Her Story: Julie

I grew up in Colorado in an extremely abusive home. On top of that, I was the fat kid, bullied at school. To cope, I started using drugs at the age of 9, and it went downhill from there. By age 13, I was running away from home. My first suicide attempt was at age 15.

I was sent to live with my father, where I endured another kind of abuse…and I broke a little inside. Then I had a miscarriage. The police said they could not protect me, so at age 17 they emancipated me.

I swore I would be different, but my story became like so many others. I went through one abusive relationship after another, a failed marriage, another suicide attempt. I was a junkie for 12 years, carried a gun, drove a stolen vehicle, and couch-surfed. Then I found my friend dead in a motel. It was a wake-up call.

I realized that at some point in your life you have to stop blaming and forgive, and become accountable for your life choices. So I turned myself in and did some time in prison. When I got out, I took some college classes, stayed sober, and got a job. But I was frustrated because I could not afford a house of my own and no one would rent to me because I had a felony. So I moved to Washington, which is more forgiving of felons. But my health took a turn for the worse, and I ended up homeless again.

I thank God for Jubilee, where I was given another chance. At Jubilee I have the time and place to sort out my trauma in a safe, loving, and nurturing way. I feel love when I walk through our doors, and I feel welcome here. Never in my life have I felt wanted like I do at Jubilee—not treated like trash the way I grew up, but like a diamond in the rough.

I’m taking care of myself now, seeing a doctor, getting mental health care, going to the gym, eating better. I volunteer at my church and in the neighborhood. I have learned a lot through Jubilee’s amazing classes. I can honestly say I probably would have died by now if Jubilee had not taken me in with such caring. I am so grateful to have my life back. I love our community and I love being a Jubilee sister.

A piece of art that inspires Julie.