Their track record always catches up with them. No matter what hurdles they jump or how well they’ve met challenges, the past trips up their future.
In 2006 Alisha Smith-Page had chosen a new beginning, finally faced her opponent—a 14-year meth addiction—and won. Yet defeat breathed down her neck, ready to overtake her new start in life.
After her final stint in jail — the result of her deliberate decision to turn herself in for using drugs while on probation — Alisha’s next step had been a halfway house; a place to reintegrate into society. But as time passed, the 31-year-old brunette was ready to move ahead and get a foothold on normal living in a place of her own.
This dream began to seem impossible, even though the tracks revealing her former life were now only tiny scars.
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“I was turned down multiple times because of my criminal record and credit history,” Alisha remembers about trying to rent an apartment.
Not only was this single-mom’s personal history an obstacle, the cost to rent and then cover her day-to-day living expenses were out of reach.
“I had to trust God with my finances,” recalls Alisha when she talks about that overwhelming period in her life.
And even though she had a newfound faith that had set her on a drug-free path, it didn’t mean the journey would be easy. Alisha prayed every day for God’s help.
It was Elijah Family Homes that reached out with a helping hand. The nonprofit (where Alisha Bryans now serves on their board) offers parents — usually single moms — who can’t yet make it on their own, an opportunity to have a home. With several duplexes available, tenants who don’t qualify for public housing pay rent on a sliding scale.
“All of their units were occupied,” Alisha says of her disappointment upon learning the news back then. “They said I would have to find an apartment on my own and they would subsidize it.”
One more hurdle. Still, when it came to her track record, which included three felonies and multiple jail time, Alisha decided to be upfront with the owner of the “perfect” rental.
“I’m just trying to find someone,” Alisha remembers saying after disclosing her criminal history, “who will give me a chance.”
A week went by. Nothing. Yet, the diminutive woman held onto a big faith, believing that with God all things are possible.
Then came the telephone call.
“On paper, you are the least qualified,” the rental property owner told Alisha about the background check he had run. “But” the landlord paused, “my wife and I have been praying and we feel in our heart that we should give you a chance.”
In that moment, Alisha knew that God — the God of second chances — didn't care about her track record or keep a tally of the past. He saw her future — and it’s good.