She’s an Overcomer: Julia Sweeney
August 14, 2019
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
As I ran this week this *SONG* came on. I’ve heard it many times, enjoy the beat, and love the message, but this week it hit me so differently as it reminded me of the story of a friend who epitomizes its message. This sweet friend is an overcomer.
Julia and I are from the same home town. We were one year apart but attended different schools and didn’t know each other then. Somehow, through our 50 mutual friends, we became Facebook friends. I saw her bright face and always loved her inspirational pics.
We messaged back and forth over the years but it wasn’t until I saw her baptism picture from earlier this year that I started asking more questions about her story. We all have one.
As I brainstormed about this blog series on Super Women, I knew I wanted to not only learn more about her, but I knew she had a message that needed to be shared. Other women need to hear her story. And men. And teenagers. And anyone who wonders if they can truly overcome. Read Julia’s story in her own words and you’ll know the answer is YES!
In Julia’s Words:
I grew up in a great family, both parents in a picturesque town. Life was stable and I had a great life. The summer going into my senior year of high school is when I tried meth for the first time. I cried. I didn’t like it. My “friend” insisted I try smoking it. That was the beginning of the end. I was instantly hooked. I never showed up for senior year. I moved out of my parents’ house and lived life couch surfing with my drug dealer boyfriend. Life was hell. I slept on park benches, in cars and in apartment building laundry rooms on cold nights. I stole food to eat and slept with whoever I needed to sleep with to get my fix.
I met a guy who beat me senseless, but I held on tight. In fact, I held onto this relationship for five years because he was all I had. I was too ashamed and scared to call home. My family didn’t know where I was; they didn’t know if I was alive or dead. It still brings me to tears today to think about what I put them through. When my abuser was released from prison, we moved to Montana with only the clothes on our back. The state welfare system of California bought us bus tickets out of there. I literally had nothing.
When I got here, he continued to beat me for several years and now I was in a state where I literally knew no one. Slowly, I began to make friends through various jobs. I cried myself to sleep every night and begged God to end it for me. He didn’t. After 5 years of abuse, I had the courage to leave him. Again, I had nothing; however; this time, I had friends. I had people who cared.
I later had a daughter and the state of Montana removed her from my care because of my drinking and drug use. I lost any good friends I had and clung to the friends who would support my drug use. Again, I begged God to take me, but he didn’t take me. I became pregnant with my second daughter and something clicked. Someone told me that I was worthy and that I could make something of my life. I got sober and promised I would do this for my children.
I started with getting my GED, now called the HiSet. I went on to get my Associates Degree and then my Bachelor’s Degree. I graduated at the top of my class and made the Dean’s List. I reconnected with family and have the best relationship with my mom. My dad, unfortunately, passed away and never saw the life I have created for myself.
Today, the relationship I have with my family is strong and we are extremely close. We have talked and cried about those years that were lost, and we will continue to grow even closer. I work as a Child Advocacy Specialist advocating for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. It is my passion and I know what the children are put through and I know that these parents can change things around. On September 7, 2019, I will be clean for 22 years. Today, I thank God every single day for not taking my life, but for saving my life.
Julia, your story is incredible in so many ways and such a testament to our ability to turn our lives around, with the grace of God and the gift of people speaking life into us. I am grateful for the person who told you that you are worthy. And that you finally believed it.
The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You
You are an Overcomer
And a real life super hero!