A Story of Hope
This is the story of Marie (not her real name, but this is a real participant in the Sheltering Grace program).
In March, we received a call from the City of Refuge in Atlanta. The social worker on the other end asked about openings in our program. She had a woman in her office, in her early 40s who was homeless, pregnant, and in need of housing. We discussed our program and she agreed to bring Marie to the office for an intake interview. And so, this is how we met Marie. After the interview and successfully completed background check, the decision was made to accept her into the program.
Marie’s story is lengthy. Chronically homeless for the past five years and living under bridges and in a tent, she found herself pregnant. She wanted to have her baby in a safe place so she sought out shelter. Marie moved into one of our homes in April and immediately the staff was challenged with issues they do not normally face. After being hit by a car at age 16, Marie suffered a right brain injury and though she is able to learn, she does not always learn in the “traditional” manner. Her willingness to do whatever was asked of her, however, touched our entire staff and we began to seek out resources so that Marie would be able to parent her child.
We immediately recognized that literacy was a definite challenge facing Marie. We determined that some of her issues stemmed from the fact that she had visual problems. She was able to have a vision test and glasses were ordered for her. She was then enrolled in adult literacy classes and she faithfully attended class twice a week. Five months later, we only wish you could hear her in morning devotions as she reads paragraphs from the Bible–it would truly bless your heart.
Because of the past generosity of donors, we have been able to provide Marie with parenting, anger management, nutrition, smart goals and life skills classes. She has made tremendous progress and she is now working toward entry into a vocational training program so that she will be able to provide for her family.
Additionally, Marie faced some medical issues. The doctors feared that she might go into early labor, but with a safe place to be able to rest, prepare healthy meals, and get the emotional support she needed, this was not the case. In late September–and at full term–Marie gave birth to a beautiful 8 lb. 10 oz. baby girl (we’ll call her baby Grace). Mom and baby are both doing very well and Sheltering Grace continues to support them by providing resources, counseling, and direction so that mom can make the best decisions for her precious little one’s future.
Marie is constantly telling those around her that Sheltering Grace is “the family she never had before.” It is an awesome responsibility knowing that the moms and babies in crisis who we serve will always be a part of our lives. There is a beautiful quote that sums up the staff’s feelings about Marie and her precious daughter– “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same. “ Marie and Grace are those “others”.
As this holiday season rapidly approaches, we wanted to share this story with you because it is a story you have helped write. Please know that it is only through your generosity that lives are impacted for the Kingdom of Christ. These precious lives are a true example of how each of us can make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Thank you for being a part! It wouldn’t happen without you.