I remained at the office a bit longer than planned a few nights ago to finish an article running the next day.
On any other day, it wouldn’t have mattered. We’re all accustomed to working late. That’s pretty much routine around here.
But on that night I had reservations across town at the Restoration House Ministries annual dinner, and I didn’t want to be a no-show.
I arrived at home like a crazy person, pulling in the driveway like I was out for bloody revenge.
In record speed, I jumped into a pair of hose, put on a decent skirt and blouse and brushed some color on my eyes and lips.
To my dog’s dismay, I left again in great haste, exiting the driveway with the same amount of crazy as my arrival.
I made it to the dinner 15 minutes late, and I was pleased to be there. But truthfully, my mind was not on the needs of Restoration House.
I thought only about the 10 other tasks I needed to accomplish before midnight.
But then Theresa Klacman, founder of Restoration House, began the meal.
She spoke freely and humbly before the mic, addressing a room of the organization’s fiercest supporters.
I was starting to feel low. And I could feel God preparing to humble me with Klacman’s words and service-oriented heart.
As the night progressed, the ladies of Restoration House – who reside in the Christian-based home for a set amount of months to beat
various addictions and ultimately find freedom in Christ – each stood before the mic to thank the audience.
And each time one of them spoke, the tears in my eyes welled a little more, especially when the last young woman took the lectern.
She spoke of a time before Restoration House, filled with consecutive days of drugs and alcohol.
She spoke of a lack of self-worth to the point of wishing and hoping for death.
She spoke of piercing family strife, an existence of painful cacophony and the occasional physical altercation.
She spoke possessing a willful, defiant nature, hopelessness and godlessness.
She was unable to see her value, talents or future.
Since Restoration House and her new relationship with God, the young woman has changed her life. She’s applying to Notre Dame and dreams of becoming an attorney.
By this time, most of the women in the room were sobbing.
But my tears were as much for me as they were for her.
Because her story was mine.
In a time long ago – I was her.
I intimately knew the life she described.
When she concluded her speech, I sat for several moments reliving the memories of a “me” I had forgotten.
I have been praying for so many years for God to pull me through and wash me clean, that I had forgotten to look back and see how far I’ve come.
And if God can change me, I know he can and will for Miss Notre Dame.
Good luck to you, girl.
The path is slow and hard, but your old you will thank you some day.
Jennifer Preyss is the faith editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535, jenniferpreyss.com, or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss