Aquila Learns to Leave Her Bitterness Behind
“When I came to Florida, I was running,” confesses Aquila.
She was a walking mess of hurt, anger, and fear – and understandably so. She had decided to leave an abusive marriage during the summer of 2007, but that also meant leaving her job, car, and life in Virginia. With three children to care for and pregnant with a fourth, Aquila moved into her grandmother’s Orlando home so someone could watch the children while she went to work at Dillard’s.
They lived there just long enough for Aquila to save up enough money to get a place of their own. Aquila was trying to recover emotionally from the abuse while also quickly learning how to be the sole provider for her children. But just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse, her grandmother experienced a terrible fall and broke both of her legs. Aquila found herself taking care of four people and herself.
“I was overcome with bitterness and anger – why would God allow this to happen?” she said. Another family member offered to take care of her grandmother but it would mean Aquila and her children needed to leave the house. She bounced around from place to place, living wherever there was enough room for her growing family. By the time she gave birth to fourth child, she was at rock bottom.
“My lowest point was when we were living out of a car. I was at the end of my rope, exhausted by the struggle,” she remembered.
A friend told her the Orlando Union Rescue Mission might be the perfect refuge – not just for Aquila’s family, but also for her heart. There was a deeper issue that threatened the family’s future well-being: Aquila needed to overcome her bitterness and deep-seeded belief of her worthlessness if she was going to provide the love and care her family needed.
“Through everything, I lost a lot of confidence in myself and in God,” she said. “But the Bible studies let me ask tough questions and get real answers from the staff. They loved me enough to confront me with tough questions too.”
The Mission’s Career Learning Center (CLC) also played a key role in Aquila’s rediscovery of dignity. Prior to attending memory therapy and academic refresher courses, Aquila thought of herself as too inept to accomplish much of anything. But the self-paced courses she attended at the CLC helped her regain confidence in her own abilities.
Aquila’s newfound confidence set the tone for her involvement in Jobs Partnership, a partner organization of the Mission that helps men and women with job placement and job-skill training. Soon after completing the Jobs Partnership course, she started working full-time in the medical field.
Aquila immediately started saving money for a car and a place of her own. “At that point, I felt like I could breathe again. I was learning how to really provide for my family and think clearly about the future,” she said.
Aquila’s progress gained speed as she started to live with a new mindset: Instead of bitterness, she held to the hope that she could maintain a home of her own, be a good mom, and perform well at her job. In summer of 2008, she moved into an apartment in Orlando.
Today, Aquila and her children are on their own and self-sufficient. Aquila is attending school to advance her career, thanks to a grant she received from her service in the military before she had children.
The broken-hearted woman who knocked on the Mission’s door in 2007 has transformed into a mother who has the strength to love and lead her family.
“The Mission was our hiding place when we needed it most,” Aquila said. “The people there served as God’s mouthpiece to us because they didn’t see us as a problem to be fixed but as people needing to be loved.”
Aquila’s faith was restored and her life was transformed during her time at the Mission. Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home offers life-changing care to more than 30 families, like Aquila’s. Help create more stories of life transformation through your support today. Each gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and life changing care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida!