Debi was raised in a Jewish household. In her words, “we weren’t religious, just culturally we were Jewish.” Debi had two older brothers, and she was adopted at birth by her Mom and Dad. “I grew up in Savannah, and we had a very normal life. I was a Daddy’s Girl.”
At 25, Debi was a single, divorced mom raising two kids and working three jobs. That’s when things started to go sideways in Debi’s life.
When Debi was 40, here father died of Alzheimer’s, ending “five years of hell” as Debi watched her beloved Dad fade away into someone she didn’t even know. Those five years of hell were the catalyst for Debi’s introduction to pot, and eventually crack cocaine. Debi lost her home and moved in with her mother. The drugs would get real bad, and then she’d rebound, but she always returned to the drugs. For 9 years, Debi’s life spiraled downward as she somehow remained functional while working two jobs and doing crack. Her son had moved in with his Dad to finish high school, so Debi was on her own, and with no one dependent upon her, she found what she needed in the addiction to crack.
Debi’s wake up call came in May 10, 2013. Her son’s girlfriend called and said, “Come quick!” Her son had injected himself with LSD, and was convulsing on the floor of a drug house. “Call an ambulance!” was a worthless effort, since no ambulance would have ever approached a drug house. Debi took him to the ER, and called her Ex-Husband and daughter. “He’s unresponsive,” was all she could say.
Debi’s son was in the ICU for 4 days. At some point, when her son’s body started shutting down, someone had called a local minister named Clyde Campbell. Campbell came right away, gathered the family around Debi’s son, and prayed for him to be restored. God answered Clyde Campbell’s prayer, and Debi’s son was released after 10 days in the hospital.
I need help
Seeing her son on death’s door made Debi realized that she needed help, as well as her son. She called Clyde Campbell to seek his advice. Clyde pointed Debi to Atlanta Mission, and she and her son both applied to get the help they needed to get their lives back. Little did she know that her journey to restoration was just beginning.
Her son was accepted and immediately entered Atlanta Mission’s PDP, or Professional Development Program. Debi, however, was scared to take that step. After three months of knowing God was calling her into Atlanta Mission to get help, Debi bottomed out completely.
Debi and a couple of friends (also known as “people who will get high with you”) did so much cocaine that they ran out. They had spent all their money on the drugs, and had no food or anything to drink. As they sat there wallowing in their coke-induced misery, they began to list off the things that they really wanted to have, like a PB&J sandwich, among other of life’s simple pleasantries. Eventually, the dreaming about what they really wanted ended as they passed out.
While they slept off their buzz, the elderly man who lived next door went grocery shopping. Apparently, he had heard everything they longed for in their stoned haze, and he went out and bought it all for them. They woke up to bags of groceries waiting for them. But the joy of provision was short-lived. Debi found herself in jail the following day, but she clearly heard and understood that God was trying to get her attention. He had succeeded.
Debi attended every church service that was offered at the jail, and while she was in jail, she accepted Jesus Christ as her savior. Having been raised only culturally in the Jewish tradition, Debi had never been “churched”, and she had little knowledge of what her new commitment even meant.
But she knew that God had a very special message for her. “My parole officer said I’d be getting out, but it wouldn’t be until the following week. But as I sat there in my cell, I knew God had a different plan, and that I’d be out of jail within an hour.” Sure enough, just as real as the groceries from the elderly man, 45 minutes later, Debi was released. “My P.O. didn’t even know it.”
Her daughter and ex-husband picked her up and drover her to Atlanta, where she first visited her son at The Potter’s House, near Jefferson, GA. She had finally gotten over her fear of stepping into Atlanta Mission, and called every morning to see if she had been accepted. Finally, she was accepted, but entering Atlanta Mission at that time would mean missing her daughter’s wedding.
Just In Time
Once again, Debi knew God had something planned. She was right. After one week at the women’s shelter, Debi was kicked out because she missed a bed check after 10pm. “I was in my bed. I never left my bed. I was there!” But Debi failed the bed check, which meant immediate eviction from the shelter.
Just in time to be there to see her daughter get married on October 5th.
On the following Monday, October 7th, Debi re-applied for admission into My Sister’s House, and was accepted. On that day, Debi also stopped smoking after 34 years. “I never had any withdrawals. God has completely delivered me from smoking.”
Debi graduated after a year at My Sister’s House, and entered the one-year Ministry Training program, but was instead hired as an employee by Atlanta Mission. Today, Debi is the Vocational Task Supervisor at My Sister’s House, overseeing the work of all the women who have been enrolled into the program. Each is assigned a job at the center. Debi’s son is getting married soon, and her daughter is now a mom of two.
“I’m going to be ministering to His people.”