This guest post is by Melissa Armstrong, a Wellspring Treasures staff member, and is a true story of redemption.
I flipped on the light switches; all sixteen of them and then went and sat down at my desk. I had thirty minutes before Wellspring Treasures would come alive, and in those unsuspecting moments I remembered her and wondered about her journey. I had not thought of Hannah in months but I remembered her long hair and sweet yet demanding voice like it were yesterday. I was swept away from work, deep into my own thoughts of what might have happened to my friend. You see, Hannah and I were both strong women, we both had been victims of abuse and we both shared a small jail cell together for a week.
During that week I learned about her charges for prostitution and how her client turned out, in a moment’s flash, to be an undercover police officer who arrested her on the scene. I learned she had two children that she loved. One who had been given up for adoption and lived in Texas, far from our large city of Atlanta, and another who was presently being raised by someone she didn’t know. Hannah was nineteen years old and her life operated under the control of her pimp, whom I could still sense some loyalty to. She had the scarlet letter upon her expression but over that week she began to crumble and soften. In the end we prayed together but before I let myself remember that, I reflected on my story and the look on Hannah’s face when I told her of my charges.
I told her of my 7-year marriage to an emotionally abusive drug addict. I told her what it was like to feel hunger because all of our money was spent on his cocaine. Hannah listened intently and sighed at all the right moments. I explained my delight when my husband had decided to grow herbal plants instead of the marijuana that I forbid him to grow. That way it was legal and harmless. It wasn’t long until things got out of control again and my physical safety was in jeopardy. I called the police to come help me. They came to help me but in the process found my husband’s herbal plants in the garage and suddenly I was in question. The swat team came with their masks on and questioned me. I was entirely honest and explained that I was aware of the plant’s existence. I learned that those herbal plants were actually marijuana and I was arrested on accounts of two felonies: possession of marijuana and intent to distribute. I remember Hannah was sympathetic. We were sympathetic toward each other.
In the end she was no longer a prostitute and I was no longer in trouble for drugs, but we were two women who had bonded together over our sufferings. I prayed with her at the end of our stay that she find peace within herself and with God.
Now, sitting at Wellspring Treasures, some two years later, getting ready to start my day, I wished there was some way I could get in touch with Hannah. I wished I had known about Wellspring back then so it could have helped her escape her life. I wondered if she was free or if she still lived under the ruling of her pimp. Wellspring Living has helped so many women escape such darkness and I wish such a blessing could find its way to my Hannah.
As I unlocked the front doors and was greeted by a few smiling faces, I made a mental vow to myself. I may not be able to help Hannah since we have lost touch, but I can bring hope to women and teenage girls all over Atlanta by serving and working at Wellspring. Wellspring Living is a second chance for those that are broken and a voice of hope to the hopeless. Hannah would be proud.