Kristen Maddox was desperate. She was strung out on crack cocaine and pregnant when she pushed open the door of what she thought was an abortion clinic.

The door opened instead to a Christian crisis pregnancy center.

“They told me my baby was a baby,” Maddox said. “Even though I’d had abortions in the past, this was the first time anybody had ever told me my baby was a baby.”

That was in 1996 and the baby, her third, is now a healthy young adult.

But each day, she continues to push open that very same door — Suite 5 at Dixon Medical Offices at the intersection of Florida Boulevard and Juban Road. It is now home to A Door of Hope Ministries, founded by Maddox, who is its president.

“A Door of Hope is here to provide free services to girls and women, ages 13 and up, who are struggling with life-controlling issues and self-destructive behaviors,” the 44-year-old Maddox said. “Those issues and behaviors can be anything from childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction, past abortion, eating disorders, depression, self-harm — but what sets us apart is our faith and hope in Jesus Christ.”

Each week, between 10 to 20 girls and women are counseled by a small staff of dedicated Christian volunteers, she said, adding the need for their ministry is great.

Maddox said they counsel girls and women who cut themselves, have abortions, are sexually abused or who have run away from home.

Her own story

Maddox said she grew up in a dysfunctional home in Culver City, California.

As a young teen, she married Rick Maddox, and, she said, addiction to drugs soon followed.

“Nothing could help me with my battle with addiction — AA, NA, inpatient, outpatient, nothing had the power to change me until I found Jesus Christ — or he found me,” Maddox said.

After her 1996 visit to the crisis pregnancy center, she chose life for her baby but was still an addict. So, she said, she turned herself in to her probation officer and was incarcerated.

“I was all alone in jail and that’s when I began to really cry out to God to save me and forgive me and to please help me. And he heard my cry,” Maddox said. “I walked into that jail broken, alone, lost, scared, but I walked out free, saved, healed and into the arms of my husband.”

For 10 years Maddox worked as a counselor at the crisis center until that organization moved to another location. She established A Door of Hope in her home for a year then, in an incredible “God-thing,” she said, the very same office suite she visited in 1996 became available. They moved in last year.

What’s ahead

Along with the Bible-based counseling by dedicated volunteers in two comfortable rooms, A Door of Hope also provides a link to shelters, classes, retreats and summer camp sessions dealing with a variety of issues, visits to the women in the Livingston Parish Jail and a free clothes closet.

The ministry also has a nearby office suite transformed into a television studio for a new, weekly community affairs program, “Keeping it Real,” hosted by Maddox and board member Shona Butler, that airs at 7:30 a.m., Fridays on Fox 44.

“Our passion is to give hope, to speak life, to encourage, to build up, to tell people about God’s love, and tell them that it doesn’t matter how many times they’ve messed up it doesn’t matter, you’re not a failure,” Maddox said. “If you’ve messed up a thousand times he’ll forgive you one thousand and one times, there is always one more. There is always hope. Jesus is our hope!”