Naomi’s mother and sister were addicts. For years she battled against their destructive influence while she struggled to work, go to college and raise her two little children. Finally, at 25, she became overwhelmed by life’s challenges and started using drugs, too. It wasn’t long before the police raided the house where Naomi was staying, and her kids were taken from her.
“I’d hit rock bottom,” Naomi painfully recalls. “I’d lost my babies, but I wouldn’t give up my addiction. It was so much stronger than I was.” When Naomi became pregnant with her third child, she vowed to stop using—and she did! But she relapsed a few days after the baby was born. Just a few months into her daughter’s young life, she became homeless again.
“I ended up at what is now Rockford Rescue Mission’s Women’s Crisis Center,” Naomi says. “Laying in a shelter with my baby—knowing all the background and education I had — I thought ‘I should never have let my addiction get this far.’”
Pregnant with her fourth child, she knew she had to change her life. She got up the next morning and applied to our Women’s Life Recovery Program.
“And from that point on, I’ve just let God lead my life,” she says today.
Naomi graduated from our program two years ago and now works in the Mission’s Women’s Crisis Center. “This job fulfills me and I’m really at peace,” she says. Her position as night intake coordinator allows her to draw on her past to help others battling addiction and despair. “When homeless women and mothers come through our doors, I think they’re worried about other people judging them and wondering what choices they made that brought them to this situation. ‘I absolutely know where you’re coming from, because I actually slept here at the Mission with my daughter and I went through the program,’ I tell them. I do believe I’m where God wants me to be.”
Naomi has an apartment of her own where she lives with her three daughters, ages 2, 3 and 9. Her son, who lives with his father, visits every other day. And she feels called to give back to the Mission in every way she can. “My heart is in this Mission,” she says. “Every Christmas I’m here. Every Thanksgiving. Every graduation. Any time they need me to speak. Anything they need me to do, I’m an open book!”
And to the Mission’s donors and volunteers, she offers these words of gratitude and appreciation: “You are our guardian angels. I hope I’ve let you know how much you affect people’s lives! If it weren’t for you, I would not be where I am today. My kids wouldn’t have stability. I wouldn’t know Jesus. And I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with God. He is real and He is in the business of working miracles. I’m living proof!”