Opening Day at Ascot by Susan Inman and Susan Solomon

Opening Day at Ascot by Susan Inman and Susan Solomon

Leslie Moralez worked her way back from a life of teen pregnancy, incarceration and drug abuse, but she admits it wasn’t easy.

“The only think I knew was the drug life. I came from a broken and unstable home, and it was so easy to go in the wrong direction.”

As Moralez spoke to more than 300 women at the Healing Hands Ministries Tablescapes Luncheon Friday, her voice cracked and her hands trembled, but she held her head high. After earning her degree and the respect of peers in the medical community, she now works as Referral Coordinator at the Healing Hands clinic.

Her story of “second chances” is inspiring. Leslie quit school at 17 and became pregnant at 18. Then came welfare, police and drugs.

“At some point, things started to spiral. Even when I began to think about changing, I still did wrong.”

After her third child was born, she failed a drug test and her children were taken from her by Child Protective Services.

“But God wasn’t through with me,” Moralez told the rapt crowd.

After serving a year in prison and earning her kids back, she went back to school to pursue a degree in the medical field.

“Some thought I was chasing an empty dream,” said Moralez. “I just needed stability and guidance.”

“I never want to go backwards,” she says now, “my children are depending on me. I have been where these patients are. I am so proud of the work we do at Healing Hands.”

You can see my photos from the luncheon here.

Luau Lunch by Debby Gray

Luau Lunch by Debby Gray

Also addressing attendees was author, radio host and life-coach Gail McWilliams. Blind since an illness forced her to choose between eyesight and the life of her unborn child, McWilliams urged the women to rely more on faith to reach new levels of joy in their lives.

“There’s so much more than what you are seeing,” said the mother of five. “If you go only on what you see, you’ll be limited, discouraged and disappointed. “

“You get to see other lives transformed,” she continued.” Today is the day to do something for someone else.”

You can learn more about Healing Hands on their website here.