I used to dread the stillness of the night. It was just a stark reminder that another day had come and gone without hearing the sweetest sound of my children calling me “Momma,” feeling their warmth next to me as they snuggled up in my bed, and smelling the graham cracker smell of their hair. I used to lay wide awake at night, no longer exhausted from cleaning up toys and messes throughout a place we used to call home, reliving memories of bath time and sharing snacks. During the past three years I would have given anything to hear the sounds of their laughter and even their screaming instead of the chaos inside those prison walls.
You see three years ago I was a drug addict. Three long years ago I let my drug addiction convince me that I would just drop my children off at my sister’s house for one more night to give me one last night to get high and then I’d be able to get back to being a mom. Just one more night. Before that night I used to be a supermom, raising two small children on my own, both Mom and Dad to them, a sober mom, a mom who was always there. But that one night turned into a week, then a month. Four months later I was sitting in a hotel room, surrounded by people I didn’t know, trying to numb the pain of the last memory of my babies, trying to forget that I had abandoned them.
Why was I in such a hurry to get nowhere? Oh how I wish I would have held them longer, looked one more time into my six-month old daughter’s icy blue eyes as I fed her, her fist clenched tightly to me so I wouldn’t let go of her. I always loved the simplicity and the beauty of those shared moments. I often wondered during those long nights in prison what my two-year old son must have been thinking. Was he blaming himself for my leaving him? Were my sweet little children crying themselves to sleep every night missing me?
Somehow, I had myself convinced that they were better off with their aunt and that’s why I dropped them off that night. In a long string of bad decisions, that was probably one of the better ones I made. My sister was a good mom with two children of her own and she would never do what I did to them. She would always be there. There was no doubt in my mind that she would take care of them like I would or even better.
At that point in my life, I was so far down in a hole and I wasn’t seeing any light. Granted, I had dug that hole myself. I wanted my children back, but I wasn’t anywhere near ready to let go of my addiction. I can’t tell you how many times I begged myself to walk away from the drugs, but the need for them was too strong.
Finally, one day I hit my knees and begged God to help me, to save me. I knew I had to fight for my life and I thought I was finally ready. I knew that if I continued to walk this path I’d wind up alone and dead and probably sooner than later with the toxic lifestyle I was leading.
Now you have to know that sometimes God will not help you in the way you imagined, but as I have learned, His way is so much better than any way I might have come up with. Once you are sincere in the asking for rescue, be prepared. Needless to say I just didn’t wake up the next morning and poof my addiction was gone. Here’s what happened next in the journey of my young life.
I woke up in a jail cell four days later and I was not upset. No, in fact I had an overwhelming feeling of comfort and safety. In that moment I teamed up with God. He lead me to repentance. I spent every single day of the next two years allowing Him into my heart, allowing Him to transform me into the mother He knew that I could be.
I won’t lie and tell you that it’s been easy. Every day in prison for the next two and half years was a struggle. During that time I only saw my children twice. The devil gave me a million reasons why I shouldn’t be with my children. Remember, the devil is the great deceiver and an accuser. He convinces you that you can get away with your sin and then after he accuses you relentlessly. He will go to great lengths to keep you from overcoming your guilt and shame and he will tell you that you are not worthy of forgiveness. But the Bible gives us a way to overcome those tactics. I kept my focus on God. I moved closer to Him every single day and He gave me two reasons, they call me “Momma.” Every day I prayed for God to fill their hearts with my love.
The day I was released in June 2020 is a day that is seared into my memory as a promise that God fulfilled in my life. Reliving that moment when my young son ran through the parking lot into my arms and then held tight to me in the car as he brought his Momma home, that will always be a reminder that God is in control. He will fulfill my heart’s desire as I fulfill His Word and His will in my life. Make no mistake, I still have a long road to getting back on my feet and getting my children back, but knowing I can see both of my children now and inhale that graham cracker smell in their hair anytime, that gives me the will to fight for my life.
By Kevie Shay Hyland, 30 July 2020