Good Afternoon. My name is Hollie White and I was born on August 3rd 1951 delivered by midwife to Erbby and Eddie White Sr. in Joliet Il. I am a 3rd born of 5 siblings When I was 3 months old, my parents gave me to Mrs. Ruth Perry as a godchild.
As far back as I can remember I was a slave to this woman's rearing. See Mrs. Perry was a madam and ran a brothel in the red-light district located at the north end of town. I was exposed to every kind of evil you could imagine; drugs, alcohol, prostitution, pedophiles and you name it. Most of my childhood was spent cleaning up behind the prostitutes and other people who came through this place of transit.
When I was seven years old the paperboy who was 19 years old at the time raped me. I was so broken after that I started having memory lapses not knowing how to sort out what had happened. Even at this young age I felt depression not knowing or understanding what I was feeling, or what kind of future was in store for me. I even tried to commit suicide, but failed due to fear even then God’s grace saved me.
I lived as a slave until I was 12 that was when I met my two cousins who I attended school with. I didn’t know I was related to them, but they knew who I was. Turns out that my cousins didn't like my guardian mother at all because they saw how I was being treated, I believe that it was hard for my parents to believe what was happening to me because my guardian mother was very good at hiding the truth from people when it was in her best interest.
My cousins took me home with them after-school one day and I never went back to live at the brothel. I was finally with my family, unaware that the spirits of my childhood life were deeply embedded into my spirit.
I lived with my family for four years. Then when I was 16 I ran off to live with a young man who became my husband. After 11yrs. of marriage he wanted a divorce. That only added to my deeply embedded pain, so by the time I was looking for a way to cover up this tremendous and overwhelming sadness I once again was experiencing. That’s when I started to using drugs like marijuana, alcohol, speed, acid and pretty much anything that would take away the pain I was feeling. As my pain deepened my drug usage increased, I went on to using real hard-core drugs, such as heroin and cocaine and whatever else would give a feeling of euphoria.
By the time I turned 30, it seems that from that point on every birthday I had I was locked up in some jail. The drug life led me into a life of crime, just trying to survive and maintain my addiction. I'd found myself diving into all kinds of perilous situations just to keep from being dope sick, getting in and out of cars with strange men and taking all sorts of risks. The last crime I did was an armed robbery along with possession of a controlled substance, which landed me in prison with a 6-30 year sentence.
While I was in prison I attended the prison rehabilitation center. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, I went on to get my G.E.D. I got out after serving 4 and1/2 years of my sentence with 3yrs probation. By the time I'd come out of prison one of my sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer, then another sister. I'd lost both of them 2 years apart. It wasn't long after that, my father was stricken with brain and lung cancer. 8 months later my brother died from a massive heart attack. So much death and more pain to add to the enormous hurts already inside me.
With all the lost I just didn't see any way out of my life of pain and misery, Then in 2001, I lost my mother and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I didn't care anymore. I thought that I was a hopeless case. I had vowed to die a drug addict.
It wasn't the danger or the risk I was taking with my life that changed everything, it was losing my soul to an eternal hell that ultimately brought me back to some sense. So I decided to give rehab another try. Through child and family services they helped me to find Gateway. I went there for 4 months.
But I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't ready for society or anything else. All I knew was the drug life I'd lived for 30yrs. So I inquired about a spiritual based program something long term. That's when one of the counselors at Gateway told me about Tabitha House. She made a call to a Mrs. Jeanette Goodman, and set up an appointment for an interview for me. I came to interview in November of 2007, but I had to have a surgical procedure done before I could come in. For the next 4 months I called Mrs. Goodman at least twice a week, to confirm my bed would still be waiting. At one point she had told me she didn't know if that would be possible. I in turn told her that God already made it so.
So in March of 2008 I arrived at Tabitha House. I was welcomed by two women Wanda and Kesi who just recently passed on. I was greeted with much love and care, a kind that I'd never known existed. That's when my life began to change. I started working in Restoration Ministries’ Thrift Store. At first I didn't like it, I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting paid any cash. I wasn't used to working without pay, but later I came to realize I was getting paid more than I was worth. Working at the store is where I learned to listen to God speak to my heart. I even began to enjoy going and doing whatever I was told. I grant you that it wasn't always that easy, but as time went on things inside began to come to the light.
I moved into phase 2 of Tabitha House's program and began cooking for the women, something I really took delight in. From that I learned that I loved to serve others, I made Tabitha House my very own. As time went on I moved to Phase 3 when I could seek employment. I must have beat the streets from one end of south suburban Chicago to the other, to no avail. I was getting so frustrated at not being able to find work. The pain of feeling unworthy, unsure, afraid and doubtful came flooding back. I began to want to run away and do what I knew best to do and that was to get high to cover reality, but God's grace found me again, and I got a break with a job in July of 2009.
But it only lasted until my past caught up with me. Once they found about my criminal record I was let go. So once again frustration and pain was trying to find it's way back to me again, only there was something different happening and that was faith in God, to trust that He already knew the plan that He had for my life. So God spoke to me again and told me to WAIT. And I did just that. So I went on serving at Tabitha House in joy and anticipation of what God was going to do.
In December of 2009 I was hired at Christian Community Health Center. I’m now employed at a branch center called Healthy Choices Wellness Center, which is an adult day care center. We work with mentally disabled people. Once again God has placed me in what I love doing and that is serving others.
If someone had of told me 4 years ago that I would be drug free saved by grace and employed I'd have thought they were crazy. But thanks be to God, Tabitha House and Restoration Ministries I'm living the life God intended. I am not only employed, I still serve at Tabitha House as a cook, housekeeper and where ever else I'm needed. I serve in Restoration Ministries’ food pantry and I'm also a member of Spirit of God fellowship Kids Church program.
I wish that I could only find the words to describe to you what being at Tabitha House has done for me and still doing each and everyday of my life. Tabitha House is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. I am so grateful to have been chosen to be in Tabitha House, I can't think of anything more I love doing than serving Tabitha House as it has served me.