Together through trials

Fren and Carman Lucas
Fren and Carman Lucas, with their son Ethan. Carman says: “I always told Fren I saw something in him, something better. It was just up to him when he would be ready to change.”

Fren and Carman may have had their share of setbacks, but they never gave up hope.

When Fren and Carman Lucas began dating in Chicago in 1988, Carman knew Fren struggled with a drug addiction. She just was not aware of the severity of it.

She says she did not really know what she was getting into.

"Nine months into the relationship, we had our first big incident," she says.

"We had a fight and he poured bleach on all my clothes, as well as my father's."

"I was really messed up at the time," Fren admits.

But he knew he had hope and a purpose. After suffering a stroke at a crack house, his 'friends' threw Fren's body out the door and left him to die. If the police had not raided the house at that very moment and taken him to a hospital, he would likely not have made it. To him, that was a sign he was meant to be here and there were better things in store for him.

Carman agreed.

"I always told Fren I saw something in him, something better," she says.

"It was just up to him when he would be ready to change."

Despite Carman's loyalty to Fren, they agreed to separate for a while so Fren could move to Memphis to be with his family.

But Fren got lost on the way. Stranded at the bus station downtown not knowing where to go, he was pointed in the direction of a "Mission" center for people in need.

In retrospect Fren says, "I know God pointed me in the Mission's direction".

“Every
day I get
blessed”
Initially, Fren came to the Mission just to get some food and a place to sleep. But when he discovered that the Mission had a recovery program for men, he decided to enroll.

"Seeing the homeless people around downtown, God showed me where I could have been," Fren says. "And I wanted to prove I could do this."

Fren progressed quickly through the program, and his growing relationship with God changed him. As he talked with Carman on the phone every day she started to notice the difference.

"The more I talked with him, I could tell he was getting better," says Carman. "His attitude changed; he was less angry. And God was dealing with me, too."

Things began coming together for Fren as he progressed through the program. His broken relationship with his mother and sister were restored. Once he entered the transitional phase of the program, he got his driver's license restored for the first time in more than 20 years. And he obtained a job as well as a car.

Later, Fren asked Carman to move to Memphis so they could enroll in the Intact Family Ministry program, restore their family, and begin a new life.

"I was open to it," Carman says. "I wanted to be with him. It was a little scary, but the more I talked with him about it, the more excited I became."

So Fren, Carman, and their eight year-old son, Ethan, started the program in February 2017. It's been a blessing for them to reunite, and a pleasant change of pace.

Fren and Carman now have a home of their own, and Fren runs his own car-detailing business.

Today, he knows that he is a blessed man. "I could go on and on," Fren says. "Every day I get blessed. God gives me what I need when I need it, not when I want it. He's brought me this far, I know He won't let me down."

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