Appearances can be deceiving. Just ask Cindy.
“I grew up in a middle-class family in southern Indiana,” she says. “Everything looked good … on the outside.” What the outside world didn’t see — but that Cindy experienced every day from the ages of 6 to 13 — were the horrors occurring inside those walls.
Cindy says she was sexually abused by her father for all those years. Worse, her mother blamed her for it. “I thought it was my fault,” Cindy says. “Because if your own mother says it’s your fault, it must be your fault.”
At 13, Cindy learned that alcohol could wash away some of her trauma. She ended up drinking heavily for much of the next four decades.
Along the way, there were two failed marriages. Cindy’s first was to an abusive man who beat her so badly that she miscarried; she was never able to have kids again. Her second marriage fell apart because of Cindy’s alcoholism: “I would go into rages and tear up the house,” she says. “I had so much anger inside.”
One night while driving drunk, Cindy barely avoided a head-on collision with a minivan carrying a young mother with three children. Cindy was arrested for DUI. It was a sobering wake-up call. “I could have killed them,” she says. “But by the grace of God, I swerved and missed them.”
Still, Cindy continued to drink and deal with depression. She had multiple suicide attempts. When a friend recommended the Kokomo Rescue Mission, Cindy decided to give it a try. “When I got here, I knew immediately it was where I needed to be,” she says. “I could feel it in my spirit.”
Cindy was finally able to talk to someone about the terrors of her childhood. “I lived with that shame for decades,” she says. “It wears on a person. But it felt safe enough here to dig in and deal with it.” Part of that process has been coming to understand the notion of God as a loving Father. “That was so foreign to me, because of the way my father was,” she says. “I couldn’t conceive of it, and I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
But at the Mission, the love — real, lasting, unconditional love — was relentless. In time, it broke down Cindy’s walls and brought her hope, peace and joy.
Cindy has grown in leaps and bounds … so much that she’s now a leader and mentor to younger women who come for help. “I feel like I’m giving back,” she says. “I want to give them hope.”
If it weren’t for the Mission, Cindy says, “I’d be dead. I would’ve drunk myself to death. But thanks to the Mission, I see everything in a different light. I’m very blessed to be here.”
Thank you for helping to rescue women like Cindy who desperately need hope!