WendyIt’s no surprise that Wendy sought to deal with the pain of a loveless life by using drugs. Cocaine, meth, heroin — she used them all. The result was a self-destructive cycle of drug use, homelessness, and abusive relationships.
Wendy has probably experienced more grief, more turmoil, and more loss than any 10 people you know. From having a father who sexually abused her sisters to seeing five men in her life die — including two overdoses and one suicide — Wendy has lived a life that most of us probably can’t even imagine.
She grew up in Seattle’s south end in a home with an abusive dad who ignored his family and spent most of his time at work, gambling, or drinking. Wendy’s parents divorced when she was 11, and her mom remarried. But her stepfather treated her terribly. “I was a good kid, a good student. I minded the rules. I stayed out of trouble at first. Even when I tried my hardest, I did nothing right." she says. “He would scream and yell.”
A LIFETIME OF ADDICTION AND FAILED RELATIONSHIPS
Eventually, at age 14, her stepdad threw her out because she came home an hour late one night. Wendy says, “I was devastated. My mom did nothing. I walked out the door and went to my boyfriend’s house. His parents gave me a room and let me live with them through my teens.
“That’s when I started using drugs and alcohol. It felt like my family didn’t care.” So began a 25-year nightmare of homelessness, drug addiction, and jail time. Worse, never having a loving father to model how a man should treat a woman set Wendy up for a long string of terrible relationships with men who manipulated and abused her.
She says, “I thought it was me — something I wasn’t doing right. It took me many years to realize that that’s not how it was.”
It’s no surprise that Wendy sought to deal with the pain of a loveless life by using drugs. Cocaine, meth, heroin — she used them all. The result was a self-destructive cycle of drug use, homelessness, and abusive relationships.
She says, “In my relationships with abuse in every form, I felt worthless. When the men in my life died, I felt like they left me. Like I wasn’t worth living for. I became what I didn’t want to ever become: my mother.”
GETTING HER LIFE BACK
At her lowest point, Wendy heard about the Mission’s recovery program for women. She was able to join us and start taking steps toward rebuilding her life.
At the time, she says, “I thought, Well, I’m not gonna last here. Something’s going to happen, and I’m gonna get the boot.” But she soon learned the Mission is different. “It was everything I needed to help me have a life: a bed, a safe place, meals, counseling, work therapy, Bible study classes, safe people... I never thought this would ever happen for me, ever.”
Wendy says, “Throughout my life, I’d even felt this little glimmer of hope that God is going to do something with me. “When I was a little girl, I knew He was there even though I didn’t have church or anything. I would lay on the floor and look out at the sky, and think, Yeah, He’s up there somewhere.”
“Today,” Wendy says, “God is at the top of my life. It’s all in His hands, which is such a relief. I don’t have to control everything. I feel like I’ve lost so many years. But I wouldn’t have the wisdom I have now, or the strength.” Wendy now knows there’s a reason she endured so much trauma. “I’m hoping everything I’ve been through will give hope to other people,” she says.