When one hears about the amazing, life-changing experiences the children encounter while in the Sheridan House Residential Program, it is difficult to control the overwhelming sense of joy. As a behavioral specialist in one of the girls’ homes, I recently had the privilege of witnessing the transformation of one of our residents, Rachel S. I watched her transform from a lost girl with no direction into a wise decision-making, self-respecting, God-fearing young woman. Rachel described her transformation very eloquently in her graduation speech,
“At one point in time I was lost. I didn’t know God and my life was a mess. I was very depressed and I went by what ‘felt’ good. My mom and I constantly fought and I had a horrible relationship with her. Nobody was proud of the person I was becoming. I was very disobedient, disrespectful, and I got involved with the wrong crowd. To sum it up, I wasn’t making good decisions and I needed help. I was so out of control that the only option was a program…. Now, I am a changed person thanks to all of you. I hope to take everything that I’ve learned and use it for the rest of my life…”
As Rachel continued, she addressed every girl in our house individually. She acknowledged their unique gifts, encouraged them to grow from them, and explained how they could use those gifts to help them graduate from the program.
In the 11 months Rachel spent in the residential program, not only did she choose to make positive changes in her life, but her mom did as well. When Rachel first arrived at Sheridan House, her mom was a lost woman with little direction. On Rachel’s last day in the program, her mom pulled our ministry team aside and shared the amazing works God was completing in her life. Throughout Rachel’s time in the program, her mom was going through some painful struggles. She kept trying to please other people in her life without seeking God’s will first. This mindset kept her broken and depressed. She had moments of triumph followed by moments of defeat; however, on the last day of Rachel’s program she had this new-found strength and self-respect. With the help provided through the residential parent meetings and seeing the change in Rachel’s life, she too transformed into a good decision-making, self-respecting, God-fearing woman.
I am delighted to report that Rachel’s relationship with her mom has developed from one full of sour resentment to a relationship full of respect, honor, and love. It was amazing to see these two women, whose lives paralleled in so many ways, transform at the very same time. As I watched Rachel leave the house with a spiritual fervor and desire to encourage those around her, I also saw her mom as a strong and courageous woman with a spiritual fervor and desire to accomplish God’s plan for her family.
I will miss Rachel and her awesome leadership in our house, but I know God has an amazing and rewarding journey designed specifically for her as continues to follow Him in obedience. As for her mom, I pray that she continues to seek earnestly after God and remains as a Godly example to her two kids so that they all may experience many moments of triumph. Yes, it was overwhelming to witness the positive changes in Rachel’s life, but it was awe-inspiring to see two lives changed and two hearts restored in God’s perfect timing.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”