“I did not know what integrity was until I came to the ranch,” said Brittany Nicholson, currently in Phase 2 of STCH Ministries Homes for Families on the Marshall Ranch Campus. Learning to live honestly and showing a consistent, uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles marks a distinct difference from her life before obtaining her sobriety and surrendering her life to Jesus Christ as her Savior.
Brittany described her childhood relationship with her dad as toxic and began using drugs to defy him. Rebellion turned into an addiction that cost over fifteen years of her life, ruining every relationship she had and nearly losing custody of her children. She knew programs existed that could help her reclaim her life and even made occasional, half-hearted attempts to do so – but the effort required proved more than she was willing to commit to doing.
Child Protective Services informed Brittany that her children would be removed from her custody again, and her parental rights would be terminated if she did not make significant changes. She made plans for her girls and moved into Restoration House Ministries in Victoria, Texas, on September 11, 2018. Restoration House Ministries exists to serve women like Brittany who desire to be free from addiction and bondage based on the promise of God found in Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.” The program allowed Brittany to overcome her dependence on drugs and brought her to the place where she gave her life to Jesus. Following her baptism, she felt as if “the veil was lifted” and she knew clearly, “How I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.”
The rigorous schedule and sense of community found living in a group environment provided the stability and accountability Brittany knew were necessary to continue to change her life. Brittany knew she needed more help before she could be successful as a sober, single mom on her own. After completing the Restoration House Ministries program she moved into Phase 2 – Equipping of Homes for Families on the Marshall Ranch Campus along with her daughters, Haven and Cheyanne. The goal of the equipping phase is for women to face and overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their future success. Besides Bible study, Brittany took parenting and financial courses. Brittany dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and not having a diploma is an obstacle to her future success. She joined the S.P.A.R.K. program at the local high school to finish the course work and prepare for the GED.
Homes for Families provided a peaceful, healthy environment to adjust to Brittany’s life without chaos and dysfunction. The staff and other moms living on the Marshall Ranch Campus helped her to find her true identity. “Knowing the past does not determine who I am – Jesus says who I am – I am loved.”
Brittany treasured the second chance to be a good mother, daughter and friend. She worked hard to reestablish healthy relationships with her family and looks forward to a bright future. She plans to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse and gives thanks to God for showing her His love through the people at Homes for Families.