New Year, New Goals

Gia Timmons, LifeHope Childcare mom

In September 2016, a month after my son turned one, my worst fear came true. I unexpectedly became a single mother. I always had the perfect picture of how my life would end up: career, married, children, and living a happy life as a mother and wife. This is not at all how my life would pan out.

Between the years of 2011 and 2014, I turned into someone I did not recognize. I made very poor life choices, I let people into my life I shouldn’t have, I hurt the people most important to me in ways I never imagined, and I would find myself a drug addict fighting for my life.

On August 25, 2014, I walked through the doors at Northland, and this was the day the Lord saved my life. Through the connections I made in years prior, Pastor Gus suggested I go see Melissa about LifeHope Childcare, which Northland had recently opened. I had no idea what this program was about or how much it could impact my life. When I met with Melissa, it felt as if for a second I could breathe again. By the grace of God, she accepted me and my son into the program.

I was now able to bring my child to the cottages every day for childcare so I could go out and make a life for us. As I began my advocate meetings, I started creating goals. I wanted to make more money; I wanted to put a roof over our heads; I just wanted to be a strong, independent mother for my child. He deserves the world, and I want to give it to him.

Slowly I began achieving these goals. I started my own business as a hairstylist in my own salon studio, and I got a second job working in a retirement home to supplement my income. After becoming involved with LifeHope Childcare, I realized I wanted to work with children. I want to be the safe haven where mothers and fathers can drop their children off and go to work without a worry. I want to impact the lives of children and help them grow and develop to enter the world of education.

One day in a meeting with my advocates, I said, “I want to go back to school.” You can’t set a goal in front of your advocates and not follow through with it because they always motivate you and hold you accountable. By the end of that day, I was enrolled at Seminole State College and preparing to choose my classes for the upcoming semester.

What was happening? I was achieving all these goals I never dreamed I could. I am now preparing to graduate in the spring with my associate’s in early childhood education with a 3.5 GPA, all while working two jobs and being a mother to a rambunctious toddler, and I’m heading on to earn my bachelor’s.

Throughout the beginning of this journey as a newly single mother, my son and I were living with my parents. Although I love them dearly, I wanted a place to call my own. Through the support, encouragement and accountability of Lifehope Childcare, I now also have a home of my own.

Although things are still very hard, life is stressful, and my journey is not done yet, I have come further than I could have ever imagined, and it wouldn't have been possible without LifeHope Childcare. This program has changed my life. While my son’s time at LifeHope is coming to an end, as he is aging out of the program, my time is not over. This program means so much to me, and I can’t imagine my life without it. Although my son will not be attending childcare every day, I will still be actively involved because this program saved me. I could not have achieved all of this without everyone involved at LifeHope Childcare.

Sometimes I forget that this isn’t something that all moms have. To me, it’s just become such a part of my life, but then I realize only a few moms get to experience this, and it brings me back down to reality about just how blessed I am. This program works, and I thank God for it every day.

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LifeHope Childcare, also known as “the cozy cottages near The Rink,” is a program for single moms and their babies up to 36 months old. Our volunteers help the days run smoothly by spending time with the babies, feeding them, playing with them, reading stories, and assisting with projects, snack time and naps.

If you are interested in becoming a baby rocker, plan to attend orientation January 16 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in The Hub. You must RSVP in advance. During this time, you’ll learn the history of this ministry, take a tour of the cottages, and fill out the required papers to get started! For more information, contact Melissa Rivera, director of LifeHope Childcare, at melissa.rivera@northlandchurch.net or 407-949-4017.