Kat loves plants. In fact, she’s downright passionate about them. But there’s a flipside to that affection: Kat loathes fake plants – something she emanates to everyone around her.
“Since Kat came in to Shepherd’s Door, she’s always been so authentic and real,” said Julia Richmond, a Growth Leader at the New Life Ministry for women and children. “It’s a quality of hers that I have greatly appreciated all through this journey we’ve had together.”
Kat entered Shepherd’s Door as a broken woman. Shrouded in darkness, and overcome with a sense of hopelessness and lonely isolation, Kat has a vivid picture in her mind of life before Portland Rescue Mission.
“I was in the deepest, darkest place that I have ever been in my life when I came to Shepherd’s Door,” Kat explained to the audience at graduation. “I was drowning in depression. I was completely bankrupt of any relationship that I had with the Jesus I once knew and loved in the past. … I was coming out of an unhealthy marriage, I was getting a divorce and I was pretty deep into my addiction.”
And then she walked through the doors of Shepherd’s Door.
“The initial walking through the doors was pretty emotional. But the staff immediately came around me to reassure me that I was in a safe place,” she explained. “Then I remember walking down the hallway while the house was in the middle of worship, and I immediately had a sense of peace.”
That peace has been instrumental in Kat’s journey, and something that has allowed her to, as Julia described, “soften and become a pliable woman of God.” It has also allowed Kat to not only face new challenges in her life, but counter old ones by redirecting her old false beliefs into something positive and life-giving.
“One of my false beliefs when I came in was that women are snakes. I didn’t want anything to do with them,” she said. “I could trust them as far as I could throw them … But God has changed my heart, and how I feel about people in general and their brokenness.
“He’s equipping me in the areas where I feel weak, and He’s strengthening me in everything I do. … I have skills today that I never thought were possible.”
Kat will spend a year of Service (an optional second year of vocational training and additional leadership responsibilities in our New Life Ministries) ministering to the women who first come into the program. In the year ahead, she will do more than just welcome them in, she’ll be loving on them and making sure they too are secure in their recovery journeys.
Perhaps even more amazingly, Kat has done all of this amid one of the biggest challenges of her life. Her journey has occurred during a time of great pain, literally.
“I’m in constant pain,” she described. “I started having a lot of health problems early on in my time at Shepherd’s Door. It was a concern for me because I was an opiate addict—that was my drug of choice.
“But God has used that area of my life and my health to develop and sharpen my communication skills, along with what I need from the people that are treating me, and turned something I was fearful of into a strength. … The Lord has given me all the strength I need to get through each day.”
In response, Kat’s love for real plants has been realized in herself—watered and full of growth. Through a little bit of perspective, and a whole lot of transformation, she has blossomed into a garden that will impact many more women in the years ahead.
CAMILLE SMICKER ON KAT AND HER RECOVERY JOURNEY:
It’s been a big year for Kat. A challenging year. A really, really challenging year. It’s been a year of restoration, regeneration and the fruits of the Spirit. … Kat has come into a deeper sense of peace and security in Christ—in who she is in Christ. It’s been a year of softening … A softening in a relationship to the world around her and to the people and circumstances in her life. She has found a new gentleness, a quieter Spirit and a peace that surpasses understanding. … Something new is growing inside of Kat. She has a new steadiness, a new steadfastness and it’s life-changing. Our God is in the business of regeneration, and I am so privileged to be a witness to in Kat’s life. I’m so proud of her.
KAT’S FAVORITE SCRIPTURE:
GENESIS 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (KAT: “I have a lot of favorite Scriptures, but when I got saved, the pastor told me that if you can believe this verse, everything else will be a piece of cake. That blew me away. It’s so true.”)