Line In the Sand

Sky knew no other life raised in a home with a working father. Her parents remained married but at a price. Sky’s dad descended into binge drinking about once a month and became scary when he did. Photography by Benjamin Rowe.

Sky grew up feeling drawn toward big, strong men who would offer her protection from her fears. With a fit appearance, she constantly turned heads with her blue eyes and killer smile. She reciprocated the attention coming from tall, dark and strong men.

Have you ever run a background check on your date? How about when you became an item? She didn’t check. She trusted her man who offered her safety and a good life. They married and had a child together.

She didn’t know his real job involved organized crime. His hidden life included more than a criminal way to make money. This included violence, and finally he brought the violence home. At this point, Sky drew the line. She would not live in terror again, nor would she subject her child to grow up in the fear she had known.

She left, placed a restraining order and filed for divorce. Sounds normal but the situation became worse. An undercover FBI agent had infiltrated the gang. He received word that a “hit” had been ordered on Sky.

Although difficult to leave sunny Southern California, Sky showed her resolve. She wanted to take responsibility, and she wanted to raise her child the right way. She came to the LifeChange Center for Women and their Children because of the safe and restorative environment. She also learned that God’s perfect love casts out all fears. Sky dealt with her attraction to “heavies” – and learned a whole new way to live in faith and peace, not terror.


The Courageous Women stories are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mibill-russellssion, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escape abuse, addiction and homelessness to transform their lives.

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