My name is Jessica Hillman. I am 32 years old, a mother, recovering drug addict, felon and I am now aware that I am a child of our One True King! I came to Wings of God a year ago to break a terrible cycle of addiction that lead me away from my daughters, my family, myself and God. I was a single mother for the better part of thirteen years, a supervisor of a large bank, ran my own business and even owned my own home. I lived a life that many thought was a good life, however I built my life without a strong foundation to base it on, without God.
When a series of traumatic and life changing events occurred (my fiance left, I was beaten and raped in my own home and my best friend hung herself) I didn’t have the tools to handle them. I tried to seek help through a counselor who after three sessions looked at me and said “Ms. Hillman, for the first time in my thirty five year career I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how to comfort you or what help I can offer”. I was crushed. I felt completely broken and lost. Instead of seeking the help of another professional I gave up that very day. That night, after four years of being sober, I drank and smoked a blunt. By that next weekend I was using cocaine.
I became what some may call a “weekend warrior” or a “functioning addict”. Slowly the using and my addiction took over my life. The weekends weren’t long enough and my using spilled into the work week. My life became unbalanced and out of control. I couldn’t cope or function anymore. I never thought an addiction would take over my life, but that is exactly what happened. 2 ½ years ago I walked away from the life I built for myself and my four girls. I thought they would be better off without me and at the time I was right. I went from happy to hopeless to homeless.
I spent a year and a half in the grips of a strong addiction to methamphetamines. I gave up on my kids, my family, myself and God. After spending months including a full winter living in the woods, manufacturing drugs, poisoning myself and others, many trips to Van Buren County Jail and the death of a friend to addiction, it was obvious my life had to change. Three weeks before my last arrest I stopped using drugs, only by telling myself each day “I will be sober today, but I can use tomorrow if I choose”. But sitting in jail I knew that thought process wouldn’t keep me clean for long, but I had no idea how to change it.
After being blessed enough to be placed in Drug Court, I was released from jail. I thought I had a drug-free place to go, but I was sadly mistaken. I went to my friends only to find drugs had taken over their life too. It was painfully obvious I had to change my people, places and things. But how?
Through the grace of God, and a number of unexpected heroes, I was lead to Wings of God. What an amazing place. Not just a house, but a home. In the past year my life has changed dramatically. Not only do I have a bed to sleep in, but I have restored faith in God and hope for a happy and healthy future. With each passing day I grow stronger in my faith and my recovery. I have been clean and sober for 14 months. I have been reunited with all four of my beautiful daughters and my family. I have gained my drivers license back. I have been baptized. I love myself and life again. I have a full time job and was given a job also with in Wings of God as a resident assistant. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to use my experiences to help other women who enter the home that are looking to better themselves and their lives.
Not every day or every moment at Wings of God has been easy and I have had to face many truths and issues that I avoided for many years, but I am beyond grateful to have the support of everyone involved with the house. They say “it takes a village to raise a child” and being that I am a child of our one true King it is only fitting that it has taken so many people to help me on my journey. If it weren’t for Wings of God and Van Burens Drug Treatment Court I would still be living a life of sin and misery. Drug court gave me my land back and Wings of God is giving me the bricks and mortar to build a strong foundation through Christ to build the rest of my life on.
Wings of God is an amazing place bringing restoration and hope to many women such as myself. Each woman that walks in the door has their own unique story and set of struggles. If you feel compelled to help support Wings of God there are many ways you can help.
• Financial donations are critical for keeping our home & staff. A monthly gift is the best way to offer your support.
• Volunteers bless us by providing transportation, counseling, mentoring, grocery shopping, etc
• Churches in Paw Paw help us connect to local spiritual growth and friendships.
• Business support is important for offering employment to us. It is not easy to find work with a felony record. But if given the chance- we are good employees- looking for better life.
• Prayer is our most sought after support! Without God’s guidance, wisdom, healing and strength, our ministry would be nothing.
I would like to leave you with a quote from Charles R. Swindoll that has helped me in tremendously, “Yet the Holy Spirit, who knows the contents of our hearts so well, has the power to transform even scar tissue into the muscle of faith.”