As a father to two girls, one who is still a teenager, the stories from Laurel House tug on my heart in a very personal way.  It  is heartbreaking to see young lives affected by such pain and turmoil, but it makes the joy of their restoration that much greater.  The girls that come through our Laurel House program are some of the strongest individuals I have ever met and have already overcome so much at such a young age.  One such example is Lacey.

Lacey’s Story

Lacey was totally out of control and her mother was desperate to find help for her.  Lacey hated authority and couldn’t deal with criticism.  She had begun to reject her family and instead turned to drugs and alcohol.  She fell in with a bad crowd of people.  “I ran away from conflict.  I couldn’t face failure…I couldn’t see any other way to live,” Lacey remembers about that time in her life.
Lacey’s mom knew Lacey needed to live apart from the rest of the family, at least for a little while.  It was a heartbreaking thought, but she knew it was the best thing for her daughter.
When Lacey’s mom discovered Laurel House, it was an answer to prayer.  She liked the staff, the facilities, and the program, and she hoped they would be able to help Lacey.
At the beginning, Lacey hated Laurel House.  She didn’t want to participate because she was embarrassed to admit she had failed.  But with the support and encouragement of the Laurel House staff, she began to be able to step back and evaluate her life.    The house parents and counselor gave her the guidance and accountability she needed, along with a lot of love.
And within a few months of living at Laurel House, as Lacey began to really look at her life and her choices, she began to see the deeper roots of her pain and brokenness.  With these realizations, she was able to confront that pain and instead make decisions to better her life, rather than sabotage it out of anger and hurt.
“These days I speak my mind when things get uncomfortable.” Lacey says. “I know not to run away from things when they’re getting bad.  [And] being away from the crowd that abused drugs and alcohol has helped a lot.”
And the Lord began working in her heart as well.  “Laurel House is based on Christian beliefs and that has helped me develop strong values,” says Lacey.  “Having God in my life has made a huge difference.”
Within a year of living at Laurel House, Lacey and her family learned and changed, and were reunited, this time as a stronger unit.  Lacey moved back home and has since graduated from Orange County Rescue Mission’s Laurel House program.  “Our family relationships have never been better and we are thankful,” Lacey says of her family.
As for school, Lacey had always been smart but she had not applied herself.  But today, she completed her last school year with a 3.8 GPA and has aspirations of going to college when she graduates high school.  She plans to study psychology so that she can help other teens like her.
Stories like Lacey’s bring such joy to my heart, and we are all so proud of all that Lacey has accomplished!  Thank you for your support which gives young girls like Lacey hope for a brighter future!

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