UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE
Whatz, up babies?
You know, time really flies when you’re having fun embracing the beauty of life. But sometimes, I know that it’s hard to do that if you’re experiencing something that brings pain and sorrow to your hearts. And, if you’re going through something like that right now, I need you to remind you, that GOD loves you and He’d love to hear from ya. On that note, we bring to you this week’s spotlight, in the name of love and this is what she has to say.
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Eunice R. Taylor and I’m employed full-time as a case manager and chaplain at the Charis House, which is the women’s and children’s division of the Rescue Mission here in Fort Wayne and I love what I do. So, now I‘m going to share with you how it all happened and how I used to be:
“I had been out of school for 30 years and in 2005 I went back, part-time, to get my associates degree in human services. However, during that time, we had a recovery ministry at the church that I attend and I’d facilitate for people that were battling with trauma and addictions. And, some of the women from the Charis House, wanted to come to the meetings, so I started volunteering by going there to pick them up and bring them to the church. The more I went to the Charis House, the more I saw the need of so many other things that needed ministering too and I‘d also help the ladies in a lot of different areas. Sometimes, I would come and have chapel there or just come to be a mentor for some of them.
“And, during that time, the director of the Charis House was Pastor Patty Crisp and we had become really close because I had a lot to offer the women since I too came from drugs in the streets and I’ve been through what many of them are going through and so we’d discuss my passion for being there. After that, I did one of my internships at the Charis House, obtained my associates in human services in 2009, was on the Dean’s List and became a part-time employee there. At the end of 2009, I started on my bachelors in human service management and I was on the Academic Honors List, received Cum Laude Honors and graduated in 2012 and now I’m pursuing my masters in organizational leadership.
“Once again I must say, I love what I do because I know that when a person is an addict, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a lifelong thing and I help them. But, it does depend on the person and their degree of wanting to be free from addiction. There’s some people that come and say, they want to stop doing drugs because they don’t want to go to prison or they want to get their family back but it’s not really down in their hearts. For that kind of person, it’s like walking a tight rope because from day to day they’re struggling not to go back. But, for the person who is at the end of their rope and realizes that this addiction is killing and destroying everything around them and they really want help, that person can get help and that person can be recovered and delivered by coming here because, this is what did it for me. By the power of GOD, the bondage of addiction can be broken off of a life and you can get to a place where you live and can make a decision not to go use. But as you stop using, commit to the ways of GOD and turn to positive things and change your people, places and things and it will become a way of life not to use anymore. Just like it became a way of life, to use.
“But, if you’re an addict, you can’t just come to the door of the Charis House and say, ‘I’m an addict and I need help.’ Because the first criteria is that they must be homeless and if they are, they’ll come in and we’ll determine what their problem is, if they’re addict and why they’re homeless. If they’re not an addict, it could be because their income was lost or the guy they were with, walked off and he was the bread winner and it’s just been hard times for them, so they would go into our short-term program. Which gives them a chance to find a job, they don’t pay anything to stay here, so they can save money and we give them a chance to save enough to get in two to three months rent and their deposit for their new home and they find housing and move on. We have the short-term programs to help give them some life skill tools and we also deal with them spirituality from that.
“But for the women that are homeless and struggling with addiction, trauma or both, we have our intense program which is up to nine to 18 months. The women have to attend several groups, which includes therapy, processing and many other classes. They have assignments that they have to do and we also have a 12-step program that we walk them through and they have to attend outside meetings as well and have sponsors. There are so many things that are offered to these women, through the Charis House, to help them walk through the process of getting their life back and at the end of those 18 months, some of them are ready and some of them are not. We do it in groups but we also deal with them individually and they’re assessed as they go along to see what their progress is and we also have friendships with other places such as Park Center that work with us. So if any of the women need to go into other classes, out patient or intense therapy, we all work together to bring them to the place of graduating. Once they graduate they’re still allowed to stay here at this point because it’s then that they’ll go out and look for jobs then housing and we keep in touch with them after they leave their alumni.
“We don’t have women that have been through the graduation and the intensive program return because we’ve had great success with them and we’re in touch with quite a few of them and they’re still holding on. Their lives are still changed and they come back to visit the Charis House and even minister to the women. They do things with them and give their testimonies while spending time to let them know, ‘hey, you can do this too.’ But, for the women that were in our short-term program, some have returned and said, look I was just fooling myself. I thought I could get back out there but I was too ashamed to admit that I have a problem and I need help. At that point, we accept them back but only, if they’re homeless and they’ll go into our intensive program. We don’t cut anybody off when they leave out our door simply because we truly care about them and we’re here to help them to be the best person they can be and to stay on the right path.
“What I do is so rewarding and at the end of the day, it pleases me just to know, that I gave somebody hope and that I let somebody know that there is a better way and that they can do it. Your past does not have to define you but you can use it as stepping stones to go places in life that you never dreamed. I’m a perfect example. People look at me, a once upon a time addict, and think I’ve never even touched a cigarette and they’re afraid to open up to me. But once we start talking, I share with them some of my roots and they’ll look at me and say, ‘Mrs. Eunice, you did what!? You don’t look like you’ve been through anything.’ And, I always say, ‘Honey that’s what the power of GOD does and it’s been about 32 years now, that I’ve been delivered from the bondage of addiction.’ Then I say, ‘When you let GOD do it, HE blesses your life so you don’t look like what you’ve been through and that’s why, you can’t look at me and tell that I’m am ex-addict because GOD cleaned my life up.’
“When I was in high school, I was so strung out that I barely made it, but I graduated with Cs and Ds because they just wanted to get me out of there. So because I was so strung out, I got even worse when I got out of school. I didn’t think there was such a thing as a turn-a-round for me and I almost got destroyed out there in the streets. The life I was living almost totally destroyed me—I overdosed, I was raped and beaten almost to death. But, no matter what, my mama prayed, had the women at the Church she attended coming by to pray for me and I would get mad because I’d be ready to hit the streets and they’d be hugging me and praying.
“But the long and short of it is, GOD saved me and then HE taught me how to live a new life and go a different way and HE restored my brain cells that the drugs had taken away from me. My brain cell damage was so bad, that I couldn’t remember things and I couldn’t even complete sentences back then. But, I thank GOD because HE restored all of that and then HE told me to go to school because it’s going to enhance what HE wants to do through me. I went back and I was so nervous because I’d been out of school for about 30 years and I couldn’t remember things from back then but GOD blessed me so. I didn’t ever think my name would be on a list for anything let alone, getting notices that I’m on the Dean’s List and was more than once—then on the Academics Honors list and more than once. Then graduating with Cum Laude Honors—Eunice Taylor! I never ever in life would have imagined that but GOD did that for me, HE did it.
“So, I love inspiring these women and I don’t care if they’ve lost their children to the system, I don’t care if they prostituted their bodies everyday, I don’t care what they’ve done, GOD loves them and HE can raise them up and restore their lives and what I do is, my life’s mission.
“Even before I became a Christian, I looked at it and said, ‘Lord I already knew how not to depend on me and that’s why I ended up on drugs.’ Because the little that I had to offer, wasn’t enough to shield me from the hurt and pain that I was dealing with and so I ran from it and got high. Because, when I got high, it would make me get into a make believe world so I could pretend those things didn’t happen. Then GOD spoke to me and said, ‘I’ve already given you a mechanism within yourself to know, not to depend on you. But because you didn’t know ME, you used drugs as your GOD but now, you know ME and I don’t want the dependency to leave because I want you to depend on ME.’ And, now that my dependency is on GOD, those things that were in my past are not a part of my life anymore and I just live saved because I love GOD so I don’t desire.
“Also, I need my mother Mrs. Marcella Kelsaw to know, I thank GOD for you. After GOD saved you first, HE put me on her heart so much that HE told her, if she didn’t stand in the gap for me, that I was going to die in those streets. I didn’t know this then because she didn’t tell me until after GOD saved me, but she prayed for me so much and even had the women from the church pray for me, as well as, her pastor. My mother would cry for me but she never gave up. And so, because of that I am here, saved and delivered from those bondages today and I thank GOD for my mother. She’s one of the most intelligent women that I’ve ever known and in that area when I grow up, I’d love to be just like her and I love you, Mama.”
Now in closing I say, Eunice on behalf of GOD, Jesus and myself, we are so proud of you and you are truly loved. And, as Overseer of Soothin’ the Blues (with love), I’d like to thank you personally for bringing our HEAVENLY FATHER some more happiness, joy, beauty, love and some peace of mind as you shared your life and your purpose, for being here, with HIS people as we travel on our journey of love, to get to know one another better. Mrs. Kelsaw, you already know that I love you dearly and I thank GOD that HE made you one of my Angels on earth. So until next week, you’ve been up close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 25 print edition.