Without the Mission, Jennifer could still be fighting for custody of her children. She might still be fighting for sobriety. And Gabrielle and Andrew wouldn't have the amazing mother Jennifer has grown into.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

When Jennifer talks about the day she lost custody of her children, she speaks with certainty. Certainty and sadness, but also with a flood of gratitude. "It was the absolute worst moment of my life. It was the rock bottom that I needed to hit in order to get my act together. But it was totally necessary. I'm an alcoholic," Jennifer says.

Jennifer started drinking at 21 and what started as a new experience became a daily habit, an addiction. For 18 years, alcohol was her number one priority. She got married and had two children, Gabrielle and Andrew. But alcohol remained the most important thing in her life. On a day in August 2011, everything changed when her mother-in-law called Child Protective Services.

"I hated her for it at the time, but looking back, it's the best thing anybody could have done," Jennifer says. At the time, she was living in a field behind a local superstore, alone and feeling hopeless. From the moment she lost her children, she had a renewed sense of determination to find sobriety and get her kids back. A friend welcomed Jennifer into her home and she immediately joined a 9-month, out-patient sobriety program. She began researching transitional housing options. "I looked online and came across Denver Rescue Mission. I wanted in, right away. I needed a safe place and I needed to get my kids back," she remembers.

Jennifer moved into The Crossing, sober, in December 2012. A month later, her children joined her. Daughter Gabrielle was tentative at first: "It was scary. I didn't know where I was. But I was so happy to be with my mom."

The Crossing was new and intimidating to the kids, but also for Jennifer. "We just stared at each other for the first few days," she remembers. It was her first chance at trying motherhood sober. But slowly, she learned. She watched other parents with their kids and she bonded with them, seeking advice, counsel and friendship.

The Denver Broncos Youth Center was Gabrielle's and Andrew's favorite place. And Jennifer doesn't know what she would have done without it: "It was such a relief to know they were there to help support you and your kids. While you're there, it's easy to take for granted how wonderful the Broncos Room is. Looking back, it was a huge blessing."

Through a concerted effort of the Youth Center staff, Gabrielle's reading improved by three grade levels. Someone read with her every single day, and now reading is among her very favorite activities.

"We are going to have to continue what they started [in the Youth Center]. It's an every day, ongoing thing. I don't want her falling back," Jennifer says, determined.

Jennifer had no idea The Crossing would have such a transformative effect on her family. It was where she learned how to be the mother she always wanted to be. It was where Gabrielle became more confident in reading and Andrew learned about making friends. It was also where they found Christ.

Jennifer saw something different in the staff—a joy they found in their faith. She wanted that. In April 2014, she accepted Christ. "I don't know of other transitional housing places that teach you about the love of Christ. I've learned that I can go to Him with anything, that He loves me unconditionally and has forgiven me. And that He always provides," she says.

Without the Mission, Jennifer could still be fighting for custody of her children. She might still be fighting for sobriety. And Gabrielle and Andrew wouldn't have the amazing mother Jennifer has grown into.

Donate today to help more families move forward with their lives and find the redeeming love of Christ.

CLN September 2014

Download This Newsletter!

Jennifer's story was featured in the September 2014 issue of Changing Lives titled "The Whole Family."

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • 5th Annual Harvest Farm 5k
  • 12th Annual Harvest Farm Fall Festival & Corn Maze
  • 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Shoot & Lunch
Download Now