LifeHope Childcare Stories

LifeHope Childcare Stories

August 9, 2021

E.H.'s Story

I think it’s important to know a little bit about my childhood as they often shape us into who we are as adults. Growing up in a split household after my parents divorced when I was 8, I watched both of my parents struggle in so many ways. I watched my mom give so much of herself to a man who didn’t know how to appreciate or value her. Women, Drugs and alcohol were always more important than I was to my dad growing up and my mom worked endlessly to provide for us. She was the definition of selfless and gave even though her cup was empty. I always thought she was the strongest kindest person in the world but it honestly wasn’t until the last year that I realized how unhealthy the way she lived truly was. I learned that she lacked boundaries and I grew up not even knowing what those were…I think she never learned what they were from lack of exposure growing up watching her parents struggle. She passed away when I was just 13 years old and at that time my world had shattered and I felt so alone. I didn’t know how to handle life as I was never taught any healthy coping skills. I started hurting myself at that time and searching for comfort. To be honest, I have been suicidal at many points in my life and have always had this deep sadness and perpetual feeling of inadequacy. I found a sense of comfort in the attention of boys…and as I grew up that turned into the attention of men…I was involved in very unhealthy relationships with males starting at a very young age and dealt with being raped and abused several times. I was drawn to a specific type of person…someone who needed help, or to be rescued. I couldn’t help myself, it was like a magnet. No matter how poorly I was treated, the only thing that would make me feel important is making someone love me. Those people were never capable of loving me but I didn't realize that at the time… I just thought I was not worthy of love. I couldn’t see the love that God has for me…all I could see was a broken girl who had nothing to give.

8 years ago I met a guy who, to put it lightly, was a mess. Fresh out of the military, living with his ex girlfriend, while his parents took care of his daughter for him, driving with expired tags and a suspended drivers license. Could there be any more red flags? I was blind to red flags…they were not a warning for me, they were a call to help, not to run away. I slowly began “fixing” him and took on raising his daughter. I would say I was raising her with him, but I was raising her alone. Although we were together, I was always doing everything alone. I was cheated on and lied to repeatedly and over the years my self esteem withered away to nothing. I had become the version of my mother that I never wanted to be. I struggled really bad with mental health issues and I lived in a constant state of survival mode. Every day was a struggle emotionally, living with debilitating depression. It was 4 1/2 years into the relationship I became pregnant with my daughter…3 days after my father passed away. I was an emotional mess… I’ll never forget waiting on the results of the pregnancy test crying, praying that it would be negative but knowing that it was going to be positive. I was shattered and looking back that breaks my heart because I was told I would never be able to have children due to health reasons and I always wanted to be a mother…but I truly did not want to have a baby with him.

I told him that things needed to change, “for real this time” and gave him an ultimatum that if he didn’t become a “better person”, a better partner, and a better father, that I would leave him and his daughter and raise my daughter alone. Well, he didn’t change. My whole pregnancy was so stressful and although him and I loved each other it was toxic. When I gave birth things were ok for while but it just felt like I was stuck in this pit still , but it was different now. Something has changed…I didn’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that this sort of family or relationship dynamic was ok, or normal. I wanted her to have a different view than what I had growing up…a different example… so after over a year, I began taking the steps to move out and leave him. I wanted to break the cycle.

I have no family and no help and was searching for anything…on Facebook one day asking about housing for single mothers when a friend messaged me. She told me to reach out to her friend Melissa and to see if she could help me. After communicating via email I had a zoom call with Melissa and Susan and shared some of my story with them. I cried the entire time and I essentially begged for help. My situation was not the same as a lot of the mothers in the program and I always felt like I didn’t “deserve” to be there because I wasn’t in as “bad of a situation” as most of the moms. It wasn’t until I began the life Hope program that I realized a lot of aspects of my life were not healthy or good and that stemmed from my problems and not someone else’s.  It was through all of the classes we had during the course of my enrollment in the program that I was able to grow so much. They gave me a safe space that I’ve never had and certainly wasn’t used to. I was given a security that I hadn’t known before within a group of loving people who only wanted to see me succeed and wanted the best for my child.  One of the biggest accomplishments was the self growth that I had experienced while in the program. I had no idea how bad my codependency issues were until I actually had the time to stop and think about how I got to the point in life where I did. With the thought-provoking journal entries that were required, the handouts and activities that we were given, as well as the classes that we took,  my eyes were really opened to a lot of things that I simply did not know I needed to address… a lot of things I knew where there but I didn’t want to see. I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts and educating myself on codependency and boundaries, anxiety, communication. Through our faith and finance course I learned how to budget which was something that I never saw growing up. I was raised poor, always struggling and perpetuated that lifestyle as an adult. The accountability in the program to stick to a budget and use money wisely was something I needed. I haven’t had parents since I was 13 and have never had to answer to anyone.. I’ve never had any support or accountability for my actions/lack there of. I’m so thankful for that class because for the first time in my life I have a savings account which actually has money in it! I learned how to meal prep too! I always felt that I wasnt given the resources to help myself but the truth is I avoided them. I deprived myself of growth simply because I had become complacent in life before lifehope.

My daughters father also began a journey of self growth and recovery. He joined the celebrate recovery program at northland and found a great support group for addicts and recovering addicts. I was separated from him for almost a year when we decided that we were both at a point to where we think we could begin rebuilding our relationship. I’m proud to say that we have both come so far in our own separate journeys that we have began a new chapter in our story that is better than any one so far. Through northlands amazing programs he has grown so much as a man and has let the love of God flow into his heart. Attending church service together as a family on Sunday’s is something I never imagined happening but here we are. I am so excited for the future for the first time since I can remember.

I have learned so much from this program but most of all I learned to let my guard down so I could know what Gods love feels like. I have seen how much He can work through people. He has his hand on northland and the Life Hope program and he is blessing so many hearts and souls. I would not be where I am in my life or my walk with God if it wasn’t for life Hope… I don’t even know if I’d still be alive to be honest. Truly the best gift God has given me was the love I’ve received since starting the program. Forever grateful.

A.S's Story

When I was 19 I lost my dad to cancer. I lost half of my soul that day, but most importantly I lost my faith. “God isn’t real, he would never let something like this happen to me.” After this pivotal point in my life I turned to alcohol and surrounding myself with people who weren’t good for me. I dropped out of college. I clung to a boy who disrespected me and emotional abused me. I stayed in this toxic relationship for about six years.  At 23 I ended up getting pregnant with him. The moment I found out I was pregnant I started coming out of the dark cloud I was in for the past several years.  I finally realized I deserved better and I needed to leave him, but I couldn’t give up this baby.  I went on to giving birth to the most perfect baby boy. I  had finally regained the other half of my soul that day. My son brought a happiness and love out of me that I never knew was possible. I still wasn’t happy with where I was in life though. I was living with my son’s father’s family and only working part time at a restaurant. I had absolutely nothing to show for myself and had no way of living independently. Things with my son’s father started getting bad. When my son was 1 we got kicked out of our home. I had nowhere to go and no money in the bank to get a place of my own. I was about a couple days away from going to a women’s homeless shelter. One day I finally went online and started sending applications for full time jobs. I also was trying to figure out what I would do for day care. A family friend of mine had told me about Life Hope Child Care. I went on and applied, called, but didn’t hear anything for a while. A couple weeks went by and I finally ended up getting a full time job. The same day I got the job offer I heard back from Life Hope that they had a spot opening up in their cottage 2 (for 1 year olds). “What a coincidence!” I thought. My family friend said “that isn’t a coincidence, that’s God”. Since being a part of Life Hope Child Care I now have a one bedroom apartment for my son and I. I bought a car. I’m slowly building up a savings for my future. I am attending college again to be a Radiation Therapist. I’m achieving small personal goals of mine. I am surrounded by a bunch of other strong, inspiring moms who motivate and support me. Most importantly, I am forming a relationship with God again. This process of self growth has not been easy, but I am so thankful I have everyone's support to help me push through. I am so blessed my life led me to Life Hope Child Care and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me.

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