NORTH PORT (FBW)—Pattie Mallette, better known as Justin Bieber’s mom and author of the bestseller Nowhere but Up, knows what it means to be at rock bottom and find forgiveness again and again and again.
And the best part about her story of hope—she says it’s not about her at all.
Mallette can define her rags to riches life in one word: “grace.”
That’s where her rags to riches story begins—with grace. Mallette shared her story with the congregation at South Biscayne Church in North Port April 7 through a question and answer session with Senior Pastor John Cross and his wife, Dawn.
It’s no secret that Mallette’s life has changed drastically. A mere five years ago, Mallette and her family were holed up in government housing in Canada. Now, she lives in Los Angeles, Calif. thanks to her son’s rise to stardom.
“Thirty-three years of my life were filled with normal struggles just like everyone,” Mallette said.
Mallette faced trials early in her childhood that many might not consider part of the norm, however.
The 38-year-old mom said she struggled with feelings of worthlessness in her teen years—something attributed to feelings of being abandoned and orphaned by her parents, who split when she was two.
Mallette didn’t know her father for several years, seeing him less than sporadically. When she was five years old, she became a victim of sexual abuse, she said. Mallette was reunited with her father at nine years of age, only to have him die shortly after.
The young girl just had one question: “What’s wrong with me?”
The thoughts of abandonment and sexual abuse ultimately led her to engage in unhealthy relationships, she said. Drugs and alcohol became a way for her to mask her pain, and she contemplated suicide when she was 17.
Mallette made friends with the wrong crowd—the kind of kids that have criminal records before they turn 18.
One day, in a fit of boredom she and her friends stumbled upon a then-unopened youth center. They broke into the facility, finding a sign in the center that said “no drinking, smoking, swearing or drugs.”
“No way would I ever go in there, but we found it. So it was like it was ours,” Mallette remembered.
So she kept going back to the youth center once it opened. During her time there, she met John Brown, director of the youth center. Brown changed Mallette’s perception of Christ.
“John Brown just kept showing me love,” she said.
Mallette eventually found herself in the hospital after a stint with drugs. She sat in that hospital alone, realizing that her so-called friends really weren’t concerned with her or her life. But Brown was. He visited and brought her a rose.
“This is how He sees you. God told me to bring this to you,” Mallette recalled Brown’s words.
“He asked me ‘what do you have to lose by giving God a chance?’” Mallette said. “I have nothing to lose. I can’t even roll my eyes at that.”
Mallette was in a quandary— trust a God she couldn’t physically see or continue to embrace a lifestyle that landed her in the hospital?
“If you’re here, show me what you got. Let’s see what you can do with my life. If it’s too late for me, I totally get that,” Mallette remembered praying. “I have to give up my drugs and alcohol. You better be better than my drugs and alcohol.”
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