Light in Our Darkness
LIGHT IN OUR DARKNESS—LISA’S TESTIMONY
Lisa Kratz Thomas grew up in a religious household with two parents. She was not physically abused, but always felt a lack of love. “I always felt like something was wrong. I felt conditional love. I never felt good enough.” She remembers at the age of 5 standing on a bridge over a brook thinking that if she fell into the water nobody would miss her and the world would be better off.
At age 14, Lisa started dating, smoking pot and lost her virginity. Her use of drugs and alcohol led into crack cocaine in 1980. "I was smoking crack as often as I could," she said. As she and her boyfriend delved further into addiction, the relationship became violent. He physically abused her. They were also doing so much crack that they became unemployable. "The only way to make money was to prostitute myself. He became my pimp." He controlled the money and everything she did. Over the next several years, Lisa became pregnant 5 times and had 5 abortions. By the late 80's, she and her boyfriend were homeless for 2 years.
Lisa was arrested for writing bad checks and went to jail for a year. Within a couple of hours of getting out, she had hooked up with her old boyfriend/pimp and was back on crack. She wanted to leave, so she called the court appointed attorney who had befriended her for help. She also prayed. “I looked up and said ’Change me or take me.'" She left her boyfriend, went to AA and began to immerse herself in the principles of the Word of God. Her sponsor was a strong Christian.
She got a job working at an office and met a man who treated her with respect. Unfortunately, Lisa relapsed again. She told him and he listened without judgment. He told her that he loved her and wanted to help her. "It was the first time anyone ever wanted to help me without anything in return."
She began listening to some tapes in her car from a woman TV evangelist. As she listened to the tapes, she heard the Lord speaking to her – ‘I love you, Lisa. I love you, Lisa.’ There was nothing she could do to stop Him from loving her. Lisa pulled the car over and prayed. “I know You are here. I feel Your presence. I want this for the rest of my life.” His love touched her deeply in that moment. Lisa surrendered her life to Jesus in the automobile on the side of the road. She said, “After I got saved, life was never the same.” Her compulsion for drugs left. She connected with a Spirit filled body of believers and married the man who had showed her God’s unconditional love.
After their marriage they wanted children. Lisa realized she had never really dealt with the shame and guilt from her abortions. On the floor of her bedroom one night, she cried out to God. She felt Him tell her that her babies were in heaven awaiting her arrival. She accepted His forgiveness and forgave herself. In 1994, she had a baby girl.
GIVING THE GIFT OF HOPE TO OTHERS
Because of her experience in jail, Lisa knew that women needed help upon their release. She formed a non-profit, raised $1.5 million and had a home for women for nine years. It closed during the economic downturn. She has also written books, hosted a radio show as well as led Bible studies at home and in church.
Lisa is considered to be a leading authority on prisoner re-entry and addiction recovery. She is recognized as the pioneer and leader of an innovative, one of a kind prisoner re-entry program in the state of Virginia. During her tenure on the Virginia Senate Joint Subcommittee on Prisoner Reentry, she introduced several legislative proposals that the Virginia General Assembly accepted into law.
Lisa says, “The work that God has given me crosses a lot of different populations, but the same thread continues through it all. There are no throw away lives. You matter, and your life matters.”