Climber Story: Kristy Ford

Climber Story: Kristy Ford
February 28, 2017 Nate Lanting

2014 Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission Oaks Program Graduate. 2014 Mt. Hood Summit

 

Meth was Kristy’s drug of choice. Introduced to it in college, this drug did for her what the alcohol abuse and bulimia couldn’t: numb the memories of abuse that started at the tender age of three. Especially after surviving a near-death experience at the hands of her violent first husband, Kristy could not break free from addiction. She was picked up on drug charges and incarcerated.

Upon release she made her way to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission – to experience lasting change and healing for the first time in her life. Kristy summited Mt. Hood, graduated from the program, and now is developing a cosmetology program to provide job-skills and training to other women in recovery.

“There are so many things that I gained from my climb team experience. The main thing I have taken with me is confidence and my relationships with fellow climbers.  Coming out of prison after having been in a life of abuse, addiction, and homelessness, I lacked confidence in myself. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything and that I was a burden to those around me. Like I had nothing to bring to the table and I was lucky to be included in anything.

“This was not so when it came to being on climb team.  On the climb team we were all struggling towards our personal best. Our goal was big and it was something we could not do on our own. We needed each other for support and to believe in one another when we didn’t believe in ourselves.

“Most importantly, Jesus was at the center of everything that we were doing. Training climbs would often be the place where I learned the most about Jesus and it wasn’t in the quoting of Scripture, (although there was a lot of that and that was very helpful when we needed encouragement like our team’s Scripture of Psalm 121), it was is the depth of the caring we had for one another. We truly cared about each other and how our hearts were doing. We cared about the things that were important to each of us, in a very real way. In this way the love of Jesus came alive for me and for all of us.

“It didn’t matter what our background was or what job title we had or whether we were in a place of need or in a place where we were able to give. I learned a priceless life lesson working together toward conquering Mt. Rainier with this group of believers. We are all equal in the eyes of God, we all struggled the same and we are all worthy of love and being cared for.

“Being an addict often comes with a feeling of being less than those who seem to be able to function in normal society, however, climbing alongside the very people I thought I was less than or different than gave me such a gift.  We are all the same. I need them and they need me and most importantly we all NEED Jesus.”

Read more of Kristy’s story featured in local media!

Climbing Out of Homelessness With Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission:  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. – Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014 | By Matt Driscoll / Seattle Weekly