Lisa Answers God’s Call, Leaves Old Life Behind
At the lowest times of her life, when she was drunk more than she was sober and working as an exotic dancer, Lisa heard God calling out to her. Repeatedly.
“There was something shifting inside me. I was desiring a better life,” she said. “I didn’t understand it at the time, but God was drawing me to Him.”
For a long time, Lisa refused to listen. A high school dropout, she felt like she couldn’t make the money she made doing anything besides stripping. Yes, she drank a lot, but she justified it by telling herself she could still function. Besides, the alcohol dulled the pain of being sexually abused as a child by multiple family members.
But God kept calling, and Lisa found herself doing strange things – at least for her.
“I started trying to read, which was funny because I couldn’t read,” she said. “I found myself thinking about God and religion more and more. I was becoming more curious about it.”
The turning point came when Lisa began renting a place from a landlord who indicated he wanted more than just a monthly rent payment. “I knew how much I drank and that this guy had a key to my apartment,” she said. “I didn’t feel safe. I had to find somewhere else.”
Lisa’s sister suggested the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. “I didn’t know anything about it but I decided to look into it,” she said. “When I opened the door to come in, I felt myself completely melt. I felt God literally grabbing a hold of me.”
That was more than a decade ago and He still hasn’t let go. Lisa’s transformation over that time has been nothing short of remarkable, starting with the faith that was cultivated during her two-year stay at the Mission with her two sons, who were 10 and 11 at the time.
“I attribute the foundation of my relationship with God to the Mission because I was so afraid of Him before, due to whatever,” Lisa said. “But God made a way. He showed up. I remember literally feeling his arms holding me. He made me feel special and loved – and valuable. It was something I had never felt before.”
Then there was the evolution from a 10th-grade dropout to high school graduate.
“I was illiterate when I got here. I was dyslexic but it had never been diagnosed,” Lisa said. “I realized God was doing an authentic work in me when I went from not being able to read to Student of the Year. I worked hard and got a lot of help but it was all Him.”
Lisa attended an interior design class on a scholarship and got her certification, but she had a hard time breaking into the field. After a short stint selling timeshares, she finally got a break in the interior design business, moved out of the Mission and worked at a job for three years before taking a detour.
“I got married, moved to South Carolina and had another son,” Lisa said. “I didn’t use a lot of wisdom. I think I was so excited about my newfound life that I rushed into something.”
Lisa was a stay-at-home mom for six years and invested herself in her son completely. As a result, the first-grader reads at a third-grade level today. Her other two sons are both in their 20s. One is in the Army and the other works at Disney
The marriage ended in divorce last year and Lisa returned with her son to Central Florida. Today, she works for a company that does marble work at Epcot.
“I’ve done all the marble work you see at Epcot from China to Japan,” she said proudly. “I do bamboo, I do huge bridges. I love my job, and God made it happen. I praise Him all day when I am at work.”
Lisa said she follows an example set years ago at the Mission by the late Pat Moody, wife of retired Executive Director Don Moody.
“Mrs. Moody would sing hymns while she was decorating and I remember watching her and thinking how I wanted to be like her – I wanted to be a good Christian woman,” Lisa said with tears in her eyes. “And today I can say that I am that good Christian woman. I’m not perfect, but I know how far God has brought me.”
Lisa’s life was completely transformed during her time at the Mission. Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home provides life-changing care to more than 30 families, like Lisa’s. Your gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and a day of care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.