As we near the end of 2018, God has blessed us with the opportunity to share an update from our first House of Hope graduate in 2014, Caitlyn Dietrich-Hannah. The purpose of this letter is to share what has happened since Cait’s time at the little stone house in Glen Rock. What seeds have been planted? What are the fruits that God has grown? How does the support of others affect what God is doing in this ministry? How is the Prince of Peace present in Cait’s life today? Here is her story:
I grew up in a super dysfunctional home without my father, which made my life unbalanced and distorted from the beginning. As a child I was always the one to do the opposite of what I was told. My mom, Denise, would call me the “bad girl”, as I had a pattern of struggling in daycare and school environments. Unfortunately, this became the identity I connected with the most. I defied authority for most of my childhood years. As my teenage mind attempted to recall happy childhood memories, there were none; this began to build a wall between my mom and me. At the same time, my mom was hurting and struggling with her own darkness, depression, and drug addiction. All of this contributed to the destruction of my relationship with her. I was hurting inside, and I began to make choices throughout my freshman year that set me in a downward spiral. Not having close friends became a norm for me. My search for significance continued, and I chose to deal with my pain and loneliness through poor social decisions and finding acceptance in guys, all the while struggling academically. During this time period, I always heard a voice telling me these were the wrong choices to be making. As a method of coping with the reality and truth that were so desperately trying to get my attention, I justified my actions and made exceptions for my behavior, and the downward spiraling continued in my life.
I was just going to rush through the program like a check off list … but God had other plans!
In 2010, with no hope in sight, House of Hope entered my story. I began non-residential counseling with my mom, as the residential program was not yet available. The program offered us a lot; however, my mom struggled sharing the truth regarding her life and urged me to do the same. Unfortunately, minimal changes were being made throughout this time. Without the truth, God could not move in our lives. It was during this time that the House of Hope leadership extended a hand of grace and sponsored my attendance at Christian School of York for my sophomore year. Due to the unstable home atmosphere I had always been exposed to, I moved in with the director of House of Hope, Lori Ziegler. For the first time in my life, I experienced structure, and I began the process of finding out who God was. After moving into the newly opened residential home on June 1st, 2012, I became immersed in an unconditional love I never knew existed. I realized what I had been missing out on – what all my house parents and mentors had that I desired – was God. Through the Hope Academy school, I had one-on-one instruction for my education, raising my grades from D’s to A’s and B’s. House of Hope gave me the right balance of discipline and love that I needed to thrive both spiritually and academically. I found it a privilege to be separated from the world for that season of my life. I started to realize I am a beautiful child of God, and I am worthy of His love.
While I was at House of Hope, things at home continued to remain unstable for my mom. As much as she desired to be a part of my new journey, it did not come easy for her. My mom was inspired by what Jesus was doing in my life, but the power of her choices and addictions prevented her from accepting these changes to be a part of her own life. I allowed the Lord to direct my steps to bring as much healing as possible into our relationship. In March of 2014, my mom fell into a deep depression that resulted in her taking her own life, just a month before my graduation from House of Hope.
While I was proud of my graduation and my accomplishments, the tragic loss of my mom brought a time of confusion and new struggles for me. It was hard, and it hurt. Rebellious behavior returned into my life, but not without my now-known knowledge of who I am in Christ.
As I plundered through this season of both bad and good decisions, I found my desire to get my life back on track, which included enrolling in the Empire Beauty School for cosmetology. I received my cosmetology license, despite some trials along the way, and I have now earned a successful position at Tam Nail and Spa. During this time, I was reconnected with a past friend, Quincy, who later became my husband and the father to my two daughters, Karina and Delilah. They fill my life with joy. While I sometimes stray from my spiritual responsibilities, I can always feel the ever-present Father directing my path. My life has not always been trouble-free since my time at House of Hope, but the difference now is that I have met the Lord and formed a relationship with Him. It was through House of Hope that I learned self-discipline and how to encounter an intimate relationship with my Savior. In this season of navigating the right and wrong, I know where to find my peace. Even when my busy life does not allow me to seek it, God is there. He is helping me to strengthen my marriage. He is helping me to become a loving mother to my daughters. He has taught me to have empathy for those who suffer from depression, just as my mom did. He is helping me to find forgiveness. He brings me Peace in tough and difficult moments. He is my Prince of Peace!
Thank you for helping to write Cait’s story through your support of God’s work at House of Hope
Give the gift of Peace.
Give teens like Caitlyn the gift of freedom through Jesus Christ
Restore peace and hope to hurting teens and their families
Partner with us to reach our year-end goal of $40k
Raise $40,000 by December 31, 2018.