My name is Kaydee Johns. I am 28 years old and my new life is just beginning. I am the mother of a beautiful daughter, Autumn. Today, I am proud of the mother that I am, even though being a single mom isn’t always easy. I am determined to rise to the daily challenges it brings. I am excited to see all that our future holds. I am grateful for my life and for hers.

Growing up, I felt rejected by others. I spent a lot of time alone and
I began to believe lies about myself. I used to identify and describe myself using words such as “Ugly” and “Fat.” I often felt like an outsider. I struggled with “Fitting in” and I depended on acceptance from others in order to feel happy and safe. It often seemed that other people had the answers I was seeking. So, I followed their way, and I began to change who I was on on the inside and the outside. Gaining attention and acceptance felt good for a while… But soon, lies, anger, and sneaking around had taken over my life. I was defensive and angry about everything. I had a bad attitude and didn’t respect authority. My drug and alcohol use continued and escalated.

After thirteen years of bad decisions, I was in serious legal trouble. I was afraid and I ran. I left my daughter and I was living in my car. A couple of months later, I was arrested. I am grateful for that now.

When I came to Teen Challenge, I had concerns about leaving my daughter, but I was assured that she was safe and cared for by my mother and step-father. I am grateful to them for taking care of her. For the first time, I was able to completely focus, listen, and receive love and instruction from others. I knew my life needed to change, but I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen. I had an idea about God, but I wasn’t sure how that applied to me or how it was going to change my life. I lacked purpose, discipline, and direction.

I began to pray and to participate in the program. Bible study became an important part of my day. I started to experience hope and joy again.
I was given several opportunities during my time at TC to share my story with others (even speaking to teenage girls) and I enjoyed being able to affect the lives of young women. I realized that I didn’t have to be shy about my past or who I am.

Getting up every morning and working in the berry fields helped me to develop a good work ethic, even though it is challenging at times. I learned how to stick it out and that there is value in a daily routine. I developed discipline and I learned to let go of control. It was during one of our special work projects:tree trimming with Mr. Simms, that I realized that I genu- inely enjoy this kind of work. That experience lead me to pursue the job that I have now. I used to think that, “If I needed something I should just take it.” Now, I work to meet our needs and I trust God with the outcomes.
I am a hard worker.

My life is not perfect and neither am I, but I know who I am today. I used to depend on the world for my happiness, but now I have a different foundation that I stand on. Everyday, God opens doors for our future. I work for a tree service & landscape company, and I am considering joining the National Guard. I focus on physical fitness and staying healthy. I am a full time mom who spends a lot of time helping with homework and playing board games. I pray with my daughter, and I know that she knows that she is not alone…she knows that she can do all things through Christ who strengthens her…and so do I.

Hebrews 10:39