Three months ago Sara Henderson’s hair was dyed fiery red– well she calls it magenta. For Mother’s Day, though, she brought it back to a chocolatey brown with the help of some friends from church.
This would be the first time she would see her three children in over two years– and her oldest son, Noah, wanted his mom’s hair brown like it was before. So Sara drove her new ‘do four hours to North Platte on a whim on Mother’s Day this year, not knowing if her own mother would let her in the house. Last time she tried to come home it didn’t work out well. But this time was different. This time she prayed for God’s help. And he had not failed her yet.
When Sara went to prison in York, Nebraska in August 2015 for distribution of drugs and burglary, she prayed. She prayed not for herself, but for her kids to find refuge with their grandmother instead of being sent back to live with an abusive father addicted to cocaine. God answered. Her kids were safe with grandma.
Over a year later, Sara was released from prison on parole and sent to the Lydia House at the Open Door Mission in Omaha. Truth be told, at first she didn’t want to be there. The New Life Recovery Program would mean another six months away from her kids. But it was there at the Lydia House that Sara decided once and for all to trust her life to Jesus Christ. She met with Michelle Hurt from Chariots4Hope and read Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
She rested in that verse one day at the Lydia house and prayed for God’s will to be done in her life.
“I surrendered to him,” Sara said.
From there, God answered more of Sara’s prayers and built up a support group around her at her new church, CityLight Church. He answered prayers for a good job, a safe place to live, and then some reliable wheels in the form of a surprise car from Chariots4Hope.
“That transportation was the link to my kids,” she said.
Most importantly to Sara, God has shown up in big ways by restoring and healing her most precious relationships that addiction had stolen. Her three kids didn’t really know her anymore and Noah, the oldest, wouldn’t talk to her on the phone. So Sara prayed for God to soften their hearts toward her.
This year on Mother’s Day, Sara drove four and a half hours to North Platte– praying for a chance to see her kids. Praying to be allowed in the front door to her mother’s house.
She pulled up to the house with her brown hair and God answered– the front door was wide open. She walked in wondering if her baby, Asia, would remember her at all.
“Hey! That’s my mama!” Asia pointed to Sara.
Noah hugged her. Isaiah, her middle son, warmed up to her after a bit of talking things out. And After awhile, her mom and sister accepted her and trusted her again, too. Sara’s still waiting on her dad to forgive her and accept her– but she has hope that God will hear those prayers, too.
In the meantime, she’s focusing on moving forward in her new life with God– getting ready to be baptized on August 6th. She wants to publicly acknowledge Jesus for all that he has done in her life.
“I was a slave to addiction and Christ set me free,” she said. “I see Jesus as this big open heart with his arms out. I used to have a hole and I tried to fill it with a bad marriage, addiction, even kids, …But he said, “You don’t need all that outside stuff. I’m all you need.”
In a few months, Sara will be off parole. She’s not going to make a big fuss over it, just keep moving forward. Maybe apply for a grant and take some classes. But for sure drive west to see her kids as much as possible.
“I’m going to keep talking to them, keep loving them.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “the plans to prosper you and not harm you, the plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back from captivity…”