Irene’s Story: Finding Solid Ground

“God’s love and kindness will SHINE UPON US like the sun that rises in the sky.” (Luke 1:78)

 

Irene's story of faithShe bundled her six-week-old daughter against the frigid air as she climbed the stone steps of Family Life Services. The winter wind whipped around them, cold & menacing. Irene had already weathered many storms in her young life. Domestic violence from a partner who held her captive against her will. Years in and out of homelessness. Separation from her first child. Difficulty holding a job. Pain in her family of origin that seemed irreparable. A belief, born of her many trials, that God was against her and didn’t love her. Her childhood faith was lost.

But as she entered our foyer, the warm welcome from staff felt like a soft blanket wrapped around her. She was overjoyed when she received a key to one of our nine apartments. Her life had felt like a tempest, but her trajectory was about to change. The peace of our refuge would allow Irene a chance to breathe and then, standing on solid ground, to pivot to her better future.

FLS staff quickly assured her that she wasn’t alone. “There was never any judgment, only encouragement. Even when I made mistakes, every interaction with staff was positive.” At FLS, one-on-one coaching helps moms define their own goals as they become the stable heads of their households, equipped to meet their children’s needs. In Irene’s case, her coach walked beside her into new territory. “[It was] tough at first,” admits Irene, as she chose to be accountable on many fronts, including her finances. But she worked hard, leaving early for her job each day because the city bus was her only transportation to get her daughter to childcare and to be at work on time. When a special donor & friend of FLS gifted her with a car, she felt propelled forward, filled with gratitude. She also felt that perhaps God was for her, not against her. The love she witnessed softened her, and slowly she read the Bible again, prayed, and increasingly saw answers to those prayers. “I learned He’s a God of love Who I can trust. I’ve been rebuilding what I lost, and I’m so much more connected to Jesus now.”

This trust grew as Irene linked arms in community each Monday night, with new discoveries in emotional resilience and parenting skills. “I think about it all the time–what I learned and how I grew emotionally. I gained the confidence that I can be a good mom to my little girl.”

Irene lived on campus for almost one & a half years before receiving a voucher that allows her to pay 30 percent of her income for rent, her ticket to permanent, stable housing. She says her time at FLS truly changed the course of her life and she stays deeply connected, returning often for guidance and for Women of Courage gatherings. Together, she and her WOC mentor, Patty, share joys, chat on the phone, meet for coffee, and read the Psalms. Irene’s maintained a steady job and hopes to become a manager. She’s in a healthy rhythm of shared custody with her son. Within her extended family, significant healing and forgiveness are unfolding. This month, WOC Director Nikki and supportive friends joined in celebrating her daughter’s 3rd birthday. Irene’s growing faith is strong and her discipline is inspiring: “I’m committed to staying on track with my own goals. If it weren’t for FLS, I’d still be homeless.”

I was homeless for years. Because of FLS, I’ve become a stronger parent and an independent woman….I’ve been rebuilding what I lost. —Irene

By God’s grace, this is the abundant fruit of Family Life Services. It’s what we do—helping single moms and their children build new futures though faith-based community.

With every step forward, Irene feels the sun shining brighter. Her sparkling smile reflects God’s deep love and the ray of new hope. Her transformation glows.

She’s radiant.

 

Want to come alongside families like Irene’s? Learn how to volunteer or give. Through God’s grace, we rely on volunteers and private donations. Thank you for making a difference!

 

 

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