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Published: July 15, 2024

Program Perspectives: Taylor's Story

A Transformed Life: Taylor’s Story
I started using drugs at age nine, beginning with smoking spice, a synthetic form of marijuana. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, I faced significant challenges, and by age 16, I experienced devastating losses: my father to drugs in 2013 and my sister to a car wreck in 2014. These tragedies sent my life into a downward spiral, leaving me filled with anger and hatred towards God, struggling to understand why such hardships were happening to me.

After being bonded out in 2017, my case was sent to the Grand Jury for indictment. Unfortunately, the cycle of addiction continued, leading to more arrests and time in and out of jail. I spent much of my young life homeless, and in 2022, on the run and eight months pregnant, I was finally caught. Surprisingly, I felt thankful for the arrest. After being released from jail, I was immediately transported to the hospital to give birth, and then I entered outpatient rehab. When my baby was three months old, I sought a rehab program that would allow mothers and children, and that’s when I found The Lovelady Center. I firmly believe God guided me here for a reason.

What it was like for Taylor to sit in front of Amy Hailey in the Intake Department when she arrived.

Since arriving at The Lovelady Center, I have grown immensely, and my relationship with God has strengthened. Through grief counseling, I came to understand that God allows trials and tribulations to draw us closer to Him. I now see myself as a new creation, blessed by God. Where I once felt worthless and isolated, I now know that I am a child of the King and worthy of love and respect. The supportive community at the Center has become like a family to me, teaching me to embrace joy and peace, and to enjoy the company of others.

Were there counseling options for Taylor to overcome past trauma?

With God’s help, I have successfully completed this program and earned my GED. My relationship with my mother has been restored, I have regained custody of my children, and I have even quit smoking cigarettes. Now, I am attending the University of North Alabama with the aspiration of becoming a psychiatrist. Someone asked me how many mugshots I have – I think it’s about 12 but you wouldn’t know it by meeting me today. My life has been transformed, and I am filled with hope and purpose. When you put your trust in God, the impossible becomes possible.

Taylor met all graduation requirements, and then some: Continuing Education Credits: 34 required, 54 earned; Continuing Health Credits: 34 required, 34 earned; Program/job readiness Credit requirements: 34 required, 43 earned; Parenting Class Credits: 34 required, 34 earned; Stewardship Credits 34 required, 52 earned.

What educational options were available for Taylor while in The Lovelady Center Program?
What nutritional options were there for Taylor while in The Lovelady Center Program and how do you feed all those women and children, anyway?
Who cared for Taylor's children when she regained custody of them while in The Lovelady Center Program?
What if Taylor needed a ride to see her kids before regaining custody of them, or even to legal appointments or doctor visits while in The Lovelady Center Program?
What if Taylor needed a legal advocate for court appearances or a liaison between her and the family court system?
What if Taylor needed shampoo or basic hygiene items while in the program at The Lovelady Center?
What if Taylor had dental needs while in the program at The Lovelady Center?
What "give-back" opportunities were available for Taylor while in The Lovelady Center Program and who takes care of the building and construction needs?
What happens at a Lovelady Center Graduation and can I come see one?

If you would like to attend a Lovelady Center Graduation Ceremony, contact Frank Long at frank@loveladycenter.org.

Can I come volunteer at The Lovelady Center some time?

To volunteer at The Lovelady Center, fill out our Volunteer Application and Rachel will get in touch with you! Her email is Rachel.elledge@loveladycenter.org and her cell# is 659.346.7455

Do You Have School-Aged Children There?
Moments from Melinda MeGahee, our Executive Director

Earlier this week around noon, while I was hard at work, a 12-year old abrasively made her way into my office, proclaiming in a distressed tone,  “Miss Melinda, I have to talk to you!” Generally, I don’t allow aggressive disruptions, but hearing the distress in her voice, I thought I better see what has made this pre-teen so overwhelmed. I motioned for her to come have a seat and asked her what she needed to talk to me about.

She proceeded to explain to me that she was confused, because her heart tells her she has Jesus, but sometimes her brain tells her she doesn’t. She went a little further to explain that the reason she gets confused is because she sometimes makes bad decisions and that causes her to question if she is saved.  We then had a beautiful conversation about salvation, faith, and understanding the balance of truth and grace.  I do believe she left my office with more confidence in her salvation, understanding Jesus loves her unconditionally, and her decisions do not change that love.  She also left with a deeper understanding of how to allow her personal relationship with Jesus to guide her to make “good” decisions.

I share all this with you because, first, I think we can all relate. I know there are times when I abrasively approach my Heavenly Father telling Him, “I need to talk to You!”  I know I talk to hundreds of women regularly who need that reassurance of His unconditional love, and that it is not too late to receive the fullness of Christ. The second reason I wanted to share this story with you is because I feel at times we throw out large numbers explaining our accomplishments, that are made possible by your support and generosity (and in my opinion, the magnitude of what God does through this ministry is amazing and needs to be shared). However, at this moment, a girl who had no idea who Jesus was before coming to the Center, has received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and now has a deeper understanding of Who He is!  And that “one” overjoys me! I could not be more grateful for you being part of this ministry and making that possible for her.

Thank You for Helping Taylor Find Family and Purpose at The Lovelady Center
by John McNeil, Chairman

At our graduation this morning, I listened as one of our graduates told the story of her life before coming to The Lovelady Center. One of her comments was that before coming to the Center, she had never felt that she was worthy, never felt like her life meant anything to anyone. It made me think about my past and why my experience was nothing like her experience. The obvious answer for me was family. It was in the context of family that I felt loved and was taught about my place not only in my earthly family but also in God’s family.

It may seem somewhat strange to talk about 600 people under one roof as a family, but that is what all of our women find when they come to The Lovelady Center. This sense of family carries on even after graduation, as each woman who has come through the program sees herself as a part of the Lovelady family and sees the friends that she has made as her own sisters. It is in this context of a loving family that we can lead them to the knowledge that from the moment they are first formed, they have a Heavenly Father who loves them more deeply than they will ever know, this side of Heaven. It is in
this context that we can help them understand that they are worthy and created for a purpose. In short, we love them until they can love themselves and surrender their broken past to the risen Savior.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to each of you. It is through your prayers and your gifts of time and financial resources that we are able to be the family they so desperately seek.

How Can I Donate?
Feel moved to help us help more woman and children find freedom? You can donate through our website or send a check made payable to The Lovelady Center to 7916 2nd Avenue S, Birmingham, Alabama, 35206. You can also call Frank Long, The Lovelady Center Director of Development, at 205.601.7320 or email him at frank@loveladycenter.org

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The Lovelady Center
7916 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35206
Main: (205) 833-7410
Fax: (205) 833-9997
Lovelady Thrift - Irondale
7720 Ludington Lane
Irondale, AL 35210
Call to schedule a pick-up: (205) 951-9230
Lovelady Thrift - Clay
2402 Old Springville Road Birmingham, AL 35215
Call to schedule a pick-up:
(205) 951-9230
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