meagan-before-vs-after
Left, when I first arrived at MTM in January 2016. Right, in September 2016.

My name is Meagan. I would like to share a part of my journey to Mel Trotter Ministries, and how God has worked through the ministry to impact different areas in my life.

I was born into a middle class Catholic family with two parents. I went to Catholic schools and experienced all of the comforts of a financially stable life. We always prayed before meals and went to church. We said the rosary together and I was involved with my youth group (though that is the very place that I experienced my first moments of delinquency).

My parents had a very strong but quiet faith. They never doubted God and He was central in our home.

During my teens I started experiencing depression and anxiety. I was 15 years old when I started to rebel. One day my grandparents – to whom I was very close – invited me to attend church with them. In a typical teenager’s sullen and snotty way, I declined. They went without me and on their way to church they were killed in a car accident.

I struggled with a great deal of anger and guilt for the next couple of years. I blamed myself for the accident, thinking that my presence might have altered the events in some way.

At the same time, my dad’s already existing alcoholism quickly spiraled out of control and that added to my anger and anxiety. Alcoholism eventually took his life.

I got pregnant at 19. My family was not supportive. My mom was worried about me being an unwed mother so the marriage was quickly planned. The baby unexpectedly came early, so mom bought me a white robe, white nightie and white slippers. The morning after delivering my son, and an hour after being removed from the morphine pump, I was married in a quiet ceremony in my hospital room. As I stood there I wondered what in the world I was doing and I knew I was making a terrible mistake.

But I was scared and only wanted approval. I was married for 5 years and we had another child together. The marriage didn’t work and we divorced and shared custody. I started waitressing at a bar and that is when my descent into alcoholism began. I struggled for 15 years, successfully raising my 2 kids but hiding my addiction from everyone.

 Then I hit rock bottom.

After leaving a bar one night, I was in the drive-thru of a McDonalds and bumped the car ahead of me. We got out to see if there was damage, and though there wasn’t, the other driver noticed I was drunk and said she was calling the police. In that moment, I panicked, and made one of the worst and most life altering decisions of my life. I jumped back in my car to try to leave. The other driver jumped on my hood to stop me. I stopped the car and she got off but I drove away. I was arrested the next day. The police officer told me that if I was honest, everything would turn out fine. He couldn’t have been more wrong. I was charged with felonious assault with a deadly weapon and subsequently spent 5 months in jail. I had never been in any type of trouble before and I was terrified. Jail is a dark, depressing place to be. My family had cut off all contact. I was alone. God used that time to heal my body and release me from the tight grip of alcoholism.

Following jail, I entered rehab and was there for 5 months. I was released from the program due to being late to my work assignment one too many times. I was in such a horrible place of depression, anxiety and despair. I managed to stay sober despite all of that, and thankfully, in January of 2016, I found Mel Trotter Ministries.

I am so grateful for Mel Trotter. I don’t know where I would be without this ministry. I can assure you it would be no place good. I can’t even imagine. I had nowhere else to go. There were no open doors for me. The faith-based program has changed me. My whole life I have fought for everyone else.

I had never had the chance, or the courage to fight for myself. This ministry gave me the time and space to heal and they integrated Christ into my healing every step of the way. Right now, I am redefining my relationship with God. In the past, I felt if I were not perfect I didn’t have a right to turn to Him. I have been working on understanding grace and that I can turn to Him in the midst of my flaws and imperfections. He yearns for me to turn to Him. I never used to feel like that and it always kept me at arm’s length from Him, because I am never perfect. Sometimes, it feels impossible to grasp the full reality of grace, but that is the heart of who God is.

 All of the staff at Mel Trotter treat the guests with dignity.

It isn’t a free hand out and I appreciate that. I was empowered through the job readiness program. The program is no joke. It’s intensive and you want to have to grow and live differently to complete it. There are opportunities for one on one therapy, life building skills such as nutritional cooking, life coaching and so much more! Every day begins with devotions. That may seem simple, but it’s so much more than that. What really struck me is how the staff was so willing to share the “brokenness” in their own lives. They didn’t do this out of pride. They did this to share that we are ALL broken in some way. Just because we are at Mel Trotter we are not “less than”. It is a huge stepping stone into giving people the opportunity to feel their worth again.

While staying at Mel Trotter, I secured a full-time job. Despite the 2 hour bus ride each way, I am always on time and I am excelling at work and I am saving money.

meagan-radio
Sharing my story for the first time publicly on the air with WOOD Radio in November 2016.

 

While staying at Mel Trotter, I secured a full-time job. Despite the 2 hour bus ride each way, I am always on time and I am excelling at work and I am saving money.

I just want a simple, normal life. I want my own place where I can be comfortable. In fact, I just recently received news that I have finally found housing. The relief I felt was indescribable. Having a felony is a horrible burden and weight to carry, not knowing where I would go or if anyone was ever going to let me into housing. It’s a paralyzing weight. That weight is lifting now and I finally feel happiness seeping back into my life. Now, I have the opportunity to move forward.

In the future I would love to have my degree in sociology or something connected with social work.

 I have discovered my voice, and I now know that I was destined to use that voice. It is a passion and gift that God has given me. When my life wasn’t touched by homelessness and poverty, it was so easy to judge. It seemed natural to either ignore the Heartside area or make negative comments and assumptions. But the old saying is true: Until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you cannot judge. I judged those on food stamps and welfare, but now that I have had to use some of those same resources, my whole perspective has changed.

My friends and family still make those same comments and judgements. Many of them don’t know that I have been staying at Mel Trotter, as I’ve not been very vocal about the situation in my life. They don’t know they are speaking directly to me. They also don’t understand how fast and hard the fall can be, when you have no one there to catch you. Mel Trotter was there to catch me.

People experiencing homelessness in Heartside are broken. They are full of despair, and loneliness … we are isolated from the “real” world and society. What most people don’t see is that the people down in Heartside – at Mel Trotter – are still fighting.

They are trying to pick themselves up from the depths of despair, and they just keep fighting. Unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to understand, but I can understand that now.

If people stopped giving, or if Mel Trotter lost any of its already scarce resources, it would literally impact thousands of lives a year…lives like mine.

I am amazed at the development in Grand Rapids, and I want to be proud of this city. But how can we be proud of a city that is leaving its most vulnerable behind? We are building, we are growing, but affordable housing is disappearing before our eyes. It’s a crisis. Is that something to be proud of?

We, as a community, could all be a part of ending homelessness in Grand Rapids. I ask you to please, please consider giving to help the most vulnerable in our community stand on their feet, and add so much more to our developing city! We all have a choice. We can be heroes or we can be the people who turn a blind eye. I ask you to be the heroes for this city.

If people stopped giving, or if Mel Trotter lost any of its already scarce resources, it would literally impact thousands of lives a year…lives like mine.

My favorite bible verse is Proverbs 31:25.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.”

That verse makes me feel strength as a woman and encouraged to fight. It tells me who I am in Christ and that God’s got it. All I need to do is be faithful and He’s got all the details.

 

Posted by:meltrotterministries

The vision of Mel Trotter Ministries is to end homelessness in West Michigan, one life at a time, through the power of Christ.

2 replies on “From rock bottom to restoration: Meagan’s story

  1. Wow! An amazing and inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it Meagan, God has truly been at work I. Your life and your testimony will help so many!!!
    I will pray for Gods hand to continue to be evident in all aspects of your life. Blessings to you

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s