Published November 1, 2019
Reuben Watson, a former resident of Spring Meadows Children's Home (now known as Sunrise Spring Meadows Center), shared his story at the Dreams of Hope event at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville.
These are his words …
"I was failed by the world in a lot of ways. I was disappointed by the world in a lot of ways. As a child, I was actually given up for adoption at birth. I began to deal with child abuse and neglect at a very young age, to the point where I tried to take my own life at the age of 7. But God said, 'I am not through with you yet. You are mine.'
"I experienced 17 different foster homes, children's homes, mental hospitals and crisis units during that time frame (2 1/2 to three years). But God continued to say, 'You are mine.' And that's where I somehow ended up at Spring Meadows.
"The impact that home had on me goes beyond what words can really say, and in ways that I fully can't comprehend. But through Sunrise and through Spring Meadows, God continued to say, 'You are mine.'
"There were people there and staff there that loved me in ways that I was unaware that I could be loved. There were people there that showered me with grace, love and mercies — despite my anger towards the world and towards authority. God used those faces and those people to not only make an impact on my life, but also make an impact on people whom I spend time with now.
"Through Spring Meadows and through all the people that happened to be there, it was truly an impactful and amazing thing for me, because I was able to be loved; I was able to be cared for — despite my differences, despite where I came from, despite being the youngest at the time.
"It was a three-month program; I was there for nine. After two or three months, I would create chaos in my life because that's where I felt comfort, and that's where I felt loved. In those moments of chaos at Spring Meadows, I was shown love.
"After leaving Spring Meadows, I went to another foster home where I was later adopted. That was amazing because I was 12 years old, which doesn't happen. But once again God continued to pour into my life and pour into my heart and say, 'You are mine.'
"I heard the last thing my mom say to me, which was she hated me. I heard from foster parents saying that I wasn't enough. I dealt with child abuse and neglect. By the grace of God, I stand before you today as a broken man, but one that is being rebuilt through Christ. God is a mender of broken hearts; He is the Father of the fatherless; and that is what He has been to me.
"I surrendered my life to Christ at a conference. And what was amazing to me was that for the first time in my life I received peace. For the first time in my life, I had been reminded of my value and my worth.
"It did not come from this world. It did not come from what others had told me. It did not come from what my mother had said to me. It did not come from the foster families who continued to pass me around. It did not come from the brokenness of the world — but who I am is only through faith, through grace that was shown to me through Jesus Christ. My identity and my worth and my value come from Him."
Story provided by David Lyninger, Sunrise associate director of communication.
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