The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


An Embezzler's Redemption

By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club

CBN.comHelen remembers, “He had a great big, thick belt with a thick belt buckle and he was hitting me with it and I knew if I didn’t get him off of me it’s no telling what would happen.”

Helen Burton was 16 years when she had her first serious boyfriend.  Almost immediately the relationship turned violent. “I was getting deceived saying, ‘Well, maybe it’s something I didn’t do.’ You know, maybe just because I didn’t have a couple of beers in the refrigerator, maybe that’s what made him jump on me.’”

Helen’s boyfriend was an alcoholic and drug user. She started using drugs to escape the emotional and physical abuse he inflicted on her. “I thought it was going to be taking away my problems or make me closer to him at the time, or more acceptable as his girlfriend.”

By the time she turned 23, she had three children and was a coke addict. After her mother died, Helen felt even more alone. “I was a young momma by myself and the relationship that I was in wasn’t good, and she was always there for me. And it hurt when she left me.”

Helen finally took her kids and escaped from her abusive boyfriend. But with a drug habit to support she needed money. So she cashed in her dead mother’s disability checks. Helen recalls, “I was kind of scared, but I said, ‘Well, what the heck, that’s extra money.’ So I did forge her name. And that went on for about two to three years.”

Three years later, Helen was arrested for check fraud. She had stolen $13,000 dollars from social security and went to prison for a year. She also lost custody of her three children. Ashley and Cory recall the time when their mother went to prison.

Ashley says, “The low of the low for me was when me and my brother was split up. And we already didn’t have our older brother. I did blame my mother because we never would have had to go stay with anyone else if she didn’t make the mistakes she did at the time.”

Cory recalls, “I thought it was because she didn’t want to be in our lives or she didn’t love us.”

After prison, Helen got two fast food restaurant jobs to support herself but she still had a drug habit that she couldn’t seem to kick. Within a year, she had stolen $10,000 from her employers’ cash drawers and was arrested and sent to prison again. “I said, ‘I’ve got to get myself together.’ But it’s just like a revolving door.  ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I didn’t know who to reach out to for help or anything.”

When Helen got out of prison she was able to get another fast food job as a manager but she continued doing drugs. One night after closing the restaurant Helen counted out all the cash registers which totaled $2500. She was tempted by all the cash in her hands. That’s when she said she heard the voice of God. “I heard Him say, ‘Helen, don’t you take that money.’ ‘Oh, it’s okay. I can make up this. I can make up this. I’ll take like $60. It was like 2500 in that bag.’ ‘Helen, don’t take that money.’”

Instead of depositing the money into the bank she went on an all night drug binge. The next morning, the police came to her home to arrest her. That led to Helen’s final trip to prison. There she went to a Bible study. When she returned to her cell she prayed to God to help change her. “And I acknowledged Him. And I surrendered everything because I had been fighting Him too long. But I heard Him. I heard Him as plain as day as I’m talking now. He said, ‘If you don’t get yourself together, you’re going to be in here the rest of your life.’ And from that moment, that’s when I knew that was it. I told Him that I was through. I told Him I was tired. I told Him that I surrendered. And I said, ‘Whatever You have to do, or whatever You have to do to me,  or whatever I have to do, I’ll do it.’ And that’s how it started.”

Helen began to read the Bible and learn more about herself. “It was becoming alive to me that I am unique. I am special. I’m somebody. ‘I’m created in Your likeness and in Your image, Lord.’ And that’s what started me on that journey. It just gave me a sense of peace even in that prison. I was able to smile again. I was able to begin to forgive myself of a lot of stuff that I done.”

Helen left prison 11 years ago and never did drugs again. She has been reunited with her children.

Ashley says, “Today I would tell my mom, you are a very strong woman. You came from the lowest of the low to a good place. She’s conquered a lot.”

Cory says, “I’m just happy that He had mercy on her and gave her another chance.”

Helen also made restitution for all the money she stole from her former employers.  She frequently visits other prisoners and tells them about the One who changed everything in her life.

“I give all thanks to God for my deliverance,” says Helen. “I thank him that He never gave up on me. I thank Him that even when He seen me at my darkest time He was with me; even when I didn’t think He was with me at all. He’s my everything and that’s why I choose to live for Him.  There’s no other way.”
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