LENOIR CITY, Tenn. — After more than two dozen stays in jail, Tessa King knew she needed to turn her life around. She said she had been addicted to opioids for about 17 years before she went into recovery.
"My last arrest led me to where I am right now," King said. "It really did save my life."
In the Loudon County Jail, she met Susan Lynn. Lynn was not an addict but saw dozens of women suffering behind bars.
"I would see these incredible women coming in, coming out, coming in," she said. "The one thing that they said to me was, 'I had nowhere to go.'"
Lynn and King became friends. They talked about their vision for a recovery facility and how they would name it "Beauty for Ashes."
"God promises that if we will give him our ashes, he will give us such beauty," Lynn said. "That's what this house is. This is their restoration."
From jail, Tessa began talking with her mother, Teresa King, who helped start a recovery group with regular meetings.
Eventually, they transformed an old church in Lenoir City into a recovery home for sixteen women.
"To go through all that [pain with my children] and just feel sometimes hopeless and secluded and not knowing what else to do besides pray, to see the purpose for the pain is just amazing," Teresa King said. "We are seeing beautiful results."
Every day, she said the women in recovery attend different classes like Bible study. They meet with various health care professionals, get Vivatrol shots and are kept busy as they further their recovery.
Laura Foxx is one of the women who went through the Beauty for Ashes program.
"God is good and he delivered me," Foxx said. "I'm married now and have a great life."
Other women shared their stories of recovery at the home as the program celebrated its first anniversary.
"Being here has taught me a lot about walking in faith," Liz Hausley said. "As long as I walk in faith, I've got this."
As each woman gets her new start, Tessa King said she is fulfilling her purpose.
"I always say I'm small in myself, but I'm big in him, and I just want to help other people see that," she said. "It's so important that there's hope and it's not the end. If I can recover, they can recover."