The image isn’t pretty, but the history behind it is compelling and inspiring.
“I don’t show off my scars,” Lindsey Chupp told Goshen News writer Monica Joseph in a recent interview. Yet the 18-year-old Chupp doesn’t hide them, either. She said she tries to wear short sleeves no matter how cold it may get in Lily’s Closet, the non-profit boutique/ministry she runs in Goshen.
Chupp’s scars tell a story of awful days, but more crucially one of hope.
Chupp’s wounds are a result of what’s termed “cutting,” self-imposed injury as a way to cope with emotional strife. That turmoil the young Chupp knew only too well.
Her life has been marked by sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, an arrest and multiple suicide attempts. At one low point, she woke up in a crack house where she was staying with her boyfriend. Her first sight of the day was a woman getting ready to light a crack pipe as she dandled her baby on her knee.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to do that,” Chupp remembered. “I was not going to live like that.”
And she didn’t.
Chupp’s route out of despair hasn’t lacked for detours and rough terrain. In 2010, though, there was a turn for the better.
By then Chupp was a student at The Crossing. Around 6 a.m. one morning, she asked a teacher to go to the alternative school and pray for her. “When I got there, two dozen staff members had shown up,” she said. “That’s when I really started to straighten my life up.”
These days, life for Chupp includes being a college student pursuing a nursing degree. It also involves helping young people who need it.
At Lily’s Closet, at-risk young women ages 14 to 21 can shop for new or nearly-so clothing for free, aided by a “shopping buddy.” They can also receive prayer support. And each girl gets a hug from Chupp.