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Lindsay woke with a start. She was numb with cold. Gradually, her mind grasped that she was lying on the hard ground along the riverbed that had been “home” for the past few nights.

And then came the flood of memories. Her mom not noticing or caring about where her children were going or what they were up to. Her dad, with a drink in his hand, sitting for hours on end. She remembered craving his attention as a little girl, and how he masked his pain from the horrors of Vietnam. Most days, she had felt invisible. No one knew her heartache.

From the outside, her family seemed perfect. But with no one at home to care about what was happening in her life, Lindsay had begun looking for approval and acceptance elsewhere.

And she began a painful journey that stripped Lindsay of everything: her home, her children, her dignity and self-worth.

At 13, with no one to stop her, Lindsay began experimenting with drugs. “I ended up in a group home by the time I was 16,” Lindsay says. “But it didn’t help my addiction and it didn’t heal the damage done to my heart.”

And when her dad died, she fell deeper into the spiral of her addiction.

She also fell into the arms of a man who became toxic. Eventually, she lost control of her life, and of her two young daughters. Lindsay knew she couldn’t go on the way she was living. Lindsay recalls, “I was trying to survive digging through trash cans and dumpsters, getting bottles and cans to live through the day.”

With little hope left, Lindsay went through not one, but two rehab programs to get clean. But she still didn’t have anywhere to live after the programs ended. So, Lindsay turned to Orange County Rescue Mission.

And for the first time in a long time, Lindsay found the courage to “let go.”

At the Rescue Mission, Lindsay is starting over. Her first step was to let go of everything that was destroying her life — and not just the drugs.

“I had to let go of everyone I knew,” Lindsay says. “They weren’t good for me.”

Today, Lindsay is reunited with both of her daughters and deepening her relationship with God. She is even training to run a half marathon!

“The thing that runs through my mind is, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Lindsay shares. “I was living in a riverbed, eating out of dumpsters . . . now I’m clean and sober, have my two children with me, a roof over my head. I’m accomplishing things and setting goals and running marathons and getting skills training. I’m going somewhere. I’m not stuck anymore.”

Because of you, hurting and homeless neighbors can break the destructive cycle they’re in and find hope to begin again!

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