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A Sheltered Life book cover

A Changed Life

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    By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
    Founder and CEO
    Joy Junction Inc.

    Clarence has been at Joy Junction for almost four months. He believes God directed him to the shelter.

    I talked to him recently.

    He said, “I believe God brought me here, ’cause I was running out there, kind of wild until my life broke down. I had nothing left to give.”

    One morning Clarence’s wife Cessley surprised him. She told him to get ready and said, “They’ll be here for us in an hour.”

    Clarence said, “Who?” She said, “Joy Junction.” Clarence was initially less than enthusiastic.

    However, he quickly admitted, he was wrong. He continued, “When we got here … I just felt like a sign of hope, like maybe this one more time. I feel this will be the last time that I’ll need a place like this.”

    Clarence quickly joined our nine month life recovery program, Christ in Power, also known as CIPP.

    He was enthusiastic about what he’s experienced so far. “Christ in Power, and that’s exactly what it is. “I have a relationship with Him now, and I’m understanding more of what His Word’s about.”

    Clarence continued, “Here I’m not failing. I actually understand and I talk to Jesus every morning and I give thanks. My wife and I have a better relationship. I reconciled with my mom. The most I can hope for is to get myself together, where my mom will literally smile from her heart with tears in her eyes because I’m not what I was when she saw me last.”

    Cessley said Clarence, whom she’s known for 14 years, has changed a lot. She said, “I’ve seen the worst. This is probably the longest he’s been clean without being on probation. He’s done it voluntarily. He’s able to keep money in his pocket, even save money. His whole attitude has changed. He still gets grumpy at times, but that’s usual. This program has seemed to help him more because it’s bringing him closer to God.”

    Clarence said he is very appreciative of the Joy Junction staff. He said, “They’re not just here as clinical. They’re sympathetic; they’re concerned. I can see them actually caring, which also gives me a little more energy juice to keep striving, you know what I mean, even on the hard days. It isn’t easy, but with the staff here and the people I meet I know I’m gonna make it.”

    I asked Clarence to talk a little bit about what life was like on the streets before he and his wife came to Joy Junction.
    He described it as “complete non stop running.”

    Clarence continued, “I was on drugs. My preference was crack cocaine. It was like I was smoking that stuff to live and living to smoke. I could not face reality because I had nothing to give to reality. Just constantly being beaten. It’s like being in a corner and kicked foot after foot after foot.”

    I was curious whether the kicking Clarence described was physical or spiritual. He said, “It got to where it didn’t make a difference. You couldn’t separate it.”

    I wondered where Clarence slept, and if he did so with one eye closed and one open. He said, “I think I had them both open.”
    Clarence said he slept where he fell. He continued, “I’m not being dramatic about it, but “Literally I would drop. If I knocked on your door, if I leaned against your car and you let me sit there long enough I would, I would go out. Would I (really) sleep? I don’t think so, ’cause if I was to pass I can come back alert. I was just as tired as I was when I closed my eyes.”

    I asked Clarence what he would say to those who dismissed him as a drug addict.

    He said, “I would say they’re probably right.” However, that way of life has all changed. He continued, “Today I would not sell what Joy Junction has given me. I would not put it on the table.”

    I wondered what caused Clarence to start taking drugs. He said he was a diagnosed manic depressive with paranoid schizophrenic tendencies.

    He said he chose to stop taking the prescribed medication because it made him feel just as bad as taking crack.

    I asked Clarence where he would have ended up without Joy Junction. He said either in jail or dead. He added that he is really appreciative of those who give to sustain the ongoing ministry of Joy Junction.

    Of course, without our donors, we wouldn’t be able to continue operating.

    I asked Clarence if he had one wish what it would be. He said he’d like to share with some other needy soul the transformed life he is experiencing at Joy Junction, hope they take his hand and come back to the shelter.

    Joel’s Take

    Joy Junction Resident Services Manager Joel Steen said Clarence Robinson has made significant strides in working his program.

    Joel continued, “Through the program he has … taken the bold step of calling his mother and initiating the amends process. Recently, his mother actually called him to see how he was doing. He also has mentioned strides in his relationship with his wife, Cessley. Though issues remain in his life, he is allowing the Lord to help him deal with them one by one.”

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