Annual Blue Jean Gala Benefiting Homeless Women with Addictions

Mark Your Calendars and Make Plans to Attend

On Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 6:30 pm Gilgal will host its 7th Annual Blue Jean Gala.  This is a virtual event hosted by Kia, our presenting sponsor for the 7th year in a row!  The theme for the evening is “Love Never Fails” and you’ll hear first-hand from clients, staff, volunteers and partners about the change that is happening at Gilgal because of God’s unfailing love.

So mark your calendars and make plans to host your own watch party.  Details are coming soon! Visit www.gilgalbluejeangala.org for updates and to access a recording of last year’s livestream. 

Change Happens at Gilgal Because God’s Love Never Fails.

STAY CONNECTED:

Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our online newsletter to keep current on all that is happening at Gilgal.  You can also visit:  www.womenofgilgal.org to sign up for our email newsletter or to contact one of our team members.

Happy Mother’s Day from Gilgal: A Mother’s Love Never Fails

In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to share a special update from Gilgal graduate Jennifer H. and her mom Denise.  Jennifer’s story represents just one family impacted by the journey through Gilgal.  Change Happens at Gilgal because a mother’s Love Never Fails!

Jennifer: “Sometimes I feel like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.  My life went from being cozy and comfortable to life-threatening chaos and misadventure, and back again.  Mine was a happy and secure childhood.  It was wonderful.  The beautiful relationship I had always enjoyed with my parents continued into adulthood.  Addiction, however, is a destroyer of many things — hopes, dreams, careers, and families.  As I became more and more dependent on alcohol to meet my every need, I started shutting out everyone, including my parents, and even God.  For years, most of the time I was too drunk or hungover to call or visit as my life turned into a sad existence consisting of little more than drinking and working.  Eventually, I drank myself out of my job and my apartment and just assumed my parents would help me as they had before.  In other words, I used them.  In October 2018, as I faced another eviction, I was shocked and dismayed when my plea for help did not get the result I was expecting.  I ended up homeless.  I physically felt like I had been slapped in the face and kicked in the stomach.  I had never felt so hurt and rejected in my life.

But, through this and many other dark times in my life, Jesus was holding my right hand through it all.  He held me through being homeless on the streets of Atlanta, through six weeks at an Atlanta homeless shelter, through Gilgal’s program of recovery, and miraculously, back into my parents’ arms!  While at Gilgal, Jesus showed me the way out of the grips of addiction and into healthy relationships with others, including my parents.  I started calling my mother again and wrote a long letter to my dad apologizing for all the pain I caused.  After graduating from Gilgal in March of 2020, I continued my job while renting a small room in Riverdale.  I was tickled pink to even be on speaking terms with my parents.  God had bigger plans.  One fine night I was talking to my dad and he said, “Your mother and I think you’ve paid your dues and should move in with us.”  I almost dropped the phone!

I moved in with them in July and the months since have been such a sweet time spent catching up with them.  As I write this, I’m nearly two and a half years sober and my days are spent helping my parents around the house and chasing after the puppy.  I’m still awaiting the reinstatement of my RN, but that will happen in God’s perfect timing.  I am truly blessed beyond imagination!

Denise: I’m Denise, Jennifer’s mom.  I had two little girls and was determined to be the best mom I could be.  I came from a family that did not have many hugs, kisses, or support.  My girls were, in my view, angels.  They never got into any trouble, were great students, and were always either studying or at dance or majorette practice.  I never worried about them.  My girls were raised on Christian values.

After Jennifer left the nest, I had no idea she was drinking as much as she was.  As time went on and life happened, she went through a bad marriage and many other trials and drama that pushed her further into addiction.  She became more and more distant from her family.  She would call less and less, and eventually was calling only when she needed something — usually money.  It was awful for the whole family. Her dad and I had been seeing a counselor in an attempt to get some control over the situation.  The advice was to walk away.  Ultimately, Jennifer ended up on the streets.  The holidays were especially difficult.  I love the holidays and have always enjoyed that time to spend with family.  Jennifer not being home for them left a huge, sad cloud over every event.  I missed her and felt like she had rejected us and hated us.  I’m sure she felt the same about us.

God got her to Gilgal and showed her the way out of this darkness.  During that time, she started calling us again when she wasn’t loading trucks at work anymore.  After she graduated, her dad and I decided it was time to try and help again.  It had been several years since we’d seen her.  He asked her to come home and she did.  It was an answer to many prayers, and it proves again that love never fails.  God loves us and will never forsake us.  The previous few years were awful, but God taught me many lessons.  By His grace, I have my precious girl home, happy, healthy, and helpful in every way.  God used Gilgal to literally save her life.  I am so very thankful and pleased she is safe.  This is going to be an incredibly happy Mother’s Day because a mother’s love never fails, and this mother-daughter relationship never failed.  God is so good.

Congratulations Tara M. – Gilgal’s March 2021 Graduate

Please join us in congratulating Tara M. for becoming Gilgal’s first 2021 graduate. It has been beautiful to watch God work in and through her life this past year, and we give Him all of the honor and glory for doing what only He could have done. Tara is living proof that Change Happens at Gilgal because God’s love never fails.

Thank you to everyone who supported her this past year through your generous donations of love, time and resources. You are all a part of her journey and helped get her to this special milestone.

 

Please continue to pray for Tara as she enters the next chapter of her life. This is only the beginning and we can’t wait to see where God takes her next.

If you missed reading Tara’s story of how Love Never Fails, you can read it HERE.

Change Happens at Gilgal. Thank you all for being a part of it!

Love Never Fails: Sara’s Path to Hope

Read Sara’s story, “A Path to Hope,” featured in Ministry Watch. You’ll learn first-hand about God’s unfailing love and see what He can do with a life fully surrendered to Him. Change Happens at Gilgal and it is all because His Love Never Fails!

Love Never Fails: Tara’s Story

Meet Tara M.

My name is Tara M., and I am 46 years old. I was born in Columbus, Georgia, but grew up in Alabama as the youngest of two girls. For the most part I was an average kid who didn’t get into much trouble. When I was 17, just a senior in high school, my mother died from cancer. I was with her when she took her last breath. At that moment, my world crashed. Somehow, I managed to graduate high school and enroll in cosmetology school, which is where I was introduced to the party life.

I gradually went deeper into drinking and drugging – experimenting with every drug I could find. Before I knew it, I was in my thirties and addicted to meth, which became my drug of choice. During that time, I lived in a fog, going to work and family gatherings while high. I was generally under the influence no matter what I did. As soon as I woke up, I was doing some type of drug. Nothing could stop me – not even the fact that I was the mother of two young boys. I had also cycled through numerous abusive relationships with men, seeking the love I craved but never truly found.

My life was an up and down twist of one bad choice after another until eventually I had to get some help. Before coming to Gilgal, I tried several other programs that lasted six months at a time and were less structured.  But with no real success. I would have a little clean time, but before too long would relapse. This time around, I decided to try a Christ-centered program. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. 

When my mom was alive, I had asked Jesus into my heart and even gotten baptized. Even though I walked away from Him as a teenager, I always knew deep down that He loved me and was always trying to get my attention – I just wasn’t listening. There are so many times, when I was in dangerous situations and with abusive men, that I know His angels were watching over me. I should have been dead but His love for me never wavered. Somehow, I knew He was always there.

Since being at Gilgal, I have grown closer to my Father in Heaven. He has opened my heart to another way of life filled with peace.  He’s broken so many of my destructive cycles and patterns. But most importantly I have found out what true love means.  The love that the Bible teaches about that never fails. I know now that it is only found in God. 

I’ll admit, I had a rocky start when I first got to Gilgal, and there were even times when I wanted to leave the program.  I am so thankful that I decided to stay. I have learned that I am worthy of love and a life of happiness and peace.  God brought me here and put me on a solid foundation to grow and learn. I am excited to wake up every day and learn important life skills. I am grateful for a deeper relationship with God.

I am working a full-time job, saving my money, maintaining a life of discipline and structure and am now a productive member of society. God is also restoring my relationships with my family and children. I also have grandchildren whom I hope to pass on valuable lessons to. I have come a long way and I thank God and Gilgal for helping me put my life back on track.  

Change Happens at Gilgal because His Love Never Fails.

Christmas Blessings: Latoya’s Story

Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!  What has been your favorite part of the Christmas Season? Sharing a meal with family and friends?  Spending quality time with loved ones? Celebrating the wonder of salvation and God’s love for us?

This year has been a difficult and different kind of year for many of us. COVID-19 and the new terminologies associated with it, like social distancing and wearing masks, were not part of our Christmas last year. At Gilgal, we have been blessed that our staff and clients have remained virus free. 

As we approach the Christmas holidays, I want to introduce you to Latoya A., who lost her mother just before Thanksgiving. While that would be a reason some clients would use to leave, Latoya is convinced that she needs what we offer at Gilgal.

Meet LaToya M.

My name is Latoya A. I am 40 years old and was raised in the metro-Atlanta area. I have two brothers, and I am the oldest sibling. I also have three children of my own, ages 16, 12 and 9.

Before coming to Gilgal, I was miserable and lonely and caught in a cycle of damaging behaviors. My addiction to crack, alcohol and marijuana led me into destructive patterns that caused me to ultimately be arrested. While I was incarcerated in Cobb County Jail, I was offered a plea deal with a choice of being sentenced to prison or entering a recovery program. I was tired of being sick and tired, so I chose recovery and in July was transported to Gilgal. 

Since entering the program, I have made the decision to allow God to take charge of my life. I have learned that if I want things to change, I must be teachable, transparent, and willing to put in the footwork to make my recovery a reality.

Christmas is right around the corner, and this time last year I was deep into my addiction. Last Christmas was just like any other day before it. I was working, but barely functioning and unable to stop my drug use. Being at Gilgal this Christmas will be entirely different. I may not be with my family, but I am healthy, positive and have been sober for a total of eleven months. I am also surrounded by sober women who care about me.

I admit I am struggling right now because my mom passed away over the Thanksgiving holiday. I knew it would be difficult to attend her memorial and see my family after so long. Especially, knowing that I would have to leave them again. There were moments during the memorial service when I did not want to return to Gilgal. While it was hard to leave them, I knew in my heart that my family (and especially my mother) would want me to complete the program.

Today, I am more determined than ever to maintain my recovery. I am grateful for Ms. Val, the Gilgal staff, and my Gilgal sisters who have given me the love and support I need to deal with my mother’s death. It is painful right now, but my heart is full of hope. I am grateful for this program and especially my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I look forward to what the future holds for me as a renewed person. I want to reestablish my relationships with my family and my children, and be a healthy, active part of their lives. I now believe that is possible with God in my life. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. Please pray for me as I continue toward graduation. Change happens at Gilgal, and I am part of it! 

WHY DOES CHANGE NEED TO HAPPEN?

In the Atlanta community alone, more than 1,000 women are experiencing homelessness and addiction. At Gilgal, Latoya is just one example of the many women who come to us in crisis.

100% of Gilgal residents meet the official definitions of “poverty” and “homeless

75% of Gilgal women are victims of childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

60% of Gilgal women are victims of intimate partner violence

75% of women have received at least one mental health diagnosis

40% of residents have had their children removed by protective services

WHAT IMPACT IS GILGAL MAKING?

Gilgal is a Christ-centered, long-term, recovery residence for women experiencing homelessness due to drugs and/or alcohol addiction. We are a cost-effective organization with an important mission to metro-Atlanta and greater Georgia. Gilgal provides housing and nutrition, as well as a full range of recovery services including Spiritual enrichment, life skills training, workforce development, love, and ongoing support to women in need.

Gilgal programs are free of charge – eliminating barriers to receiving services
Gilgal serves single women over the age of 18
Gilgal has 3 residences and serves an avg. of 50+ women yearly
Women come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds

Crack, Alcohol and Meth are the top 3 drugs of choice for Gilgal women

The result is life-changing transformation that includes job growth, life skills, education attainment and most importantly reconnection to people who love them. Your support will help them experience warmth and care this winter, throughout the year and the rest of their lives.

HOW CAN YOU BECOME A CHANGE AGENT?

We invite you to become a part of the change that is happening at Gilgal by becoming a monthly donor or by making a one-time gift.  Every gift and every donor matters. Your contribution combined with other gifts can dramatically change and improve the lives of our residents. Giving is easy.

DONATE BY MAIL
Payable to Gilgal, Inc.
P.O. Box 150777
Atlanta, GA  30315-1092

MAKE AN ONLINE CONTRIBUTION
Visit DONATE NOW  
in the top section of our website:
www.womenofgilgal.org

 

Change Happens at Gilgal because of faithful partners like you. We wish you every blessing for a healthy and prosperous 2021!

With gratitude,
Val Cater
Executive Director

Merry Christmas From Gilgal

FAITHFUL: Update on Veronica

Happy Thanksgiving: We are Grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving from Gilgal! We all have much to be grateful for this holiday season. Listed here are just a few things our Gilgal residents have named.

Most of all, we are thankful to God for His unfailing faithfulness to us, and to our partners and friends who have supported us for over 15 years. Thank you! May God richly bless you in return for your kindness toward us.

Change Happens at Gilgal! Thank you for being a part of it!

Ashley K. – Grateful and Forever Changed

Meet Ashley K.

Forever Changed By a Faithful God

Hi, my name is Ashley K., and I have been at Gilgal since September of last year. I came into the program because my life had spiraled out of control due to one unhealthy choice after another.

Growing up in an unstable home, I found love and affirmation in all the wrong places. By the age of 12, I was lost in the world of drugs, alcohol, and men. This destructive lifestyle only worsened as I grew older and was introduced to heroin and meth.

Child protective services removed my daughter right before Thanksgiving eight years ago. After that, my drug use worsened. I tried to get help for my addiction, but the drugs had such a hold on me. Sadly, I was not ready for change. That is until three years ago when I got pregnant with my son. Unfortunately, I continued to use during my pregnancy, and my son was born with drugs in his system.  I had to leave him at the hospital, which led to depression and more drug use as I watched my second child be removed by the state.

Eventually, at age 30 my destructive lifestyle landed me in jail. The five-month confinement, however, did not compare to the internal prison of guilt, and the sorrow I felt after losing my friend to an overdose. I’m grateful I was put in jail.  If I had not been arrested, I might be dead now. I knew I needed to change; I just didn’t know how.

I’m grateful I was put in jail.  If I had not been arrested, I might be dead now. I knew I needed to change; I just didn’t know how.

My journey ultimately brought me to Gilgal.  Since coming, I have found the structure and acceptance I have always needed and wanted. The staff and my Gilgal sisters have taught me what real love is, and what it is like to be a part of a family. I now know that God loves me, and that He has good plans for my life.

I will be graduating this November from Gilgal and am more hopeful than ever about my future. During my time here, I have gotten a steady job, established a savings account, and have even paid off fines to get my driver’s license reinstated. It feels good to be responsible and to dream of things that I never thought possible, like owning my own car and renting my own place. I hope my changed life will open the door for reunification with my family and children.

I am grateful to God and to everyone He used to help make my dreams a reality. Change Happens at Gilgal, and because of all of you, my life has been forever changed.