Salvation Stories

Escape from Demons of Loneliness and Depression

Sandie begged God for a friend to help her—God gave her an Army

It’s possible to be in a crowded room and yet feel totally alone. That’s how Sandie Koenig felt pretty much all her adult life until a series of events eventually brought her to Pueblo, Colorado. She credits three people for helping bring her from the depths of despair: her son and daughter-in-law, Majors Jason and Angelina Koenig, and her friend Heather Adams.

When Sandie Koenig arrived in Pueblo, CO, she "didn't know a soul." She prayed for a "best friend," but had to look no further than her next-door neighbor.

“My mom made sure I went to church and I gave my heart to Christ at a young age,” Sandie says, “but when my parents divorced when I was 12, I felt that my whole life was a lie. I turned my back on God.”

Sandie admits that she began drinking and dating a series of military men—until she married a sailor. That marriage brought her two children: Jason in 1974, and Stacey in 1976. Within a few short years, her world fell apart and more loneliness crept in.

“My husband and I were both drinking heavily, and he became abusive. So for the sake and safety of my children, I filed for divorce which was finalized in 1984.”

Sandie Koenig, Junior Soldier, Pueblo Colorado Corps

Now totally alone and a single mother of two, Sandie’s war with depression and loneliness was only beginning.

“That period was traumatic for me because I did not want a divorce,” she explains. “I was desperate to make my marriage work and to do what my mom and dad couldn’t do—avoid the heartache and scars on children of divorced parents.”

In 1986, Sandie enrolled in AA to arrest her addiction.

“I decided that if I was to be successful as a single mother, I had to make sure my children were in church, and that I went with them!”

Sandie found some measure of stability, but her old demons of depression and loneliness still reared their ugly heads.

“Jason went to college and there he met and married Angelina, who was very involved in The Salvation Army,” Sandie says. “They both became very involved in the Whittier (California) Corps, and later in the Santa Monica Corps. They entered the training college and were commissioned as Salvation Army Officers in June 2000.”

By that time, Sandie had much more exposure to The Salvation Army through Jason and Angelina, and she loved very much what she saw in the Army’s mission and ministry.

“I became a soldier (lay member) one month after they were commissioned—July 2000—and they held the flags for my ceremony.”

Sandie became involved in many facets of the Army’s corps program: Girl Guards, Sunbeams, nursing home visitation. And at every Christmas season, she was immersed in kettle work, the Angel Tree, and “Breakfast With Santa.”

Sandie sings with the Praise & Worship Team at the Pueblo, CO Corps.

In 2008, she had to move to Anniston, Alabama to care for her very ill mother. But even there, Sandie sought out the Army corps and even held a job at the Domestic Violence and Women’s Shelter.

Her mom died in 2012, and Sandie felt the strong pull to relocate to the area of her mother’s upbringing, Pueblo, Colorado.

“All of my aunts and uncles were gone, but I still had a few cousins that I barely knew.”

Sandie began feeling utterly alone again, and begged God for a close friend—she only had to look as far as her next-door neighbor for that prayer's answer.

“Heather Adams became a life-saver for me.” Sandie exclaims. “She owns The Greatest Gift (a Christian bookstore) and helped me go through all my pain and hurt—and sort out this stuff!”

Using a series of self-help books, Heather tenderly mentored Sandie.

“Finally, the loneliness is gone. Because of my son and daughter-in-law introducing me to The Salvation Army and because of Heather’s friendship, I’ve learned that I am of immense worth to the Lord Jesus, and that I was never really alone all along!”

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