Hello, my name is Hannah. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and I struggle with codependency. I am 29 years old. I was born in Meridian, Mississippi. I grew up in a loving but divided home. My parents divorced when I was 4 or 5. As a result, I have a blended family of half- and step-siblings who are so special to me. I have fond memories of my childhood—playing with my siblings, family vacations, spending time together on the holidays, church involvement, and more.
As I reached my pre-teen years, I received devastating news. The summer before sixth grade, I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome. Turner Syndrome affects the reproductive system in women, and the doctor informed me that having children would be very difficult and possibly dangerous. I did not have some of the other health complications and physical characteristics that often come with Turner Syndrome, so I was diagnosed at an older age than most women who have it. Although I was heartbroken, I held on to gratitude for being in good health despite my diagnosis.
Later in my pre-teen years, I became aware of my parents’ struggles with addiction. My parents were very hard-working, very loving, and always there for me. I have tried my best to be supportive of my parents in their road to recovery. My mother is a recovering alcoholic with 14 years of being sober. When I was 14, my mother and I got into a heated argument over something that now seems so silly. As a result, I went to live with my dad and step-family for about three months. In response, my mom joined a support group that helped people recover from alcohol addiction. Before my mother joined this group, I remember feeling hopeless in not knowing how to help. As I got older, I began attending these support group meetings with my mom to show my support. I remember feeling a renewed sense of hope as I heard others share about their recovery. Their stories were similar to ours, and I knew they understood what my mom was going through. This gave me comfort.
My father is celebrating recovery from opioid addiction. He went to rehab a few times in my childhood. My dad has also joined a support group similar to my mom’s. He then heard about Celebrate Recovery® and was a part of the first team to start CR at our church. I was asked to lead Celebration Place™ by our CR Ministry team, and I gladly accepted the position. I felt joy in using my experiences to share with others the hope I found in Jesus and to remind them that they are not alone in their pain. Celebrate Recovery has been a huge part of my recovery as well. Celebrate Recovery has taught me to put my hope and trust in Christ and invite him to help me fight my battles.
I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in December 2014. Prior to going to USM, I had a different idea of what I wanted to do for a career. While at USM, I learned about recreational therapy and felt the urge to pursue a career in this field. I still hope to continue my education and go to graduate school. I have worked at a psychiatric hospital as a recreational therapist for four years now. I never thought I wanted to work in the mental health setting, but I know God placed me at my job for a reason. I love what I do and have been blessed by my job in more ways than I can count. I also have a therapy dog that gets to visit with our patients twice a week.
Life often takes us to unexpected places. It can throw things at us that we didn’t see coming. And sometimes the reality of life doesn’t always resemble what we envisioned it to be or hoped it would look like. In those times, I hold on to the verse Jeremiah 29:11. I can assure you this—when you trust God and allow him to guide you according to his will, you will always be right where he needs you to be. I believe that when we are truly following God, seeking his will, and asking for his guidance, nothing happens by mistake. I believe that God turns our mess into a message—if for nothing else but to share hope with others.
I believe that God wants to do big things in your life. If you have a dream, never stop working hard in pursuit of that dream. Just remember that setbacks or closed doors do not always mean “no.” Maybe they mean “not now.” I’ve always heard to trust in God’s timing, which is really hard to do when you have a desire weighing heavily on your heart. Psalm 37:4 reminds us: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV). Again, God’s answer may not be exactly how we pictured it, and it may not happen exactly when we thought it would. But it will still be more than we can ask for or even imagine.