Addiction to Redemption - Angelic's Story
She's had more than twenty-five years experience riding, showing, and training horses. Her first barrel race was at the age of five. Her mother put her in the saddle on that hot summer day and said, "Just hold on. The horse knows what to do." She was off, and her young life suddenly had a purpose. Unfortunately, life for this young girl would not go as smoothly as that initial ride. By 2017 Angelic was a survivor of domestic violence, a single mother lacking custody of her two teenage children, and in recovery (again) for alcoholism. She'd lost everything. Determined to get her life back together, Angelic enrolled in the women's crisis shelter program with the Union Gospel Mission. The 18-24 month program had an incredible success rate, and Angelic was willing to try anything to get back in the saddle for good this time. When she heard of EMBRACE and the opportunity the program provided, memories of her horses and the incredible connection she felt with them came back like a movie she'd seen a thousand times. She still loved horses, but any joy she felt for life was long gone. Could these horses, these women, revive what shame and guilt had destroyed? She recently had her fourth session with EMBRACE, and when asked if the program made a difference, she scoffed and without hesitating said, "Yeah. Thursday nights are what have kept me going in the program (at UGM). I will not miss my nights with EMBRACE. When someone told me I was going to have to skip it one night, I told them they better get a cell ready because I was going whether they liked it or not." When asked what stood out to her most in the month-long process she paused thoughtfully. "The love," she said firmly. "I've never known love and connection like these women offer. They don't judge me, criticize my choices or look down on me. They just love me. I've never known love like that before." While it's not about the horse, EMBRACE uses the horse to illustrate a relationship between Jesus and his church, God and his children. This is one aspect that makes EMBRACE so unique. "I've seen other programs try to do this, but it's not the same. In all the years I've been working with horses I've never seen what EMBRACE has put together. It's amazing." Currently, Angelic's plan is to continue the program at UGM and eventually volunteer her horsemanship skills to EMBRACE to spread the same love and lessons she's learned with others who need to hear the message she got so clearly: "Jesus really does love me."