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How Jesus Saved My Life With Annette Smiley

Disclaimer: This story contains sensitive content that may not be safe for young ears. Consider putting in earbuds if you have kids present.

Annette experienced some heavy things early on because of some choices she made. Hear how God got a hold of her heart through the help of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

Special thanks to our sponsor Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, who have been serving the homeless population and helping the lost become found for over 90 years. Our vision is to see every homeless neighbor — beloved, redeemed, restored. Find out more about them at


Speaker 2 [00:00:09] I thank God. And I know that nothing just happens. And if I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to work as Seattle’s Union Gospel mission and not only work, to go through their program, my life would have turned out completely different. That’s a fact.

Host [00:00:26] We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there is something different. They are changed. Maybe there is a calm where there once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness. There’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back to Life a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.

Producer [00:00:51] Before we begin this episode, I want to take a moment to warn you about some potentially sensitive or triggering content. May want to consider earbuds for young years.

Annette [00:01:02] My name is Annette Smiley. I work for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission at our Women and Children’s Recovery Program. And I am a strong believer in Christ that Jesus saves. I’ll just share a little bit about how did I get here? How did I get to where I’m at today? And so I grew up in Seattle, Washington, in the central district, had seven siblings, had a pretty good childhood, experienced some things early on when I was coming into high school. I ended up getting pregnant at an early age and my family made me have an abortion at six months pregnant. And that’s, I think when everything started for me. From that, I felt like a lot of shame and disgrace with my family. And yeah, I just didn’t feel loved or cared for because of the choices I made, not because of what they were doing. They did the best they could.

Annette [00:02:03] From that. After that happened, I end up getting into the life of prostitution at age 14, which led to many, many, many years of prostitution and a lot of other stuff homelessness, domestic violence. Then later on, drugs came on the scene. I always say I think the only good thing that came out of that was my two daughters that I had. I have two daughters from that relationship that I was in for many, many years of getting beaten. Yeah, just as sex trafficking and all of that. And so I think my first experience, we didn’t grow up in church. My parents, they were hard workers, but we didn’t grow up in church. I knew there was a God, but I didn’t have the experience of Him. My first experience I remember I was because I was in and out of jail for prostitution and other stuff. I remember I went to jail to do 30 days for a case. And the pimp that I had at that time, he took me there and I knew he was going to come back to pick me up. And I was getting so tired of the lifestyle. And I remember getting on my knees and I remember praying. I remember praying to God, like,”If You’re there, please help me not to have any fear to leave this man when I get out of jail.” And when he came there to pick me up, I looked at him and I knew that God had answered my prayers because there was no fear. When I went home, I grabbed my two babies and I left and I never looked back. And that’s how I got out of that particular lifestyle. But then there was more to come. I always tell myself, I wish I could have prayed for everything.

Annette [00:04:02] After that, addiction came and and and just a lot of other things came. I end up going to prison like three times. And so when I went to prison the last time, I did four years in prison for drugs and everything else. And when I was in prison the last time, because I had that experience in jail with God, where I knew He answered that prayer for me. I began to see Him and draw closer to Him, and I decided I wanted a different life when I got out. And that’s when I heard about Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. Through my sister, she worked for the city of Seattle, and she was telling me they were building the shelter in South Seattle, and I had to have a release address to go to. And then I was like, “I don’t want to go to a shelter.” I got it mapped out. I went to school there. I got a degree when I was in prison, I was seeking God, I go to work so I can get a place for my grandchildren. And I had it all planned out. But however, God had different plans. And so when I got out, I actually was denied to go to that address to the Union Gospel Mission because it was considered a shelter. Anyway, there was still a lot of debt that I didn’t know until I actually touched the streets from prison. I thought I was doing really well. But within the family dynamic, there was a lot of healing that didn’t happen. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t address. Um, for me, inside of me, the healing and trauma and all of that. I never addressed that, you know.

Annette [00:05:44] So I got out. I decided to go see the shelter. And when I walked through the doors of the shelter, the program, I just there was so much love that I felt. I’m just like, “Oh, my goodness.” And I was actually released to my mother’s address, which there was still a lot of trauma that we hadn’t talked about, that we hadn’t dealt with that that were still just sitting there. Right? And so I was so glad to go there and to feel what I felt when I went through the doors. And I was still a little frustrated, though. But God was still working. He was still working. When I went there and I met with a lady named Miss Johnny, which was the program director at that time, our program administrator at that time. And she was she gave me a tour of the place and she was sharing with me that it’s a year long recovery program. You have to commit to a year what they offer, the classes they offer around domestic violence, around drug addiction. Then you have counseling. And I was like, “Wow,” You have your own room, you have your own space. You’re not sharing a room with anyone. I’m like, “This is great, but I want to work. I want to go to school. I want to work.” And she looked at me and she said, “Well, let those that have ears hear.” Because what she was telling me was what I was hearing is that I can’t do this because of this. What she was saying is that you can’t do it now. Those words always stick with me.

Annette [00:07:17] So I committed. I reached back out to my DLC officer and I said, “I need to come to this place.” And they gave me so much trouble before and they just said, “Okay.” So another God thing, like another door opening for me. And so I committed to doing the year long program. And not only that, they allowed me to cause I had granddaughters by this time I had I have two daughters. They are in addiction and I had grandkids at this time and I was gone away to prison. And so they let me have my granddaughters while I was there to bring them in a safe environment. And what God show me in that is like I have not even begun to do the work that I need to do in you.. That’s what happened when I walked through those doors. That’s what my journey was. That whole place. It’s going deep, digging in to those places so I can have change, real change. And that’s what happened with me. Going to the classes that they offer from domestic violence, all that I experienced and why I experienced that from relationship addiction like, why do I keep choosing the same type of people? Why do I keep getting in these relationships, boundaries, you know, with family and with and just with people in general? So I learned so much going through the program.

Annette [00:08:48] I really believe that if I wouldn’t have went through that program, even though I was four years clean and I had went back to school, and if I would have gotten a job and not went to that program, I probably would have relapsed. At some point. I know without a doubt, because I had not addressed the internal stuff that that God wanted to heal in me. And not only that, and continue to draw closer to Him and stay focused on Him, even in the outside. It’s one thing to do it while you’re locked up. It’s another thing to do it when you get on the streets. And so that’s kind of my experience. And so I end up doing the year long program. And they have an internship that was available called Women of Wisdom, and it was really a mentorship and a discipleship program that focuses on really getting more connected to God and learning scripture and all of that. So I did that and then I went to school. Then I was able to go to school and get further my education, and then I became employed there. And so literally, I’ve like been there ever since. And, you know, I started out I think in support services. I’m not sure where I started, but I started and then I just kept learning and growing. It’s been great.

Annette [00:10:16] Now I’m currently the director of Hope Place, our Women and Children’s Facility. And I love what I do. I love and think the whole purpose I see like it not just for me, but for and other gentlemen asked the question, like, “What is the purpose?” I think the whole purpose that God has allowed not only me but any staff member to be as Seattle’s Union Gospel mission is so we can share the love of Christ. And so I think about how good is it that He doesn’t waste anything like my experiences. So I can relate. I relate so well to the women that come through those doors because I’ve been there and I’ve done that. And it’s a certain level of humility, It’s a certain level of compassion. It’s a certain level that God gives you to be able to really, really love on those women.

Host [00:11:13] Jesus said in the Bible, “I am the resurrection in the life. The one who believes in Me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in Me will never die.” Do you believe this? We are telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how He can bring you back to life, visit us at. If you like, Brought Back to Life, please give us a five star rating and a review. You can follow Brought Back to Life on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, or wherever you’re listening right now. You can also just tell your smart speaker play Brought Back to Life podcast.

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