Kim's world was small.
"My childhood was traumatic," Kim recalls. "I grew up a lot inside of a closet. My parents didn't want to spend any time with me at all ... the more I made noise, the more I got shoved inside a closet."
With a mother addicted to drugs and a father chasing the bottle, Kim often felt alone.
A VICIOUS CYCLE
Kim had one companion in that closet: a small crayon. When she outgrew the closet, the crayon moved with her to her room. Stress and trauma were the rhythm of her life until her parents got divorced when she was 8.
Life got better and then it got worse. Kim started getting involved with drugs when she was 13. At 15, her mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma—she died two years later—pushing Kim back to her father and more drug use. The pair bonded by cooking meth together.
At 23, Kim lost her second parent—this time to prison. After a robbery gone awry, she found herself in the same position.
OUT OF CONTROL
Kim was imprisoned before she was sentenced. Separated from the rest of the population for months, life was going the same way she was used to.
"They kept me over there where they monitored my attitude before they allowed me to enter the yard," she said. "I was a handful from the beginning of being here. I was in trouble a lot. I was not a good person. I was very out of control. Very violent. Very mischievous. I was not good to people here."
Receiving a sentence and timeline of 50-60 years for her stay didn't help matters. When she realized she would be spending the rest of her life in a prison or a nursing home, she told herself, "I [thought I] might as well do my time the way I wanted to. … I didn't find any reason to change."
But there was someone who still cared.
MOVING BEYOND TRAUMA
Kim's poor choices were affecting everyone around her. Her lashing out got the attention of corrections staff and Prison Fellowship volunteers who wanted to help.
"We don't always want the cookie-cutter ones, where they're good so let's invite them to a program," said Michael Crosby, a corrections officer. "Let's bring the ones who are more staff intensive. The ones who are gaining misconduct reports on a daily basis."
Kim was invited to join Beyond Trauma, a women's-only program facilitated by Prison Fellowship designed to address trauma in lives of prisoners, identify the cause, and empower them to move on and avoid similar situations in the future.
Kim didn't take her interview for entrance into the program seriously, but she found herself opening up to it after she was accepted. The more she let the program and the volunteers speak into her life, the more she realized what large walls she had built up around herself. Then she started seeing the kind-hearted person beneath the exterior.
"Everyone saw this great change in me," she said, "and when they saw that change, they wanted to go to Beyond Trauma too."
Beyond Trauma showed Kim that God was in the details. Kim says she wouldn't have ever found God without Beyond Trauma and prison. She turned from being a self-proclaimed devil worshipper to a daughter of the King.
"I found God through the Beyond Trauma program," Kim said. "I began a great relationship with our Lord."