Jane Aubrey

Yesterday was the most awesome day.

It started in church two weeks ago when I met two girls from the Jane Aubrey House. (The Jane Aubrey House is the first Recovery Home that Grace purchased in January of 2016.) One of the girls was brand new to the home. She was young, 18, and had been there two days. I asked her name and wrote it on the board in our office. I prayed for her. I told the rest of the team about her.

I saw her worshiping. She was new to all this, but wore her heart on her sleeve and sang to the God she hoped was real.

Two weeks later, after a powerful message on forgiveness, and after watching several people get baptized, the band played “O come to the Altar, the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.”

She came forward. I happened to be up front and saw her right away. She was crying, ready and believing in Jesus as Lord. She couldn’t stay after service because the other girls were waiting to go to an NA meeting. I gave her a Bible and got her number.

Long story short, we met last night at the Jane Aubrey House. She told me her story, and how she was ready to confess Christ. We prayed, angels rejoiced, and another precious daughter of the King was adopted into the family.

We are coming up on three years since Jane Aubrey died. Looking back on her story, I’m reminded that what we see as the end, isn’t the end. God writes the most amazing true stories, and makes beauty from ashes. Jane’s story is still being told, for his honor and eternal glory. I am forever changed.

If you’d like to see Jane Aubrey’s story, as told by her mom, watch this video.

Her Burn Letter

This letter was written by a real young women who lives at the Jane Aubrey House. #reasonsforHopeFirst

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Dearest You,

Well hello again. I wasn’t expecting to ever see or speak to you again, but fortunately for me and unlike many others you’ve met, I have the chance to say a few final words. Plus I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately – the good, bad, the happy and sad. I sometimes find myself fantasizing about you and reminiscing on all the times we used to spend together.

Remember the first time we met? Mikey introduced us and he spoke so highly of you. He told me that I would like you – but he also warned me not to get too close. Not that it had made much difference; I became infatuated with you almost instantly. The way you were able to make me forget about all of my problems and how you filled my soul with warmth and confidence. I tried to control the infatuation I had with you and take Mikey’s advise on not getting too close by only seeing you a couple times a week – but just like everyone else who has met you – I fell a victim under your spell.

How about the first time we got intimate, do you remember that? Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love you anymore than I did, you gave me a rush I’ve never experienced before; the kind that took over my entire mind, body, and soul. I’ll never be able to forget that feeling or get the picture out of my head. It’s like you won’t let me forget it. You haunt me in my dreams. For the prick of my skin, the blood in the syringe, my head falling back in slow motion as I exhale that calming almost still breath. Only I don’t make it out alive, so these dreams are more like nightmares, you see?

And what’s it been now, almost three years since we met? Sheesh time sure flew by huh? I never realized how much I was changing as each day went by, but looking back now, everything is so different. Nothing ever seemed as bad when we were together. I thought that as long as I had you, nothing could really go that wrong…but it did.

You tore me down and took the best of me, you took what was left of me – my confidence, my self-worth, my happiness, my friends, family, and my home – leaving me sad, broken, and alone. Anything I valued was consumed by you; our relationship was just one big catch-22. Everything in which you first gave to me you had eventually took back from me and more. There’s one thing that’s been bothering me, that’s been weighing down on me for sure – you took Mikey from me too – you know the one who I mentioned before; I’m still mourning his death and it’s another big reason why I’m letting go.

Saying goodbye to you isn’t all that easy, but at the same time it’s what I had to do; and now I’m taking the chance to start my life over new. That’s right, I’m breaking those chains you had holding me hostage to you. So if you are wondering how I’m doing, don’t ask me; just let me be – because in the first time in a long time, I finally feel free.

Addiction and the Capstone Celebration

Friday night I went to a Capstone Celebration for people in recovery. This is kind of like a graduation from treatment, but they don’t call it that because addiction never really lets you graduate…you just reach milestones of learning tools to live beyond it. I saw a couple dozen beautiful people who struggle hard with addiction but have taken steps to turn their lives around. They had received inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment and reached a sobriety milestone. Two of those people were young women from the Jane Aubrey House.

One of those girls, Amanda, is pregnant.

It made me think how far addiction’s reach is. And more importantly, how far recovery’s reach is. Amanda found hope at the Jane Aubrey House, that hope extends to her parents, her siblings, her friends and beyond…to her unborn child, and her future children.

This stirs me deep inside. To know that what I gave to, what this church is doing, is reaching so far. God is changing the direction of lives for eternity. Thank God for the Jane Aubrey House. Thank God for hope. Thank God for the way He brings us in, and uses us for His glory.

Five Things You May Not Know About Celebrate Recovery

Passionate people come hungry to learn. Passionate people are contagious. Their faith can’t help but overflow as they pour out what God is pouring into them. They are purpose driven. Passionate people thrive on seeing other people thrive. Passionate people are absolutely magnetic.

I visited Celebrate Recovery (CR) for the first time last week and I can tell you that you can’t help but be drawn to the people and the movement that is happening there. Though I was familiar with many aspects of the program, there were parts that honestly surprised me. The parts that you can only see for yourself.. firsthand.. rather than hearing about them. Here’s a quick bird’s eye view:

1) Honesty in struggle connects people quickly.

It is often the case that people think that if others knew what they had done or what they’re currently doing, they wouldn’t be able to handle it. Maybe they’d be judged? Maybe they’d be told they’re not welcome in a “Christ-centered” program?! This is a place created specifically so that those who take the first step to come are met with an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. We can’t fix you, but we know who can. Scoot on in next to me and let’s do this together. The connection is tangible and the sense of belonging is instant.

2) It is both Christ-centered and a safe place to come as you are spiritually.

I did not get the impression whatsoever that anyone was going to take a holier-than-though stance with anyone else. Everybody is rowing in the same boat of admitting their struggles and also admitting they are works in progress. This is a biblically-centered program so Jesus will be present in the conversation, the teaching, the testimonies and the steps. However, Jesus will also be present in the people who love you where you are, instead of casting stones to condemn you if you’re still figuring out where you are spiritually.

3) It is just as much for the family member’s support, as it is for the ones struggling with hurts, habits or hang-ups.

Many of you may be familiar with AA and Al-Anon. One is for the one struggling and the latter for the people affected. I am encouraged to see that CR is for everyone. I think someone whose spouse is in a dark place would be helped by going even if their mate wasn’t open to it yet or ever. What you find when you walk through the doors is that we could all benefit from CR as we all have our issues. We all struggle with being defined by things done to us or choices we made along the way. Knowing that we cannot save or fix our loved ones, sometimes getting in a place of healing ourselves and taking the first step could be what eventually leads them to walk through the door alongside us.

4) Recovering physically (such as quitting drinking) is a goal, but not the ultimate goal.

Though there is a great mood of celebration as chips are given out for everything from 24 hours to decades of having recovered physically, it is clear that everyone’s recovery is without definitive end. Spiritually and emotionally there are phases of recovery that continue for years after the last drop of alcohol is drunk or the last day of depression is felt. We can’t forget that people are coming to find hope for so much more than addiction. Anger, sexual integrity, depression etc. No matter what it is, we are not suddenly “out of the woods” because a behavior is no longer present.

5) While the thought you enter with at first may be, “I’m not sure I’m ready for anyone to know about this.” The thought you leave with is often, “I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner!”

There is a great verse in Romans that says: “that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12). When you enter a space where people are being set free from bondage, where people are opening up their hearts and their lives to each other, where they can begin to see God’s power and promises overtake the lies they’ve been believing…you just can’t help but want to go back for seconds. Load my life up with some of that!

In conclusion, I just want to say that I’m glad I visited. It was time well spent. Whether it be Celebrate Recovery or the HopeFirst initiative that is raising money to purchase recovery homes throughout Washoe County to help people with addictions find hope and healing, I am excited that our church has looked at our community and decided to punch addiction in the throat.

Why I believe in HopeFirst – Ashley’s Story

I started attending services in 2013 after my fiancé lost his life to suicide and addiction at the age of 28. He left my son, Chase, who was 3 at the time, and me to pick up the pieces. He didn’t mean to hurt us – he was very sick with his addiction. Being the fiancé, I was left to emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially fend for my young child and myself. I went back to work (sole proprietor) the day after his service and had no choice but to get out of bed every day and pretend to be okay. One foot in front of the other and a day at a time I made my way through the ups and downs of grief. My voice was barely a whisper for weeks and a forced smile hid the brokenness deep within my heart and soul. Shortly thereafter, I began to attend Grace. At first it was every once in a while, and in time my Sundays at Grace became more and more consistent. I just came in, and took a seat ☺. Grace was one of the only places I felt at peace during a time of such turmoil. I would check Chase into the Grace Kids and find myself a place to hide in the back. Grace was one of the only places I felt I could be honest with myself about my pain. I cried myself through many services. I strongly connected with the worship music and with Pastor Dan’s message. Many times I have felt that he was speaking directly to me.

Grace was and still is my safe haven. As a small child I remember attending a church like Grace. I remember a time around the age of four where I went into my bedroom closet and asked Jesus into my heart over and over again. I also attended Christian summer camps as a pre-teen. I believe that this foundation is what got me back to the church in a time where I needed guidance back to Jesus. When friends, acquaintances or whomever question my faith or share with me that they are non-believers, I always ask them one question. “When things in life go badly, as they sometimes do, what do you tell your children when you don’t have the answers? Without faith, how do you explain all of the bad things in this world? How do you get through that without faith.” If I didn’t have the foundation from my childhood, I don’t believe I would have made it through that challenging time in my life. I certainly don’t know how I would have explained it to my son. For this reason, I am very passionate about HopeFirst. I believe in the values Grace is helping to instill in our children. I believe in setting the foundation from a young age so that later in life, when they’re a 26 year old girl living with an alcohol-addicted fiancé, and her intuition is telling her that something is very wrong, that she may turn to prayer for the first time in years. I believe in HopeFirst so that when her heart is so broken and guilt ridden and she has nowhere else to go, she will turn to that foundation of her childhood and find her way back into the church and her faith will slowly begin mending her broken heart.

Addiction took the love of my life at the young age of 28. My foundation in faith in Jesus is what saved mine.

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Ashley is first and foremost mother to Chase who’s 8 years old. She runs her own business and has attended Grace for 3 years.

Take Action

On Sunday September 25, we showed a video of a guy named Jeff. He struggles with addiction, but had lived sober for 15 years. He had a wife and four kids, a house and a good job. After 15 years of sobriety, he slipped. He thought he could use again and fell into a downward spiral of drug use and illegal activity to support that drug use. After several months on that path, he was arrested. That saved his life.

When we showed that video at Grace, there was someone at church who knew Jeff. He had worked with him in the construction business but didn’t know of Jeff’s struggles with addiction. He reached out to Grace to find out how to connect with Jeff and the two connected by phone. Jeff is meeting with this Grace guy soon, and the hope is that he can help Jeff make amends with his former employer, and support him through whatever’s next.

This busy guy took action. He wants to help Jeff walk with God. He didn’t run from this possibly awkward relationship. He ran to it. No matter the consequence of Jeff’s relapse, this guy will support Jeff in his recovery. He’s taking the time to love Jeff like Jesus.

This is sacrificial living. Another #ReasonforHopeFirst.

Watch Jeff’s story here.


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Karen is a wife to Dave and mom to Laura Lee, Daniel and daughter-in-law Audrey. She’s the Creative Director at Grace and has been involved at Grace for over 20 years.