I am seeing miraculous changes in my life.  One area that has really touched my heart is that God talked to me about my father passing away.  He has shown me a time when I became fearful of diving into a relationship because I was afraid of that person dying like my father, so I would isolate myself from relationships and life altogether.  But the Lord is taking away all the fear of losing someone close to me again. Proverbs 3:25 says not to be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes, and verse 26 says this: For the Lord will be your confidence and keep your foot from being caught.

I’m sleeping better and having better dreams.  I am finding that I do not lose my temper as easily.  I feel now that when I worship I can do it and not have the urge to look back to the person behind me to see if they are looking at me or wonder what people are thinking about me.  The Lord has set me free from my pride in a lot of aspects in what I do and the way I think. I am deeply meditating on the Word and things are jumping out at me.  I find myself constantly, whatever state I am in, where ever I am, always praying.  I feel alive and loved so much when the Holy Spirit is living deep inside of me.

The Lord God can set you free from the worst thing you think no one can deal with. He loves you with all His heart.  He created you and He loves everything about you.  I am thankful for all that the Lord is doing in me.

- Shawn, current resident

Before I knew the Lord, I struggled with many issues. I got into drugs, was admitted to a hospital twice for prescription drugs, and wanted to commit suicide. My life was heading in a direction that was going to kill me.

I knew that I needed help, and the Lord brought me to Abba’s House. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and began to grow. God has really changed my life, and I don’t know what I would do without God in my life. Now I am a completely changed person!

- John, 2010 graduate

I am one of six kids, and my mom was in her early to mid- twenties when we were all born. We lived with an aunt when we were young, and the rejection and sadness I felt grew as I got older.

I soon began to look for ways to escape the hurt I had experienced. I looked to drugs, sex, and alcohol, and I soon found out their escape wears off. I would find myself doing all I could to get my fix of the drugs and alcohol.

I was court ordered to Abba’s House because of a MIP. I came there angry, sad, and depressed. The Lord got ahold of me a month later and showed me He is the only way that He could heal my past. He gave me purpose and I am excited to be alive!

- Jenny, 2010 graduate

Before coming to the Lord, I was struggling with the heavy weight of depression. I believe that a main cause of my bout with depression was because of my lack of understanding of how much God loves me. I tried to find the love I thirsted for in the world, its people, substances, and mainly its music. But real, living water was the last thing on my list.

In John 4, Jesus said to a woman at a well that whoever drank of its water would thirst again. He then stated that the water He could give would spring up in them, welling up to eternal life. I decided to try Jesus, and He is so good to me. I am forever going to be full of the joy that he’s given to me. I know He loves me and knows every hair on my head, and He sees my tears and hears my every cry for help.

- Tim, 2011 graduate

I struggled with feeling rejected as I grew up, and I made it my responsibility to take care of the family and fix the things that went wrong. As I started high school, I pulled away from my family and gravitated towards friends who I thought would make me feel loved and accepted, but only made my wounds deeper. I began to steal, do drugs, and got into bad relationships.

Thankfully, my parents realized that I needed help and so we came to Abba’s House. God has given me a hope for my future where I thought there was none. He has shown me that I am worth everything He ever did for me even when I mess up. I now know that I have a destiny and it is not something I will have to walk out alone.

- Alyssa, 2010 Graduate

When I was young, I found out that I was adopted, and it broke my heart. I felt rejected by my birth mother and like no one loved or wanted me, which made me angry at myself for even existing. I took my anger out on my parents, which created a big distance between us.

After many years of trying to please people to find some sense of worth, I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so I covered it up with drugs, alcohol, lying, and stealing. Then I came to Abba’s House and realized that God has a better plan for me now and for my future. I now feel that I have value. I understand that I have been twice chosen and I believe that my adoption is the greatest gift the Lord has given my family.

- Jessica, 2011 graduate

About my ninth grade year, I had started to hang around the wrong crowd, and started dating a guy who was a drug dealer. After a couple of months into this relationship I started smoking pot, became addicted to prescription pills, and after that high started to wear off, I became very suicidal. I was also very depressed and ended up in the hospital because of an overdose. At that point my mom knew I needed help, so I was in and out of different counselors until my mom heard about Abba’s House.

I was admitted into Abba’s House in April of 2005. My second or third day there I gave my life to the Lord. It wasn’t just a place where I changed but a place where my whole family changed at the same time. We walked it through together. One of the big things that the Lord worked in me was that He showed me who I was in Christ and that my real identity is in Him and not in the world. He also brought my mom and me closer together. We couldn’t stand to be around each other, but now the Lord restored my relationship with my mom and we are able to actually have a conversation that didn’t included yelling. He showed me how to love her in a way that I never have before.

After graduating the program I went to Traverse City Christian School and continued outpatient counseling for about six months. After I finished, I still continued to visit Abba’s House and hang out with the girls. I worked at the Hope Chest Thrift Shop and filled in on occasion as junior house staff. After graduating from high school, I began attending Bible school. I still walk close to the Lord and I praise Him daily for the healings that He did in my life and in my family’s life.

- Allison, 2005 Graduate

As a divorced mother of two I had been crying out to God for some time for help. I had been a single mom since my children were both under 2 years old and the many years of singleness and trying to live a life according to the world’s standards had taken its toll on both myself and my children. When my daughter was 14 she overdosed on prescription pills and we found ourselves at Abba’s House looking for help. She and her friends had been stealing pills and taking them to school and mixing them together. She was failing 9th grade, on anti-depressants, hanging around with an unhealthy crowd and becoming involved with boys. Even though my small family had recently become Christians we didn’t really even know what that meant and our struggles only seemed to have gotten worse.

At Abba’s House, we were able to each work through our individual issues of abandonment, rejection, unforgiveness and pain and our relationship as mother and daughter was restored. We learned more about the Lord in the months we spent there than some do in a lifetime. His gracious patience and his merciful love were reflected in each person we came to know and love at Abba’s House. I was fortunate enough that, after my daughter graduated, I was able to join the staff at Abba’s House and not only continue to heal and grow but share in their ministry of healing and helping others.

My daughter has grown into a beautiful young woman. She has attended Bible School in Kansas City and was married in 2009, and has a beautiful son.

As I look back I can see the Lords glorious hand and protection guiding us down the path to Abba’s House and how He answered, and continues to answer, my every prayer.

- Mary, Mother of 2005 graduate

When I got into junior high, I started to get into trouble with my friends and slowly got into drugs and partying. It started going downhill from there and I found myself on a road to destruction. I was stuck in situations and relationships that I couldn’t get out of and at home everything was falling apart. I had no sense of life and found no reason to live, until I came to Abba’s House.

I had never grown up in a Christian home, so anything to do with God was all new to me. I accepted Christ shortly after I came in and have never been the same since. I’m still on a road, but instead of it leading to death, it’s leading to a prosperous life and I can look forward to where it’s going. Jesus has set me free from my addictions, my bondages, my fear, and many other things that I have no room to share! I again have a joy and a reason to wake up in the morning because I know what He did in my life and He can use me and my testimony to help bring others to the freedom I now have. It’s all because of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

- Lindsay, 2008 Graduate

Even with rough beginning and the feelings of not wanting to be there, Abba’s House was an amazing blessing. Through the journey there, I changed both spiritually and physically. I went into the program with little knowledge of God, and by no means believing in Him. I claimed to be a ‘Christian’, not knowing what that meant, thinking it meant I was a good person and believed in a Creator. I went in without a plan, future, or hope. I had purchased an airline ticket to Hell and was in flight. Every night I was drinking and getting drunk, throwing parties at my house, getting high, stealing from my parents, or sneaking out of the house. I had no relationship with my family and was in full-blown rebellion. No one could reach me besides my friends, and the influence they had on me was not a good one. Although I didn’t go to Abba’s House willingly, it was a divine appointment. God wanted me there, and met me there.

The program was a new concept for me, along with all the biblical lingo and knowledge everyone else had. I felt out of place at first, but after a month, the Lord saved me and called me to Him. While at Abba’s House, I watched my family grow closer together in unity, I watched tendencies in my life fade away, along with generational curses and word curses falling off of me. My heart day by day was getting more and more captured in the love of God and wanted a deeper relationship with him. I found myself changing and no longer desiring the things of my old life. Parts of the old me tried to rise up occasionally, but then slowly died off knowing the newness of life on me was going to win. I dealt with lying, words curses, pride, a desire to finish school in my hometown, unbelief, being quick to speak, and many other things. The counsel and guidance was amazing from well trained staff who were trained by God Himself to love me through tough circumstances. And best of all, the guidance was rooted in a solid biblical foundation and belief.

Also, I was a whole year behind in school. I arrived with 7 credits, just barely having enough to be a sophomore, in my junior year. During my 14 months there, I was able to accomplish three years of school and graduate. Looking back at it all it was the very grace of God that I finished.

I owe Abba’s House my life, being a sanctuary and pocket of mercy from God. Without God being in that ministry and having them people in it so willingly take me in, I could possibly not be here. Now I am at a Bible college in Kansas City. I am desperately pursuing God and diving deep into Who He is while I am here and I can tell you the things I have learned at Abba’s House are very impacting. They gave me a great foundation to build upon and go on in life with.

- Steve, 2007 Graduate

In May, 2003 I arrived home one afternoon from work to find a Michigan State Police car in my driveway. Since I had not been called at my office, or on my cell phone, I was surprised to say the least, for the need of a police officer to be engaged in conversation with my daughter as I entered my home. My emotions of confusion soon changed to compassion for my daughter’s plight, outrage toward a sexual predator intruder, frustration at the ineptness of the police investigators, outrage that my daughter would intentionally lie to not only us as her parents, but to the police, and finally perplexed that my wife and I were not aware of things which had gotten out of hand without our knowledge. All of this was unraveling before our eyes over a period of months. We finally came to the realization that we were a family out of control with few options, and fewer places to turn for real assistance.

We had been aware of Abba’s House’s stellar program, and knew how good it was … for other families who needed such help. And now we found ourselves as one of “those” families in desperate need. Within a short time, we were counseled as a family, and shortly thereafter, we determined that the residential program was the best “treatment” for our daughter.

During the first weeks, we found ourselves breaking down as a family, as we came to the further realization that our family had deep emotional needs, which up until then had been viewed, internally and externally, as normal family behavior. During the first several weeks and months of family counseling, we started to recognize this was not a treatment program just for my daughter, but also a reconciliation program for us as a family.

My daughter quickly acclimated to the “rules and regulations”, thriving within the structured environment within the Abba’s House program. She was able to build friendships, which she still maintains today. In addition, she was able to finish her high school academic requirements a year ahead of her previous high school classmates, which she had before entering the Abba’s House program. She was able to assist the teacher as a tutor, helping many of the other residents of Abba’s House. And most importantly, she was able to rebuild close intimate loving relationships with both her mother and me.

This is not to say that my daughter immediately changed for the good, became perfect, finished school, and graduated from the Abba’s House program in a timely manner. As a family we watched as changes continually took place within ourselves, with the occasional reversions and step backs which plague everyone on a recovery and healing process. We as a family finished the residential treatment phase of the program in eighteen months. While there were times we questioned the duration, we never questioned the positive impact the program was having, has had, and continues to have upon our family.

They say that hindsight is 20/20. Our family completed the Abba’s House program over two years ago, and we can still say that we have been thoroughly blessed by Abba’s House. We are very appreciative that Abba’s House existed for our family’s crisis. Not only did Abba’s House provide a place of safety and healing, it also provided a place of rescue. Without this program, our family was headed down a dangerous path, which may have led my daughter into drugs, alcohol, socially unacceptable behavior, and maybe prison, if not death. To say we are not appreciative would be an understatement. And we are aware of other families which have completed the program, and they likewise are demonstratively positive concerning their experiences, and with their outcomes, as well.
Today, our family is emotionally connected and communicating. We still have problems, but unlike our previous experience, we are now working through difficulties, and today we have the tools to face each other in acceptance, forgiveness, and love.

- Roy, Father of 2005 graduate

There is a wide gulf of difference from who I was to who I am now because of the changes that have taken place in my life over the last nine months. I have been made a new creation in God.

I came to Abba’s House in despair of life. To me, my future was nonexistent. I had been in and out of two psychiatric wards in the last year and put on so many different medications that I was numb and simply surviving day to day. I had been diagnosed with many labels, but the one that controlled me to the most was the title “Multiple Personality Disorder”. The only identity I had was “identities”. Because of traumas in my life, I had gone into multiple ways of abusing myself, mind and body. The Lord has used Abba’s House to be the one thing that could bring healing in my life. Within three months of being at the house, I was healed of my self abuse and set free from depression that had been over my life since childhood. The voices that had consumed me as long as I could remember were gone. I was taken off all the medications that were prescribed and have not needed anything since!

God has used this place to lead me back to Him and to my “real” self, which is found in God and God alone. He has set me free, and has used the staff here at Abba’s House to bring me back to life. I have dreams, and I know now that I have a hope and a future. I know who I am, and before I could not tell anyone that. Changes have not only taken place in me, but through Abba’s House God has brought restoration to my family and has healed (and is continuing to heal) so many of the rifts that were caused by the pain of the past.

I cannot thank Abba’s House enough for taking the time to pray, listen and lead me back to God and my parents. I am not controlled by the trauma of the past anymore but moving forward in expectation of what I can do. Without coming to the house I know that I probably would be dead, but I am alive, and I am FREE.

- Susan, 2008 graduate

We are a family who has been forever changed through the ministry of Abba’s House in Traverse City, Michigan. When our son was in the sixth grade, he began displaying signs of depression that often manifested into fits of rage at home. From the age of ten to fourteen we brought our son to counselor after counselor, including Pine Rest Christian Hospital, who would prescribe antidepressant medications that simply masked over the root of the problem. As time went on and our son turned fourteen, the violence got worse. Our son’s behavior became so bad that we had to find alternative living arrangements for him. We searched and searched for options but were beginning to lose all hope, and then he attempted suicide. It was at this time that we cried out, “God, please give us a glimmer of hope.” God did that and so much more by leading us to the ministry of Abba’s House.

From the moment that we stepped onto the Abba’s House property and met the staff, we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. We knew that this was where God wanted us to be and that He was about to do something that only He could do though the Abba’s House staff.

Our son entered the program in May of 2006 which began what was to be a long, but very rewarding road to wholeness for our family. Over the next eighteen months, while our son was a resident at Abba’s House, we traveled twice a week from Grand Rapids to Traverse City. This time was spent visiting our son, receiving individual and family counseling, and attending parenting classes with other parents going through similar issues. Our thirteen year old daughter was often included in these times as well. Over the course of those eighteen months, we witnessed God doing miracles in our family. Our son was weaned off all of the antidepressant medication, and has had no need of them ever since. He has a renewed love for the Lord and a deep desire to be in and to do His will. Our whole family has grown tremendously spiritually, and in our love for one another.

We have always claimed Jeremiah 29:11 for our son, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Through the help of Abba’s House, our son is on his way to a very hope-filled and bright future. We believe that this step of faith and the ministry of Abba’s House literally saved our son’s life.

- Jeff, Father of 2007 graduate