I wish this blog would be about something else, but after the tragedy of the past week it will be instead about the lives that were lost and how we remember the fallen. I saw it in Viet Nam, I saw it in my family way too often and now we see Ashleigh, Rose, Normisha, Tina, Alishia and Kristie losing a life here on earth but alive in heaven.
First I ask you to consider they perished while trying to flourish. They were courageous enough to escape addiction and step into healing. The folks primarily responsible for housing them and nourishing them have been responsible for changing hundreds of lives and certainly these ladies were on their way. When others rejected them, even their own families in some cases, We Are Living Proof took them in and gave them a chance.
Just a week before this I wrote about two ladies helping a homeless man - one died, Ashleigh, the other escaped through burning fire but walks around shaken and searching for answers. Ashleigh urged me to baptize her, she couldn't wait, and truthfully I couldn't wait to do it, she was an absolute gem of a person.
Kristie sat me down and told me the horrific story of her past and the incredible pain she had to endure, and I again had the pleasure of baptizing her. Just the week before the accident she showed up in church beaming but asking for prayers for a back surgery she needed. She was a true woman of courage.
Tina came to church with us on Easter sitting just a chair away from me so I watched her praise the Lord in such a magnificent way, her booming voice shouting Hallelujah! She was a strong women of faith. Now she can do it with Him in person. Two of the ladies, Rose and Alishia I did not know very well but from what accounts I here of, they were equally special.
Finally, there is Normisha, or Normi as we affectionately called her for the two years we knew her. She was a blessing to so many others, spreading her joy and love - she too was baptized here at ATB. We often spoke of her struggles and her desire to become a leader. I would guess right about now she is leading a meeting in heaven and looking down at us concerned about our welfare. She will be truly missed.
We will remember them, we will mourn their loss, and we will never forget the struggle we face every day to win the battle over addiction. In so many ways these lives are a major loss, but in the most important ways, we helped them find a pathway to heaven.
Rest in peace ladies, and pray that so many of us who continue to struggle will join you one day!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.