Pamela's Story

Jan 17, 2023 | by Shelley Henderson

“The Salvation Army introduced me to a God of love. I mean His love is… just like I feel it right now. There ain’t no drug, a drink of beer, a cigarette, nothing can give you this, what I feel right now. He’s so good, people, I’m telling you, He’s so good.” 

Pamela’s struggles began at an early age. Her father left, and the relationship she had with her mom was difficult. When she was in the 8th grade, Pamela’s mom arranged for her to get married. 

“He was 21 and that’s when my journey truly began,” she said. “I was introduced to beer and after that first beer was gone, I felt relaxed. I wasn’t nervous anymore and I thought that was my true ticket to life. That’s when alcohol became a part of my whole being.” 

For years, drinking was just a weekend thing. But soon, alcohol wasn’t sufficient to numb the pain of her childhood. She was introduced to pills and crack cocaine, and spent her next years in and out of prison, shelters, mental hospitals, and treatment programs. 

Her first trip to prison was the result of multiple DWIs. Her second trip was for less than $2 worth of crack cocaine. Her third was for less than $10 worth. After she was released the third time, she seemed to be back on the right track. She was sober for 10 years, but her downward spiral began again when she was prescribed narcotics following back surgery.

Soon she was arrested and back in court. She was sentenced to 18 months in jail. This jail time stay became the wake-up call she needed. Pamela spent her time growing closer to God and burying her demons. 

After she was released, Pamela was at ground zero. She had no place to live or a support network so she was dropped off at The Salvation Army emergency shelter. At first, she did not want to stay, but soon got involved in the programs and worship at the shelter and found love, comfort, and fellowship with those around her.

“I was like ‘God, ain’t there no other way?’ But I stayed and He introduced me to The Salvation Army church and you talk about love! Love made the difference. I was drawn to the love that I never had.”

 “All the people who I’ve met from the Salvation Army, there’s nothing but love. I was homeless with only a change of clothes. I left there with hope, with people in my life who love me and help me on my journey. That gives me strength when it’s needed. I can pick up the phone and say ‘I’m struggling, can you help me?’ And, they’re there!”

These days, Pamela doesn’t wake up thinking about her next fix. She wakes up thinking about the new purpose God has given her. 

“I know every day that God gives me is a day that He is using me,” she says. “Every breath I take, He gives me. Everything that He teaches me is for His kingdom, for His glory, for His honor. I look forward to each day because I get up with a positive attitude knowing that something great is going to happen. Becoming homeless was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.”  

She can say that today, because she knows that it was God leading her to The Salvation Army.

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