By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Diana Peterson-Lane was an addict. Then she found Joy Junction-and Jesus.
If you’d asked Diana 10 years ago what lay ahead for her down the road you would have gotten a pretty vague response. Diana said she didn’t think she was worth any sort of future-good or bad.She said, “It wasn't just because I couldn't shake my addiction. It was because ... I truly believed I was a nobody and a nothing, so why would I have any type of future.”
However, that has all changed during Diana’s time at Joy Junction. Shelter staff, she said, “saw something in me that I had no clue was there.”
As a result, Diana said, her future is bright. “No illness or hard times can make that view change. I have something for my children to be proud of, and to be able to tell their friends when they talk about their mom.”
RA- Rheumatoid Arthritis and a Righteous Attitude
Considering the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis with which she has a constant battle, Diana’s energy and attitude are amazing.Diana said, “I get asked things like, ‘Why aren't you on disability?’ and ‘How do you work all the time?’ I always have the same answer, ‘God.’”
Diana said if it wasn’t God’s will, then she wouldn’t be able to do her job or deal with everything she has to daily.
She said, “The days that the pain is so bad ... I remember I am blessed and that if I don't get up, I may never get up.”
While those times are rough for Diana, she said she likes to tell people that while she has “RA,” the “RA” she likes to focus on is a righteous attitude.
Diana said the way her life has evolved over the last few years is proof positive of God’s intervention in her life.
Working to Help and Inform Others
As a driver and volunteer coordinator for Joy Junction, Diana called what she does “the best jobs in the world.”
Diana’s driving position means she is the first contact for a number of our new shelter guests. She said she holds that dear, “because I was them not too long ago. It helps not only keeps me grounded and remind me where I came from, but lets me help make some of their fears fade away long before we even get back to property.”
One of Diana’s fellow drivers, Liz Boniface, complimented her. She said, “Diana is a hard worker, no matter what she may be going through. She's always ready with a kind word for all of us, even when in pain she always has a smile.”
On her two days a week as volunteer coordinator, Diana gets the opportunity to give people a tour of Joy Junction and help them understand what we’re all about.
She said, “We’re not just a homeless shelter but a place for people to heal. (I aim to) break down the walls of misunderstanding that the community may have of homelessness, and help show we are human beings just like them.”
Resident Services Manager Joel Steen said he also appreciates Diana. “ I see her trying to do what is best for Joy Junction, even when her medical condition makes it difficult for her. She also has a sense of humor, vital in our work. She genuinely cares about our residents.”
Reflecting on her time at Joy Junction, Diana said it has helped make her a productive, strong and loving person.
She continued, “How many people can say that they have a great support system at work and in their private life? Well, I can. With the things I have gone through with my family and my health I still stand tall, and I don't stand alone.”
Diana said she is proud of what God has allowed her to accomplish and thanks Him for all the blessings she's received.
“I know without Him and my family here at Joy Junction I would have lost it a very long time ago, but instead of falling into a very deep abyss, I prevail. ‘My peeps’ have helped me through some of my own trials with their prayers and daily smiles.”
Diana has also helped us through some of our trials by making us smile. Thanks Diana!