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There and Back Again: From Drug Abuse to Faith | Community Spirit

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There and Back Again: From Drug Abuse to Faith
There and Back Again: From Drug Abuse to Faith


Kayla Williams grew up in a Christian home and attended church every time the doors were open. Even on vacations, she remembers the family would look for a church to attend "so I could keep up my perfect attendance in Sunday School. I didn't miss a Sunday for seven straight years."

Then, Kayla got older, and she began to drink during my high school years, later experimented with pot, pills and finally cocaine.

She said, "looking back, there was nothing traumatic in my childhood that 'led' me to abuse drugs. I hadn't been molested nor abused, but made some bad choices and wrong decisions."

And then Kayla found the Potter's House.

Potter's House is a seven-month residential Christian discipleship training program for women ages 25-45. Located in the back yard of Rock Springs Church in Milner, the program offers structure, teaches discipline, and enhances Bible Study skills, while at the same time provides care through support of churches and community members for the women as they work through the program.

Cherrie Burdeshaw began the program after the death of her mother. The Potter's House seemed to be Cherrie's destiny. Her story is evidence of that.

Cherrie said, "Being raised in the country,out in the sticks, on a farm, I was accustomed to being around animals. I especially loved cats. And quite often, the female cats would have a litter of kittens under the barn and I could not find them until they were about grown. By that time, the kittens would be totally wild. That would bother me, because I wanted those kittens, who did not trust humans, to know how much I loved them. So, day after day, I would go outside and sit. I would throw food toward the barn ... first, from a long way off ... and the kittens would run out, and get it and run back under the barn."

 She said, " Each day, I would throw the food closer, until finally it was right between my legs. Then, when a kitten would run up to eat it, I'd grab him, hold him away from me, and allow him to scratch and thrash until he got worn out and would quit. Then, I would pet him for a long time and he would be tame from that time on."

Cherrie said, "One day, the Lord showed me that He was preparing me, as a child, to just hold on to these wild ones who have no trust, who've been hurt and scarred ... to hold on and let them scratch and thrash until they finally quit and are able to realize that our Lord Jesus Christ wants to love them through me."

She continued, "Years ago, the desire was birthed in my heart to have a Christian home for troubled women. As I ministered in the jail, I would see ladies get out and come right back in, like a revolving door. I could see their desperate desires to live for the Lord, but, with no one to help when they got out, they could not make it."

According to Cherrie "A mountain of difficulties faced each woman on the outside - probation fines, DUI schools,  fees for getting driver's licenses reinstated, no job and no vehicle with which to look for a job or to get back and forth to work, and often no place to live."

She said, "Therefore in hopelessness, the ladies would again succumb to the same lifestyle. And, of course, this always broke my heart and increased my desire to do something to help them."

Then, in 2000, after her beloved 90-year-old Christian mother went "home to glory, I received an inheritance, and I began praying about what to do with it." Her husband suggested that "I buy a house ... and the Potter's House was born." And she started helping those who needed her, like Kayla.

Kayla said, " I always wanted to blame my drug use on the fact that I had an absent father during my early childhood and it wasn't until last year that I realized I did what I did because I wanted to do it."

Kayla added, "I had three mamas- Mama, my grandmother and my aunt, but I wanted more. My mama married a wonderful man who took me to raise as his own. This man has been a father, daddy, and friend to me and supported me since I was 13 years old. I had a praying mama, grandmother and aunt. I can remember many times coming home and there would be pictures of me on my bed with Billy Graham, Joel Osteen and Charles Stanley material surrounding the pictures. My mama would tell me that she 'prayed' me home."

She said, "January 9,  2012, I hit my bottom. I was desperate and in trouble. I cried out for help, and God led me to The Potter's House for Women in Milner."

 Kayla added, "It was there, that my life drastically changed. I am no longer the person that I once was ... I am no longer bound by drug addiction. I am a new person in Christ and I wouldn't trade places with anyone in this world."

She said, "I went through some hard times during my addiction. I hurt people that were very close to me. Some have forgiven, some have not, but I don't worry about those things anymore. All that matters to me, is the fact that I'm a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am going to serve him the rest of my life."

Kayla said, "Now, I have a wonderful job with a thriving company in McDonough and am about to get a degree in marketing. I live in a beautiful home furnished by a woman that has a heart for women who have had struggles in life.  I am a lead teacher at Rock Springs Church in Milner to the 3 year olds, I volunteer twice a month at the free medical clinic Rock Springs has for those who are in need of medical attention and have no insurance and will be a volunteer at a Hospice Facility that has recently opened. I also do all of the Potter's House media/computer work such as sending out a biweekly newsletter and various media needs."

"My life is fulfilled. I am happy, and I couldn't ask for anything else."

Women from the Potter's House will be giving a presentation at the First Baptist Church  and at First Presbyterian Church, both in Eastman. Kayla will be sharing her testimony at First Baptist during morning worship services.

The Potter's House ladies will be presenting at the Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. April 7 and at First Baptist Church in Eastman at 4:30 p.m.

Kayla said, "My plea to everyone is that if you or someone you know suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction, please attend one of the services."

The Potter's House group will have a booth at the Pondtown Festival April 6.

To find out more about Potter's House visit their website at pottershouseforwomen.com.

(Used with Permission from the Tri-County Monitor) 

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