Sitting in a Houston jail cell, Lindsay Larson realized things had reached an all-time low. A lifetime of drug and alcohol use had caught up with her after she was picked up for a misdemeanor theft and possession of drug paraphilia.
None of her friends came to pay the $250 bail, and her then 5-year-old son was left in the care of the very friends who encouraged the behaviors that landed her in this cell.
There, she met God, and her life has never been the same since.
A month into her 63-day sentence, Lindsay heard some women crying and she was curious. She asked what was going on and some of the ladies presented the gospel to her.
“My life changed instantly from that point on,” Lindsay said.
After being released from jail, she picked up her son, Fabian, and instantly checked into a shelter, got connected with a church and started building up a positive community around her.
“After I was released, I went back preaching the gospel,” Lindsay said. “God had changed my life. I was not scared about using, but I knew I couldn’t stay. I was fresh out of jail, and I had no clue what I was going to do. I had been sober for two months, but I knew I needed to know more and there was more stuff I needed to figure out.”
Lindsay went to a couple of transitional homes in her quest to turn her life around. She enrolled in school, taking classes for occupational therapy while also working full time. She found the demands of school, work and caring for her son overwhelming.
The transitional home required she have a job and suggested she drop some of her classes to help balance her life. But for Lindsay, this was not feasible. Education was important to her.
Soon after, she heard about Buckner Family Pathways. The program provides housing, child care assistance and counseling to support single parents who are in school and trying to create better lives for their families.
“I think that’s one of the qualities of Lindsay’s that I found attractive,” said Cari Latimer, director of Buckner Family Pathways in Houston. “I admire her initiative and follow through. She’s motivated to her own success and changing of her life.”
“I’m extremely proud of myself and so thankful to the Buckner program,” Lindsay said. “It gives me the opportunity not to stress about my finances. I feel very safe where I live.”
Lindsay has been extremely successful in both areas. She has a 3.8 GPA and has been inducted into two honor societies. She also is able to focus on her son, now 7, and give him the attention he needs to succeed in school and relationships with others.
“I know I couldn’t do it by myself,” Larson said. “It’s God and God placing people and opportunities in my life. I work hard, but I also know that I’m blessed with things like this. And I’m proud of myself for being ready when the opportunities present itself. I know life has ups and downs, there’s trials and tribulations, but God has shown me the tools and people and ways that I do not have to go back to a life of drugs. God has given me freedom.”
Story and photos by Aimee Freston