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Family Dreams Shattered

Ed Heath - 700 Club Producer

Growing up on California’s central coast, Kayla longed for a family. She recalls, “My childhood was pretty lonely.  My dad got murdered when I was one and so I always grew up missing him and wanting him and uh had a pretty hard childhood.” As a single parent her mom struggled to cope. Kayla says, “She tried to be there as much as she could but drugs had a hold on her and alcohol had a hold on her and relationships with men had a hold on her so she was never really fully there. What I was afraid of as a child is that my mom would get taken from me how my dad did.  I was afraid of being alone.”  

Kayla found some security and acceptance with her peers but they weren’t the best influence on her. By 6th grade she was using marijuana and getting drunk on a regular basis. She said, “Me drinking and smoking marijuana led to me fighting, let to me not caring about school, ditching school.  It led to me having anger towards other people.”  After one particular fight in 8th grade she was ordered to anger management counseling. Kayla recalls, “I remember telling my counselor that I wanted to have a baby.  And she asked me why. I said ‘Because I want to be able to love someone and have them love me and nothing could ever take that away.’  So I was already in my mind trying to build the family that I always wanted.”  

So at 14, Kayla got pregnant but it didn’t turn out like she planned. She moved in with her boyfriend who became physically and emotionally abusive toward her and her child.  Kayla saw no way out. She recalls, “I had tried to leave a few times and he wouldn't let me.  He told me he would kill me if I left.  He would just put so much fear in me and I feared that I wouldn’t be able, even though it was such an unhealthy relationship, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to make it if I wasn't in that relationship.”  

Since he was also a meth addict, Kayla hoped she could stop the abuse by using drugs with him. She recalls, “Once I started using them, especially meth, it took everything I had.  It took all my self-respect.  I stopped caring about myself completely when I started using meth. That's when I felt that I deserved to get hit, like I felt like I was doing wrong, so I deserved wrong things to happen to me.”

The next few years were a chaotic blur of drugs and abuse. By the time she was 23, Kayla and her boyfriend had five children together. But she was too busy trying to get high to take care of them. She recalls, “I didn't care about any kind of family then. I stopped even caring fully about my kids and what they were thinking or feeling.  And I just turned to using drugs and drinking alcohol to fill any kind of void that I felt.”

Kayla was 25 when the drug use and neglect caught up with her and she lost custody of all five of her children. She recalls, “I wanted to die.  I didn't – I hated who I was.  I hated what I had done.  I felt like everything that I loved was just taken.” With her dreams of a family shattered, Kayla left her boyfriend. She still hoped to change but couldn’t break free from drugs.

After two years of failing to quit her habit, a friend suggested she try a Christian-based rehab program. It was there she started learning about Jesus.  After a couple months, a visiting pastor came to speak.  Kayla finally put it all together.  “And I don't remember exactly what he was telling us about Jesus that day or I don't remember even really why I wanted to, but I knew that I wanted to accept him cause Jesus was good and he would – he would help me and he was love and so I accepted Jesus into my heart that day. And then that's when I felt loved and felt like I was just accepted and cared about and that's when I began my journey to really understand what God can do.”

Kayla continued her treatment at another program where she found healing, and freedom, through Jesus Christ. She said, “It was there that he just cleaned my heart off and put forgiveness in my heart and put love in my heart.  And like the first program I accepted Jesus and I fell in love with Jesus. And then the second program I got delivered and healed and set free and cleaned off and just became even more in love with Jesus.” Kayla has been free from all addictions ever since. She was also awarded visitation rights with her kids, who had all been adopted into loving homes. She says, “When I'm with my kids now, I'm teaching them about God and I'm just encouraging them with the love that God gave me and now the time that I get to spend with them I can truly be the woman of God, the mom of God that he wanted in their lives from the beginning.”

Today Kayla’s married and says God has truly restored her. She says, “He's provided for me every single thing, the husband who came into my life, he's provided, you know? My mom being clean and sober, he's provided. Peace in my heart, he's provided. He provides it all. I no longer am searching or trying to make something happen on my own, I'm just trusting him that he'll give me every single thing that I need.” 

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