Imagine if you will, year after year, going from shelter, to jail, to the streets, and institutions repeatedly with no end in sight. No one offers grace, or love, or understanding. Until one day, a person comes to you, reaches out their hand, pulls you from this living nightmare, and offers you a chance to begin again, with Jesus.
This is the story for many of our guests, but one in particular that is truly inspirational. Diagnosed with a mental illness at a young age, Matthew found that drugs, both pharmaceutical and illegal, helped quiet the storm in his head. When his prescribed medication would run out, drugs were the only solution available; only this “solution”, usually ended in handcuffs. In jail, no medication was offered, and the storm in Matthew’s mind grew. Upon release, with no help in sight, drugs were the most readily available remedy, but this solution came with a life threatening side effect, addiction.
After multiple trips to treatment, mental institutions, and jail, with dual diagnoses allowing people to say that he was “beyond our level of care,” Matthew found himself sitting in a cell, waiting to be released back to the streets and that old solution to calm his mind. A man approached the cell, knocked on the metal door, and said,
“Hey Matthew! Do you want to try a different solution? Come see me at the Lighthouse Mission when you get out.”
This lead Matthew to the Ascent Program at Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham, WA.
Immediately upon his acceptance, the staff worked with Matthew to get the psychiatric help he needed, and taking his prescribed medication was a top priority. With his mind and body getting healthy, the next step was spiritual. The Ascent Program chaplains at Lighthouse Mission showed God’s love and grace to Matthew, and helped him start a relationship with Jesus through prayer and meditation. The rest of the staff helped him get his legal and medical responsibilities scheduled, to the point where he now does most of these things on his own.
When overburdened, Matthew is no longer afraid to ask for help from those who so freely offered it in the past. He has even gotten to the point where he offers help to new residents at Lighthouse Mission, whether it be telling them how he has overcame his own obstacles, or referring them to a staff member. Matthew’s story is far from over, but he has already accomplished more in less than a year in the Ascent Program than in the previous 10 years of his life combined.
If you’re a supporter of Lighthouse Mission, thank you for helping Matthew learn how to ask for help and to heal his mind, body, and spirit.