Crystal Learns the Skills to Become a Better Parent
When Crystal heard that her sister would be having a life-threatening delivery of her baby in 2009, she immediately took her three kids, left her Boston home and flew to Orlando to take care of her. Doctors initially thought her sister would be in the hospital for only a few weeks, but the complications grew and Crystal spent three months trying to juggle her sister’s home and her own home back in Boston.
“I basically didn’t have the money to support both of our lives,” Crystal said. “My sister needed a place to stay more than I did so I gave up my home so I could make sure she would be taken care of.”
Thankfully, her sister and the baby came home healthy with no further complications. Crystal helped her sister get adjusted to her newborn and get back on her feet. But the house was a bit small for both sisters and all their children so Crystal started looking for a place to stay. After giving up her home in Boston, Crystal felt overwhelmed and frightened that she did know where to turn next. That’s when she found the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.
“I cried with relief when I found this place,” Crystal said. “It was a place that I could focus on where I need to go next, a place that gave my family the peace we needed during a really difficult time.”
Crystal threw herself into all the Mission had to offer. The Victorious Life Program helped strengthen her faith and the Career Learning Center helped her brush up in different academic subjects. But the class that had one of the biggest impacts on her family was about parenting.
“I was raised in an abusive home and was terrified of putting my kids through the same pain I went through. I didn’t know how to discipline them – so I wouldn’t,” she said. “My kids knew that if I punished them for something, they would be let off soon after because I felt a false sense of guilt.”
With no boundaries, her children weren’t learning crucial life skills needed for success. The lack of discipline and boundaries at home led to her son getting into fights at school. But things started to change when Crystal starting a class about parenting.
“I started using what I learned with my children. I was amazed to see that those lessons worked! And I still use them to this day,” she said. The shift in parenting resulted in a slow but steady shift in her children’s behavior. That same son who was acting out a few years ago is now on the honor roll along with his brother and sister.
While living at the Mission, Crystal also rekindled a friendship with a man she had known for years. He asked if he could start attending the Bible studies hosted at the Mission and began going with Crystal to church. The two fell in love.
“The support I found here helped me learn good, healthy ways to live. And in that process, God brought a wonderful, godly man who became my husband,” Crystal said.
Crystal’s family was ready to move out to an apartment of their own near downtown Orlando in November 2011. Her manager position at Universal Studios, along with her husband’s construction job, provided enough income to establish a foundation for the family to stand on. She’s quick to admit their family isn’t perfect, but they are certainly redeemed.
“It was such a blessing to be a part of a place like this. I don’t know where we would be if God hadn’t led us here. It was our home when we no longer had one.”
During her time at the Mission, Crystal learned valuable parenting skills that she is still using today. O.U.R. Mission Home offers this kind of life-changing care to more than 30 families each day. Your support today will create more stories of transformation tomorrow. Each gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.