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Former Addict: "I See Myself as a Miracle"

Abused at a young age, Lisa used drugs, alcohol and sex to mask the shame and guilt. She spiraled into prostitution and homelessness until she heard the voice of God. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: Prostitute, drug addict, hopeless--

a few of many words that describe

how Lisa Hensley saw herself.

That's the neon sign all my life--

no good, piece of crap, trash.

NARRATOR: This coming from the little girl who

dreamed of barrel racing and white picket

fences, the same girl who at eight years old

was sexually abused by someone she trusted.

I remember bathing in the tub after it occurred,

and I could not scrub my little body enough.

Something is wrong with me.

I am now dirty.

NARRATOR: Afraid to tell anyone, she

endured the abuse for five years,

believing somehow that she was to blame.

I mean, just guilt. It's got to be my fault.

NARRATOR: By her early teens, Lisa

had learned how to avoid her abuser.

She also found that drugs, alcohol, and sex mask shame

and guilt. However, it grew worse when she got pregnant

and had an abortion at 15 years old.

That was when the voices really started--

you're nothing, you are a piece of trash,

look what you've done.

NARRATOR: When she got pregnant again at 17,

this time she kept the baby and named him Joshua.

I needed somebody to love me, and I thought I could do it.

It's going to be me and you, and he's going to love me.

NARRATOR: After high school, Lisa moved out and got a job,

doing her best to raise her son.

She often dropped Joshua off at her mom's

so she could get high and party.

Once, while she was out to score some drugs,

Lisa realized her five-year-old son, asleep in the back seat,

deserved better.

I just looked back and he was so sound asleep,

and I looked ahead and where I was at.

I just said, what am I doing?

What am I doing?

NARRATOR: So she drove to her mother's and told her

about her drug addiction.

LISA HENSLEY: I gave him to her, and I got in my car that night.

I knew, a part of me hoped that it was just for a moment,

but there was a part of me that I had left him for good.

NARRATOR: That started Lisa on a downward slide

toward prostitution, homelessness, and drug

addiction.

LISA HENSLEY: I just remember thinking

that I had done nothing but being a real good drug addict,

and that nobody cares.

I don't care, so why should they care?

NARRATOR: Lisa did see glimpses of hope.

They came through a Christian woman

she met on one of her many days in jail.

LISA HENSLEY: And she started sharing with me

the love of God.

We established a friendship.

Every time she came to that prison while I was there,

she always came and found me.

She had no judgment.

She was like, OK, what happened this time?

God still loves you.

Still Still holding onto that hope,

she left prostitution but couldn't stay off drugs.

I lived to get high and got high to live.

I couldn't come down.

Come down to see this monster that I was.

There was nothing.

My whole life was just drugs, and I am no good.

NARRATOR: In 2006, Lisa was working in a grocery store deli

when a woman insisted on talking to her.

She said, God has not let me rest until I've come back up

here to talk to you.

Are you OK?

And I just remember thinking it was like the biggest sigh.

I just remember going mam, I said

I haven't been OK in a very, very long time.

NARRATOR: The woman encouraged her and invited Lisa

to an addiction recovery program called The Potter's

House in Jackson, Georgia.

A few days later, Lisa showed up and began talking

to the founder, Miss Cherrie.

Lisa realized her only hope was God.

And I laid out in the middle of that floor

and I bawled like a baby.

And Miss Cherrie was at my side on her knees.

And I asked him to please forgive my sins,

please come into my life and do something with me.

NARRATOR: Still struggling with the guilt of the sexual abuse,

Lisa got on her knees and prayed.

I said, I can't have a relationship with you, God.

I can't do it.

And I heard in my spirit, now go look up the word intimacy.

And I open the dictionary, and it

said a personal relationship, knowing someone better

than they know themselves.

And I just remember thinking wow, the guilt was pulled off.

I was a child, I didn't cause it was pulled off.

So many things were pulled off at that night.

Yeah, it was big.

It was big.

NARRATOR: Lisa was also set free from years of drug addiction.

Today, her relationship with her son is restored

and she's a grandmother.

She's also the director of Katlyn's Promise,

bringing hope and the love of Christ

to women caught in addiction.

LISA HENSLEY: I see myself as a miracle.

I see myself as a woman who is a lady, clean and whole.

I am a woman of God.

I love the Lord.

There's so much, how he can move a heart.

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