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The 700 Club

The House That God Built

Ashley Andrews - 700 Club Producer

Growing up in the projects of Louisville, Kentucky, Ethel Graham dreamed of the day she’d have a home of her own.

“Your mom lives in the projects, then her kids live in the projects, and then their kids live in the projects. And it was the same thing over and over,” says Ethel.  “I just kept saying, ‘I want a house. I always dreamed of having my own house’.”

But at 17, Ethel became an addict.  For 35 years she was in and out of jail for drug use and prostitution, all while mothering five children.

“I mean, I didn't see no hope. This is your life,” Ethel shares.  You ain't worth nothing. You're worthless. This is all you is.”

That changed when her granddaughter Tariah was born in 2010.  Wanting to be there for her daughter and new grandbaby, Ethel checked into rehab.  While there, she tuned into a program she had never seen before.

“I started listening to Gordon (Robertson). It was something about his voice and how he would say that God loves you. All you have to do is believe it,” Ethel recalls.  “I would see people who had stories like mine and they gave me hope. It made me believe that God loves me and if He did it for them, He can do it for me.”

Ethel began reading the Bible every day.  And even though she only received $60 every other week for disability, she began giving 10 percent to CBN.

“I made a choice that I would have to trust God. How can I go wrong on trusting God? 'Cause this is somebody that loves me no matter what,” says Ethel.

Nine months later, Ethel found herself trusting God again when she completed the program.

“Okay, I don't have a job. And I ain't never really worked. Show me what you want me to do,” Ethel remembers.

That same day, the rehab director offered her a position.

“And I'm like, ‘You want a person who was a thief, a liar, and a cheater to work for you? And she said, 'Yeah, I want you to work for us because everybody loves you and we see something different in you.'”

Immediately, Ethel found a church, continued to tithe and give to CBN.

“I never did want for nothing. I'm talking about no worries about how I'm gonna pay a bill, how I'm gonna get through the next week,” says Ethel.  “And I know it was all because I started trusting God.”

Ethel took better jobs over the next few years, and as her income increased, so did her giving. In 2011, she married Terry. Together, they saved and prayed for a place to call their own.  By 2013, Ethel’s childhood dream finally came true when she and her husband purchased a fixer-upper.

“This is my house, the house that God got for me,” says Ethel emotionally.  “It means more than words could say because once I got to the point that God loved me, all these things is extra.”

These days, Ethel celebrates her sobriety alongside her now nine-year old granddaughter Tariah.  She serves as a family mentor for child protective services, runs a recovery home for women overcoming addiction, and is earning a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Kentucky University.  She says the best reward is the blessing that comes with trusting God.

“You'll be amazed by the little that you give, and all that you'll receive from God,” Ethel declares. “Try Him, that's what He says in His Word, ‘Just try me and I'll open up the gates of Heaven and flood out a blessing’. So I say to you, try Him and watch what God do.”

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