In 1998, I was born the second of six children. My father was not in our lives, leaving my mother to struggle with young children from shelter to shelter, sometimes up before dawn, walking miles to the next one. This continued for years and I was ashamed we never had a home. Finally when we did, my mother was so ill I was put in charge. At 12, it was a lot but I was happy preparing meals, keeping up with the children, before long buying groceries, paying bills and washing clothes. I felt like their mom!
Years passed and this was normal for me until at 17 mom decided to let “dad” into our lives after completing his 9yr prison term! For years he wasn't there, we didn’t know him and now they were moving us from our home where we were happy and safe to be with this “stranger,” I was shocked and angry. It wasn’t long before the madness began with him yelling at her, then us, then it got physical. Never had I known such fear. When I knew she would not leave, I did and it broke my heart that my siblings had no choice.
I entered the Job Corps and completed my GED and certificate in basic culinary. It had not been easy but I was taught to keep God in mind when things were rough so I prayed and asked for help. When an opportunity came for me to attend culinary school in San Francisco, I went and worked hard to become a chef. The relationship with my mother was no better, I was still angry and confused that she had put us all at risk and we barely spoke.
I moved to Nevada while in an abusive relationship that had led me far from my faith and when that ended, I partied and drank with friends, all the while blaming God. One day I received a call that my mother was worse, her heart only 10% effective. Not having seen her in 4½ years, I left right away to be there. Unfortunately, the arguing began that day and 3 days later they moved from California, leaving my siblings and I to move into her old place. Just 5 weeks later she called and something told me to let go of my anger. I was so happy to hear her voice, especially when at the end of the call we both said, “I love you.” I didn’t know that only hours later she would die and I would never see her again! That month we lost our home and the sadness was unbearable. I left the family and rented a room, unable to watch others cry when I could not, instead hiding my emotions as my mother had. I began drinking excessively, harming myself, even considering suicide though I knew I could not cause my siblings more pain. I kept asking, “God why? Our lives have been so hard, why did you have to take her?”
When I found out I was pregnant, I fell to my knees and sobbed uncontrollably, not knowing what I would do. Suddenly, I was calm and felt at peace, realizing mom had raised six children with God as her refuge and we had never lived on the street or gone to bed hungry. God cared for all of us, He would do the same for me and my daughter. He rescued me that day, leading me to Mama’s House where I am better and stronger today as my faith continues to grow. Through Christ all things are possible and truly, I am BLESSED.