All her childhood, Buffy felt something was missing. Buffy’s grandparents received custody of her when she was six months old because her mother was unable to care for her due an unsafe living situation. While Buffy knew she was loved by her grandparents and her mother, they had a strained relationship.
The stress from the complicated situation with her family along with bullying at school caused Buffy to start acting out at age 13. “I wanted to be seen, because I never felt like I was enough or understood,” Buffy says.
“I started hanging out with the kids that were getting in trouble. The attention I got felt good.”
Escalating incidents with alcohol, drugs, and encounters with police were Buffy’s ways of crying out for help. She spent several months in intensive mental healthcare facilities before coming to the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes (KyUMH) at age 14.
Buffy remembers KyUMH staff going out of their way to help her feel at home. In therapy, Buffy addressed the motivations behind her behaviors. “My therapist said, ‘There are different paths you could take. If you continue down this path, where do you think it’s going to lead you?’”
Buffy’s eyes were opened to a brighter future for herself, and she started to live into it. She found reconciliation through family therapy with her grandparents. They worked together, learning to understand Buffy’s needs.
“We all had to agree that we had to change how we treated one another and do better,” Buffy said. "I'm thankful to KyUMH for not only caring for me, but supporting my whole family."
When Buffy left our care, she was determined to start on a new path. She still wrestled with guilt over the things she had done in her past, and she was afraid God would not accept her. But one night, listening to a powerful worship song at her great-grandfather’s church, she fully gave her life to God. With God’s leading and help, Buffy was able to experience the love she longed for, a changed heart, and the strength to walk a new path.
As an adult, Buffy looks back at her time at KyUMH as a crossroads. “God used KyUMH as a stepping stone to the life he had in store for me,” she says. “It was an opportunity to get back on the right track and learn to better cope with stressors at home and school.”
Today, Buffy is a 2009 graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University. She ministers to people in many ways as an ordained minister and co-pastor with her husband in the Free Methodist Church, as a foster parent, and as a case manager for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Buffy has mentored several at-risk of youth through church and other community agencies sharing her story of God’s grace, love, and hope. Her life verse is Philippians 1:6.
Buffy says, “I look back on what I experienced as a teen and see how God brought people and KyUMH to lead me down a path of hope and healing. I’m forever grateful for what I’ve overcome and become today. I pray that sharing my story empower others in similar situations not lose hope, to trust God, seek and accept help and support, and rise above the obstacles they face for a better life. You are never too far gone.”