For the past five years Grace Klein Community members have had the honor of building relationship with the *Smith Family, a loyal mama and her sweet girls. The Varvoutis Family met *Sarah, Jane (16) and Kristen (10) approximately five years ago, through the monthly food delivery ministry of Grace Klein Community.
At the time these two families lives intersected, Sarah, a single mom, was without work. Her girls have always been her world and she makes decisions based on their best interests. Sadly and secretly, Sarah battled addiction to alcohol. Even as a faithful church goer, Sarah found herself discouraged, bogged down, at a low point, just trying to make it in life. Through many months of trust and relationship building, Sarah confessed her struggles to her new community friends.
As she struggled, she shared some good memories with her new friends. One summer, the Hudson family joined GKC friends at our annual camping week at Oak Mountain State Park. Completely out of their comfort zones, they asked about bears, devoured their first taste of S’mores, learned how to fish, enjoyed boat rides… many firsts! Though the adventures brought laughs and happy times, no amount of fun could set Sarah free from the grip of addition.
Alcohol eventually took its toll, taking over Sarah’s life. Sarah reached out to her GKC family and admitted her need for help. Willing, yet reluctant, Sarah agreed to join The Lovelady Center Program toward recovery, entrusting her two girls to her mother’s care. Community members reached out to family and friends through a simple Facebook post requesting help with admission fees for Sarah’s entry into the program, and within a couple of hours, enough funding had been raised to cover the cost. Many who contributed were motivated to give as they were once in the same position. Some, still today, follow up to see how Sarah and her family are doing. God did an amazing thing….
In less than three hours of walking into The Lovelady Center, Sarah walked out. She walked out because she could not handle being away from her little girls. However, she walked out as equally terrified as she had felt when she entered, knowing if she did not beat alcohol, it would beat her. She knew she needed a miracle and in those three hours, because of money strangers shared that gave her entry into that place, God used the time to change the person she was when she walked in. Why would people she would never meet care so much about her future and make it possible to take these steps? Why would people sit beside her, listening to her weep, as she reeked of alcohol and sweat?? What kind of crazy love was Jesus giving her through Himself and His people?! More than broken, she was desperate for healing, for freedom, for mercy, for forgiveness, for grace. She knew what the Bible said about being cherished, loved, valuable, created for purpose, chosen, called, etc, BUT she had to learn how to walk moment to moment in all these truths. HOW?? She walked out begging God to deliver her from her addiction to alcohol, proclaiming victory over her situation, and trusting that the Lord would do a mighty work… and He did. God delivered her that day.
Sarah never drank again after that day. To God be the Glory – Great Things He Has Done!
God was not finished with Sarah. She was accepted and enrolled in Work Faith Birmingham, a program specializing in helping adults in transition develop confidence and life skills to become employable – essentially helping them build a new life through work and faith.
Through Work Faith Birmingham, Sarah grew in her walk with the Lord, built long-standing friendships, and developed further life skills, gradually increasing her confidence.
Not long after graduating from the Work Faith program, Sarah enrolled in Jefferson State Community College, completing her GED while working two part time jobs. Sarah saved enough money to buy a car and no longer needed to rely on others for a ride.
Today, Sarah is a certified nursing assistant at East Glen Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center!
God. Isn’t He so faithful?! God not only delivered Sarah from addiction, but restored her faith, hope, trust and confidence in the Lord. Word on the street… June 29, 2016, was a special day – Sarah and her girls were baptized!
Sarah recently notified Grace Klein Community that her family no longer needs a food box and would like for Grace Klein Community to share her box with another family in need. Who knows?! Maybe Sarah will meet someone that she can encourage as she delivers a box of food to another mama who needs it? She will be able to share what God has done and remind her new friend, “God did a miracle in my life and He can do the same in yours.”
We are better together! When community comes together to love on each other, in often the craziest of ways, God beautifully orchestrates what can seem almost impossible in man’s eyes. Through the sacrificial servanthood of others, giving of their time to love strangers into family, and reaching out on behalf of the broken… a family was restored in Jesus name.
If you browse the “about” section of Sarah’s Facebook profile you will so perfectly discover this simple and profound statement for why she has a Facebook: “To Give God all the Honor and Praise!” Amen!
“Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” – Isaiah 12:5
* Names changed out of respect for the family