Lovelady Graduate Obtains Degree and Returns to the Center to Put It to Use: Meet the Lovelady Center Dental Hygienist and Clinic Manager
To see her today, one would never know that Jael has walked through some of the darkest days a human can endure. Like the majority of the women who enter The Lovelady program, Jael’s life spiraled into despair after a major trauma. Read her story below in her own words to see how she transformed into a beautiful woman of God.
On October 26, 2009, my husband and I lay down to take a nap. A few hours later, I woke up to the cold touch of his skin on mine. My husband, high school sweetheart, and father of my two children, had inexplicably passed away in his sleep. Soon after I fell into what would become a living nightmare: addiction. I lost our house, our cars, and most of our money. But worst of all, for the first time ever, I lost my children.
God’s Answer to Our Prayers Is the Best Answer for Us
I was so grief stricken it physically hurt to breathe or function in any capacity especially as a mother. How could a loving God allow so much pain? I continued to fall deeper and deeper into addiction and was soon on the run. I had become a shadow of who I once was and eventually I was told that I was going to die from my drug use. At that time those words rang a sweet comfort to my ears. I was desperate for it to all be over. I wanted so badly to see my kids and put my life back together but I feared I had fallen too far. In pure anguish, and even though I despised Him at that point, I began to ask God to take me away and give me the sweet relief of death. Thankfully, God is always faithful to answer our prayers just not always in ways we imagine. The next day I was arrested and although I didn’t know it, my days of torment and running were over.
God Is with the Prisoner and Princess Alike
While awaiting my trial date in the coldness of the white cinder block jail cell, I was devastated and almost heartbroken when I realized that the toxic love-affair I had with drugs had to come to an end. I was alone, sober, broken, and terrified and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. In the midst of the most painful time of my life I suddenly found abundant peace, love, and pure gratitude to be alive. I found myself grateful for traffic, grocery store lines, the hustle and bustle of working, and being a mom. I was grateful for the pain, sorrow, joy, and happiness in all of the things that make us human and constitute LIVING! I cannot explain to you the overwhelming peace and light that found me as a broken shell of a person in the darkest pit of despair. Once God grabbed hold of me, I grabbed back with white-knuckle intensity and refused to let go. It was like my soul was awakened for the first time. I had an unquenching thirst for books, the Bible, art, and sculpting. It was like I had been asleep for much of my life and had now awakened as a new person. I dove deep into the Word and gleaned from its wisdom as I prayed fervently day in and day out. I slowly learned how to let Him lead and let go of the regrets, pain, and loss. I fully surrendered to Him and nothing has been the same since.
Many Women Are Court-Ordered to Lovelady Center
On March 5, 2015, I walked through The Lovelady Center’s doors in handcuffs and shackles with only the clothes on my back and a few soap sculptures I had made in jail. I was broken but fully trusting in God. The Lovelady Center is where my relationship with God would develop and flourish, where I learned who I am in Christ, and where I would surrender completely to His will.
Her Children Were Able to Stay at The Lovelady Center with Their Mother
After a month, my children joined me at The Center which was a tremendous blessing. I worked through all of the requirements for completing the program and proudly graduated in 2016. I landed a good office job where I was promoted several times and ended up in a managerial position over my own department. I rebuilt my credit and bought a car and a house in the middle of the pandemic even as the world collapsed (Psalms 91). My daughter received a huge scholarship to a private college and has become an extremely accomplished writer. My son is in an excellent school as well and is trying his hand at tennis, fencing, and archery. While working in management full-time, I decided I would put myself through dental hygienist school. After enduring almost three years of 11-hour work shifts, 10-hour classes, and only a few precious days off for my family, the Lord brought me through to the finish line. I now have a full understanding of Exodus 15:2 that tells us, “The Lord is my Strength,” as well as Isaiah 40:31 that reminds us, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”
The Lovelady Center Staff Is Composed of 84% Program Graduates
I soon felt God tug on my heart to go back and work at The Center. Two weeks prior to graduating from school, an opportunity presented itself. The Lovelady Center needed a dental hygienist and someone to take over the dental clinic. I jumped at the opportunity to give back to the place that had given me so much. I took the job while awaiting my board results and license. I passed all of my boards but with a felony on my record my licensure was in question. I trusted God with a situation that was out of my hands and on May 13, 2022, He granted me my license! There is truly nothing that our God cannot do.
How You Can Get Involved
The dental clinic has a wonderful team of volunteer dentists who are committed to helping our women and children. The ravaging effect of drug abuse on their teeth is costly and destroys our women’s self-confidence and courage to seek out a better job. The smiles that grace their faces once their teeth are fixed are beautiful beyond anything imaginable. You can make a donation to our dental clinic by sending a check made payable to The Lovelady Center with "dental clinic" in the memo to: 7916 2nd Avenue S, Birmingham, AL 35206 or visiting loveladycenter.org