Shere’s 49th birthday didn’t seem to give her much reason to celebrate. After eight years and “lots of drug abuse,” her relationship with her boyfriend had suddenly ended. With nowhere to go, she turned to her parents, but found she had burned that bridge by hurting them deeply in the past. “They said I was going to have to figure it out on my own,” Shere remembers. “It was a very big reality check…”

Shere managed to find a place to stay, just in time for her birthday. But she didn’t get the present she had bargained for. “I was at a friend’s house, and she woke me up at 1:30 in the morning and told me I had to leave. I said, ‘Lord help me, I have really messed up in my life. Please forgive me for everything I have done that has brought me here, and please guide me where I need to go.”

God answered Shere’s prayer and led her to Union Gospel Mission of Salem. “I got here at 4:00 in the morning. I was very fortunate, because the very next morning there was a bed available.”

With the help from our New Life Fellowship program, Shere was blessed with healing in her own life and in her relationships. “I’m discovering it was easier to blame everybody else for the things that I had put my family through. But through Jesus Christ, I was able to realize that it was my fault.”

Because of her drug addiction, Shere missed out on being a mother to her children, now grown. Today, she spends every Sunday with her 18-year-old daughter. “I can never make up for what I lost but I have the chance to build a new relationship with her. It’s an amazing journey, and I owe it all to the Lord and to the staff and classes here.”

The healing has also touched another generation of Shere’s family. “For the first time in my life, I had my mom tell me she’s proud of me and she doesn’t have to worry about me,” Shere tells us.

Shere may have spent that one birthday alone, frightened and desperate. But today, she looks forward to every birthday with hope and gratitude for the gifts you’ve given her through the Mission. “I’m a new woman in Christ!” Shere says. “I’m very thankful to be here. This is God’s house and I know He’s here. I’m anticipating what He has next for me, and I know having His love and support, I’m going to be okay.”

Read more stories of hope in our April newsletter and on our 365 days of hope blog.

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