A Feeling of Relief

Recently hired as the RN case manager for Union Gospel Mission, Christina assists the men of the LifeChange program. She identifies medical issues to ensure the men of the LifeChange program can participate in the program’s requirement of work therapy. Prior to working at Union Gospel Mission, Christina held a variety of jobs. christina-mccusker She performed in a ballet company; she worked for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, and worked as a registered nurse. However, Christina fell into a drug addiction.

In 1995, Christina graduated with a nursing license and worked as a nurse for a couple of years. Unfortunately, her husband of nine years assaulted her causing her to leave him immediately. She began to dabble in methamphetamines because of depression and thought that meth served well as an antidepressant.

Her physical and emotional desire caused Christina to continually use meth until it overtook her life. Meth became a form of a Band-Aid, temporarily alleviating her depression. The feeling of guilt permeated after the high dissipated leading her into a destructive cycle.

“I left the restaurant with just an overwhelming sense that somehow it was going to be OK.”

Toward the end of 1998, meth had consumed her life. She said, “Only by the grace of God, did I not work as a nurse. I’m very thankful for that in that I kept my nursing license … I did not steal narcotics or go to work high. I’m just thankful that I had enough respect for the occupation to keep it what it was.” With sores on her face and weighing 110 pounds, Christina felt depressed, hopeless, and torn up inside. By December 1998, homeless, she lived in her car.

Serendipitously, she met a pastor at a restaurant on 82nd Avenue. The previous night, the pastor woke up from a dream instructing him to meet a woman named Christina the following day at that particular restaurant. The next day, he approached her and asked if her name was Christina. Reluctant to answer she said, “Yes.”

During her conversation with him, he told her that she needed to change her life. After talking to the pastor for half an hour, she received Jesus Christ as her savior. After leaving the restaurant she stated, “I left the restaurant with just an overwhelming sense that somehow it was going to be OK.” Coincidently, a week and a half prior, Christina received a phone number to the LifeChange program. She followed up with a phone call and three weeks later she entered the program.

Yearning for change, she completed the LifeChange program in 2003. Upon graduating from LifeChange, Christina worked as a RN for two other organizations. Not satisfied with how her last job made her feel, she quit. Through a series of events, and always wanting to come back, Christina’s journey has led her back to Union Gospel Mission. Welcome home Christina.


Jojoe_Nujoy_1Communications Coordinator, Jojoe Nujoy, at Union Gospel Mission wrote this article. You can contact him at jojoen@ugmportland.org





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