About 20 years ago, I was a wife, a mother, a sister, and a daughter. I worked as a care aid, an artist, and a musician. I had it all, but I couldn’t see it.
I had a lovely childhood, growing up in Littlehampton, England, and surrounded by family and friends. However, everything was about to change. When I was 8 years old, my dad moved us to Canada for a new job. 2 years later, he passed away in a boating accident. It felt like our family had been ripped apart.
I began blaming others for my unhappiness, and tried to replace that empty, aching feeling with drugs, alcohol, men, and work. Eventually, I ran out of people to blame and tried to take my own life.
“The staff at the Mission became family for me. I had spiritual guidance and support not just through the good times but the bad as well.” —Heidi
Shortly after having two children and my attempted suicide, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started drinking to deal with my heavily medicated feelings of confusion and depression, and made a series of decisions that cost me my marriage, my children and my home.
Eventually, I discovered rock bottom on the floor of a hospital’s emergency room. I woke up to a man pushing on my chest and noise all around me. I was telling him, “Stop, you’re hurting me” and his reply was, “I’ll stop if you stop dying.” And I did.
I believe God had some things for me to do, so he sent me back. Pretty soon, recovery brought me through Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s Harmony House. There, I learned to build a structured life, skills for coping, and how to listen for God’s voice. Each morning, I started saying a thank you. Even now, I realize how blessed I am to have seen my sons graduate. I’m thankful that I was able to mend my relationship with my mom before she died, as well.
When I left Harmony House, I started working at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission Thrift Store and ended up staying on as assistant manager for four years. The staff at the Mission became family for me.
Today, I am a day supervisor at the Mission’s emergency shelter. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, and I’ve returned to practicing my art and music. I have it all, and this time I see it. I can feel it. I thank God every day and ask His favour on other people’s suffering—that they would also experience His grace, mercy and unconditional love and be restored from their brokenness.