by | May 22, 2024

For as long as I can remember, my biggest struggles were feeling inadequate and unworthy. I was told for a large part of my life that I would never amount to anything by someone I was supposed to be able to turn to.

I had no idea where to find self-worth, and there was nobody in my life to point me in the right direction. 

Instead of being someone I could go to for support, my mom was one of the biggest contributors to my struggles. One of the ways my mom chose to deal with her own struggles was to drink, and when she did, it was very ugly. That was when I would hear what I believed to be her true feelings about me. In junior high school, I also compared myself to my friends and other family members, always wanting what they had—the clothes, the hair, the boyfriends, etc.

Looking back, I realize I was always striving to be noticed. 

And I pretty much did whatever it took to get attention, never considering the consequences for me or anybody else. This started my path of self-destruction: a 40-year addiction to meth and unhealthy relationships with men.

I ended up homeless for six years. Even the people that I associated with in that lifestyle of addiction cared nothing about my well-being. I was now alone on the streets of Tucson, living in a tunnel, and every door I knocked on either didn’t open or quickly slammed shut.

I began to pursue healing when, in a very interesting way, God started to show me I was worthy of His love and care.

One evening, I was walking a long distance in the dark, pulling a suitcase that I had worn the wheels off of, and I began to get quite angry. I was crying and yelling at God because of my circumstances but asking for His help at the same time. I asked for a shopping cart to make my journey easier as I still had a long way to go, and the next thing I knew, there was a shopping cart! And it was underneath a lamppost, no less. 

I knew my struggle was coming to an end the night before I went to jail. 

I was hoping to get stopped by the police for having that shopping cart, because it is against the law, and I knew I would go to jail due to my warrants. But that did not happen that night. The next day, I was sitting in the tunnel trying to figure out what I could do to change my circumstances and as I looked up, there stood three police officers. I was so happy to see the police because I knew my life was about to change at that moment. 

I began my journey toward freedom, which only came from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, during my time in jail.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and some people from a church came and set up chairs and a tub. One of the girls in a bunk beside me said they would be baptizing anyone who wanted to be baptized. I remember feeling very emotional because I just knew I had to be baptized. And I was! From that day forward, my life has not been the same because of the forgiveness and freedom I now have in Christ.

I am no longer ashamed of my past. Where I once pursued acceptance and worth from men, I now find my identity in Christ alone. 

My guilt and shame were paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. I now hold my head up high because my Father in Heaven calls me His child, and that truth alone gives me a confidence I never knew before.

I believe it is important for me to tell my story because too many women are struggling with these same issues.

If you are someone who is struggling like I have, I want to encourage you to turn to God because He will never turn you away. He is always waiting with open arms. 

While I was in a drug treatment program, I found one of my favorite scriptures that gave me a glimpse of the love that God has for all of His children.

It is Zephaniah 3:17, and it says: The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but He will rejoice over you with singing.”  

What could be more encouraging than that?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. My prayer is that through my story you will find the strength to begin your own journey of healing.



  1. David Logan

    I love you Mary your smile at the window was always a warm feeling God bless you.

  2. Susan Campanano

    Love it, Mary. When ever you’re ready to publish your book, I can direct you to an hybrid publisher. My book will be published early next year in time for Easter. You do need to have your publication in early because she has other projects in the works. I don’t know if you remember Katie when she came from Pennsylvania for the E5 life strategies retreat. She now has a hybrid publishing company.

  3. Mellisa

    Such a beautiful encouraging story of God’s redemptive Grace.

  4. Roberta Tuning-Stewart

    Thank you, Mary for sharing your story/testimony! I pray it helps a lot of others who need the hope you found!


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