I have been at Cookson Hills for almost four years. I was placed at Cookson Hills because over the years I had rebelled against my mom and stolen from her. I also stole small objects from stores and other people. A rift appeared between me and God. I didn’t really pray or talk to Him, except for when I went to church. Even then, I was there to hang out with my friends and not for God. All the adults at church loved me because I was a perfect little girl in their eyes; I was always on my best behavior at church.
Then things started to get worse. I remember once I stole a gift from some girl at my school. I got out-of-school suspension. It was the first time I had gotten caught at school. I didn’t think I would ever get in serious trouble. When I came to Cookson Hills, my houseparents caught me stealing gum from a gas station. They made me pay for the gum and then they threw it away. They explained to me that this situation was the same with my relationship with God. God would invest in me and I would toss it away. It took some time to break the habit, but I eventually did. My houseparents and counseling have really helped me make the change.
After four years at Cookson Hills, I no longer steal anything. I have learned that if I want something, I can save up the money and buy it. As for disrespecting my mom…I learned that God wants us to respect and obey our parents. I also realized that I want a real relationship with God. I have become more involved with the nightly devotions in our house and have started asking questions. I have grown closer to God than I ever thought possible. Last spring, I was baptized! I also have gotten to attend CIY (church camp). That has helped me grow closer to God than I ever thought possible. I am so glad that God daily invests in me.