Tia Finds Hope, Healing During Her Darkest Hour
When Tia’s husband walked out on her and their seven children in 2007, she didn’t have time to get upset or grieve. He was the breadwinner of the family, so when he left the family was left with nothing.
Tia immediately went to work doing medical billing and coding department so she could support her children, and they were able to get by for a few years. But then the Great Recession caught up with her company and Tia’s job was swept away with budget cuts and downsizing.
It wasn’t long before the family lost their home and most of their possessions. A friend let them move in temporarily while Tia looked for work or help. She can remember looking for work with a baby on her hip because she couldn’t afford childcare. It was about this time that the heartbreak and stress of her circumstances began to roll in like dark storm clouds. Depression set in, making Tia anxious, distrusting, and apprehensive.
That’s when she found the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Since the Mission’s private family rooms are designed to comfortably accommodate up to eight people, the whole family was able to stay together.
“I got to the Mission wearing clothes that I had worn for three straight days,” said Tia. “The place was so nice but I was lost in depression. You never picture yourself in a shelter.”
Her perception of living in a shelter was quickly shattered. Tia and her family were not in a shelter, they were in a home, where they would find the help they needed and a large family who would love them along the way.
Still apprehensive, Tia kept to herself for about a month, overwhelmed by the task of trying to learn how to support herself and her children. Another resident on the same floor reached out to her time and time again. Her loving persistence eventually helped break the fog that Tia was living in.
“I remember she came up to me one day and hugged me. That kind gesture finally broke me – I just started crying!” Tia remembered. The burden was too much to bear alone. “I was overwhelmed at the thought of managing 7 kids. But the Mission loved my kids and showered them with everything they needed: new clothes, new shoes, school supplies – even baby supplies!”
But the thing that meant the most to Tia is that her children were mentored and loved by staff and volunteers. “My kids were taught things like sports and music, but the best part was that they learned that there is so much more out there in the world than poverty. They learned that who they hang out with is who they become.”
Tia and her family found the support they needed during their time at the Mission. She began building relationships with other residents, forming friendships that endure to this day. She participated in Jobs Partnership and Bible classes that prepared her for the future.
Within a year of moving in, Tia was working as a customer service representative at a debt consolidation company and was ready to begin life on her own. The day she moved out, her newfound family at the Mission gathered around her in the parking lot to pray for her and her children. This time, there were tears of happiness, hope, and bittersweet goodbyes – not the tears of depression or sorrow.
God had already provided everything Tia needed: a steady job, care for her children, and the life skills needed to raise a family – but He wasn’t done yet. Tia met a man at church while she was living at the Mission and they started dating. The Mission staff helped them build a God-honoring relationship and the two married in December 2009. Today, she and her husband live in a five-bedroom house in Georgia. He works in finance at an auto loan company and she is a full time psychology student at Chattahoochee Technical College. Tia is also helping her 12th-grade daughter research colleges that will pave the way to her dream of becoming a pediatrician.
Tia still marvels at how she found hope and healing at the Mission after walking through the darkest time of her life.
“I believe that the Mission changed our lives forever. They made us feel like we were worth something when we felt worthless. They created a home for us instead of a shelter and they were a family to us when we were abandoned.”
Tia and her family found hope and healing during their stay. Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home offers life-changing care to more than 30 families, like Tia’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!