Death, although a natural process of life, often feels unnatural to us.
The pain that accompanies the loss of a loved one is a feeling that does not go away easily. It is a pain that you carry with you each day and remember always.
Everyone handles this pain differently. Some people cope with grief in a healthy way, while others don’t know where else to turn but in a downward spiral — especially when their loss occurs in a horrific, unexpected way.
For Dorris Walker, this was especially the case. When Walker was just 12 years old, she witnessed the murder of her own father, according to CBN.
“I remember screaming and I ran over to my dad, and just as I got there, he fell. My whole world was just turned upside down that day,” Walker said.
According to Walker, a family member entered her home, injured her mother and killed her father. She would try to think that her father was simply out of town to cope with this horrific loss, but she knew that it ultimately wasn’t working.
“My dad was my hero. He actually was. He taught me so much about the word of God. He taught me about music, so he would sing,” Walker said.
“He sang in the choir. My dad was a farmer. And he’d come home at night when he would be so tired, but he was never too tired to put us on his knee and talk to us.”
The pain of this loss was too much for Walker to handle, so she turned to different mechanisms of coping with the harsh feelings. Although Walker was saved by God at a young age, she began to utilize marijuana regularly, eventually leading to physical addiction. The regular use of marijuana acted as a gateway to cocaine addiction.
Walker turned to the streets of White House, Tennessee, doing anything to feed her drug addiction. Eventually, she resorted to prostitution to provide herself with temporary shelter and more drugs.
“At first, I would just sit around other women and they would go out and get money and come back. And I’m thinking, ‘Well, that must have been easy,'” Walker said.
“One time I tried it, and I made it through it, and I thought, ‘Well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought.’ I’d trade myself to get out of the cold blistering weather, and I’d trade myself to get out of the hot sun.”
Walker reflected on how she spent time going in and out of jail, which didn’t bother her a bit. She only cared about her addiction, which plagued her for 26 years.
Walker even got married and had two kids, but her addiction took over her marriage when it wasn’t working out with her alcoholic husband, so she returned to her lifestyle.
One day, Walker’s mother asked her to return to a church for a reunion. And this is when Walker’s life would change forever.
“She said, ‘Dorris, can you do something for me?’ She said, ‘We’re having an anniversary at our church, and we need you to come on back home and sing some of the songs that your dad taught me. Could you do that for me before I die?’ And one morning I could hear my mom,” Walker said.
“She was praying so fiercely that you could almost hear the vibrations coming from her. She was singing and she was praying and singing with all with all her might, ‘Oh Lord won’t you help me?’ And she was praying ‘God, don’t let my daughter go back to the streets.’”
So Walker did exactly what her mom asked. She praised God, and the feeling of her spiritual high truly changed her forever.
Walker thought to herself, “Oh my God, there is another kind of high. I don’t have to sell myself, and I don’t have to induce drugs because my body is the temple of God.”
After Walker found God once again, her old friend Regina pointed her to a place called the Magdalene House, which is a home for women that endured sex abuse or trafficking.
Walker said that on Nov. 9, 2009, she went to the refuge and learned how to live normally again. They re-taught her how to take care of herself.
“They taught me how to live life when life turns without the use of drugs and alcohol. I got my relationship back with God. And I remembered how to pray again. So, I get high on the Word of God and on the Spirit of God, and it’s just like it’s breathtaking, and I breathe it in. I haven’t had a drug or a drink of liquor in nine whole years. And that’s just a testament to how great God is.”
Eventually, Walker began working for their sister organization, Thistle Farms, and she is now their Event Manager and has been for several years. Thistle Farms described Walker as having a “kind spirit, optimistic outlook, contagious smile, and beautiful voice.”
Another survivor who joined the team at Thistle Farms, Becca Stevens, talked about her interactions and relationship with Walker and the mission of Thistle Farms. She shared that the women at Thistle Farms work to “gain financial independence,” according to CBN, helping to make body and beauty-care products under the brand name, “Love Heals.” The profits from these products help fund an artisan studio and cafe.
Today, Walker has made the most of her life change through Thistle Farms. She is a speaker and advocate, acting as a role model to many.
Walker’s story is a significant testimony to God’s provision always. Through the terrible moments of death, addiction and trials that life weighs upon us, God never leaves.
No matter the struggle or loss of direction along life’s deepest, darkest paths, God has the power to pull you out.
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