Forsaken But Not Abandoned: The Story of Carol
I am a mother with two beautiful girls. We are living at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission because the father of my children abandoned us. I stayed in that unhealthy, abusive relationship with my children’s father for a decade because my worst fears in life were to be homeless and to be a single parent. But in late 2012, my worst fears became reality.
It started when I gave my life to Jesus Christ. My oldest daughter and I were baptized in September 2012. We immediately became active in our new church – attending weekly services and Bible study and serving in whatever way we could. I was full of questions about my new faith and was hungry to learn.
With the support of my new church family, I was able to muster the confidence to place restrictions and institute changes in the abusive relationship with the father of my children. When it became clear that I was indeed forever changed, he handed me the keys and walked out the door without even saying goodbye to his children. We haven’t seen or heard from him since.
I then challenged my Pastor and church leadership in anger. I wanted to know how a loving and merciful God would allow this to happen to such an obedient follower. It’s not like I hadn’t been looking for a way out of the relationship for the past year. I had applied for numerous jobs and had several interviews. Wouldn’t a merciful God have met my need for employment so that I could support my family?
As the days passed and I could not find a solution, I began to sell my belongings to pay off our financial responsibilities. Time passed and my desperation grew – we were quickly falling out of the middle class into poverty. I threw my Bible away along with my cross and the shirt that I was baptized in. I didn’t stop believing in God, but rather rejected him. I told him that he could count on all the people that he favored for worship as I would no longer worship or follow him.
The road from my lovely Morrison Townhouse in Lake Mary to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission marked the darkest days of my life. I had been suffering from a chronic headache every day for the past year due to the stress of my situation. Now that I am here, I see the purpose and the lessons that God wanted me to learn in every step that I have taken. Here, my family has found an environment where we feel safe and press the restart button. After my first month at the Mission, I experienced complete relief from the headache! I am grateful in my current circumstances here because the Lord has provided all the resources I need to learn and assume the role of head of my family.
How blessed I am to realize my worst fears in life and to be standing strong and grateful for the opportunity for a fresh start. I believe that a lifetime of poor outcomes based on personal choices made outside Biblical principles can be overcome by accepting Jesus and learning to make choices based on God’s will. I was empowered when I realized that I am not scarred from my abusive past, but rather perfectly formed because of it.
There are many things that I miss from my old life. I miss swimming with my girls in our pool, riding our bikes in the neighborhood, and spending our evenings making elaborate home cooked meals. While I have certainly lost a lot, I didn’t lose everything because I did not lose my girls! In the early morning hours while my girls are still asleep, I look at their beautiful faces and thank God for letting me be their mother. I am so truly blessed to be a part of their life and responsible for their upbringing. For that I am so very grateful!