who enter the home that are looking to better themselves and their lives.
Not every day or every moment at Wings of God has been easy and I have had to face many truths and issues that I avoided for many years, but I am beyond grateful to have the support of everyone involved with the house. They say “it takes a village to raise a child” and being that I am a child of our one true King it is only fitting that it has taken so many people to help me on my journey. If it weren’t for Wings of God and Van Burens Drug Treatment Court I would still be living a life of sin and misery. Drug court gave me my land back and Wings of God is giving me the bricks and mortar to build a strong foundation through Christ to build the rest of my life on.
Wings of God is an amazing place bringing restoration and hope to many women such as myself. Each woman that walks in the door has their own unique story and set of struggles. If you feel compelled to help support Wings of God there are many ways you can help.
I would like to leave you with a quote from Charles R. Swindoll that has helped me in tremendously, “Yet the Holy Spirit, who knows the contents of our hearts so well, has the power to transform even scar tissue into the muscle of faith.”
Click here for a video testimony hosted by Calvary Reformed.