“This is my old neighborhood. A lot of memories, a lot of pain,” explains Wisdom as she drives through the neighborhood where she grew up. “I can remember us being so hungry that we had to eat out of the trash can at Church's Chicken.”
Too often, there was no food in Wisdom’s home. But there was always drugs and alcohol. Her mother was only twelve when she had her first child. A heroin user, she passed on her pain and addiction to her children.
Wisdom recounts, “At five years old my mother handed me a can of beer and a cigarette. I didn't really realize that there was more to life, that there was people who lived and had happiness in their homes.”
When wisdom was eight, her mother took off and left her in the care of a stepfather. Her nightmare only got worse.
Driving past their former home, she says “This is my old...house. One of the apartments upstairs is where my stepdad was molesting me.”
The abuse went on for three years until her mom came home and kicked the stepfather out. But the reunion was short lived. She left again, leaving Wisdom and her brothers with their abusive grandmother. Even at school, Wisdom felt she had no one who cared about her.
She felt, “I was unlikeable...I mean, after all, look at this worthless person I was, that was being molested and mother abandoned me and, and I had no real friends. So yeah, why would they like me?”
However, there was one thing giving her hope.
She explains, “I had this feeling that I can't even explain and I could never shake it, about a love that was beautiful, and it was lasting and it was unconditional. And I just felt like it was there – it was out there somewhere.”
Until she could find it, she looked to drugs, alcohol, and relationships for happiness. At fourteen, she had her first child and dropped out of school.
Wisdom says, “I knew that she was the most important thing in my life, and I'm thinking…somebody help me figure out how this is supposed to be done the right way.”
That someone was her daughter’s grandmother, who helped Wisdom get an apartment and go to vocational school. But the year wisdom graduated, she lost her mother, best friend, and boyfriend. She then found relief in cocaine.
Wisdom says, “I remember the first time thinking ‘Gosh, this doesn't hurt like it did before. I don't cry every second of the day now.’”
Wisdom would spend the next fifteen years as a functioning addict. In that time she had five more children with different fathers, and was working multiple jobs to provide for her kids.
She says, “My children were the most important thing to me. I didn't do it all right, but I loved my children and I wanted us to be together as a family.”
Then, her boyfriend molested her eight-year-old daughter.
Wisdom shares, “My whole world fell apart at that point. I couldn't do anything. I know the devastation, I knew the pain, I knew the shame, I knew what it would do to my daughter. I knew there was no quick fix for this. I didn’t think that was something you could ever be healed from. I failed her. Failed them all.”
As drug binges became her norm, she often left her children alone at home. Acting on tips from neighbors, police arrested Wisdom on child endangerment charges, and her kids were put in foster care.
She remembers thinking, “‘How could you lose those kids? How could you lose those kids!’ And I didn't feel like I could make it without them, like I could live without them. They were the only thing I had in this world.”
After a night in jail, she was released. The next day, she received a visit from Jeneal, a Christian from a nearby church.
Wisdom recalls their conversation: “She said, ‘Jesus Christ died on a cross so that you could be saved. So that you could be free from this addiction.’ She said, ‘He loves you so much.’ And I said ‘My own mother didn't love me. My own father didn't love me. And He loved me like that?’ She said ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘What do I need to do?’ And she said ‘Just ask Him to come into your heart. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins.’ So I did exactly what she said. I thought, ‘Wow....any moment now it's going to be a poof, pow-type thing, and I'm just going to be completely fixed.’”
But it wouldn’t happen that way for Wisdom. Four months later she was still addicted to crack cocaine and missed her court date. Jeneal confronted her, saying “You have to fight.”
Wisdom then says, “And I tell you, I could hear the spirit of the Lord speak just as clear. He said, ‘You're going to have to choose Me today. You're going to have to choose Me today!”
And she did. Wisdom turned herself in, knowing Jesus was working in her heart.
She says, “I packed my Bible, and I got pictures of my children and then I called them all. And I said ‘I'm going away. I don't know how long I will be gone, but this is what I know. When I come back, I will NEVER be the same again.’”
While in jail for six months, Wisdom grew in her faith and even started a Bible study. She explains, “I wanted to tell them what Jesus did for them. I wanted them to know and understand that there was hope and that they could do all things through Christ who strengthened them. I wanted them to develop a relationship with Him just as I had done.’”
After her release, Wisdom went back to work, and regained custody of her children. Now the host of TV show “Wisdom Speaks,” she shares about the love and hope she found twenty years ago, in Jesus Christ.
Wisdom shares, “There were things that happened during my journey of getting well, and I’d say, ‘Well why am I here? Why am I going through this?’ He said, ‘Well you've been wondering what it is you can do to make Me leave you. You're in My hand now, and nothing, absolutely nothing can pluck you out of My hand.’ He loved me like nobody else. And He never let me go.”