Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rhonda's Story

Someone once said "I am trying to learn to stay in the now- not the last now, not the next now; but this now." I have learned that in order to stay in the now I have to come to terms with my last now.

For years, fear consumed me. I stayed hidden indoors. This lifestyle left me with an anxious depression that turned simple things like getting out of bed into difficult tasks.

Along with anxiety, I was involved in abusive relationships. Relationships that left low self-esteem painted all over my skin. There was one instance where I even came close to losing my life. During these years I received amazing blessing, my seven kids. They were my reason to wake up, to heal from the abuse and not give up.

A year ago, a false accusation left me being placed in metal cuffs. That day my kids were taken from me and a piece of me died. I replayed the image of a man tearing my world apart again. My walls collapsed and all I could do was hope for a better tomorrow. My hope turned out to be my eighth blessing. A gift from God named Serenity. On days when I didn't think I could take anymore, a tiny flutter from my belly would remind me that giving up was not an option.

When I was released from jail, I was thrown into the world with nothing but my baby. I had no home to go to; and realized I had lost friends and family. I sought shelter at Father Ed Judy House. I worked hard every day to leave the house and conquer my busy schedule. I only had supervised visitation with my kids once a week. I did everything I needed so my kids would be returned- parenting classes, domestic violence counseling, and my probation requirements.

I remember the day I had my interview at Joshua Station. For the first time in a while I felt like things were finally looking up. When I moved in, it was a fresh start. The people here at Joshua Station became the glue as I pieced my world back together. They provided me a home and helped me get my kids back. Not only have I gained an amazing support system but strong friendships as well.

The other women here have helped me through heartache and proven to me that I am not facing the world alone. I have a family now, even bigger than my eight kids. I have friends and a staff of people standing behind me in every hardship. Even now, as I continue to meet challenges, Joshua Station has the hope I sometimes lose sight of and is fighting by my side. I can never repay them for the new life they are helping me accomplish. I am now a college student, I leave my room and take buses, visit museums, and find enjoyment in my life. I am a proud mother and I am a part of something great.

So as I fully live in the now, I do it with hope, encouragement and faith. I do not stand alone in a hurricane of misery but stand hand in hand with great people who understand. I will never forget my last now; however today I embrace this now and look to my new family whenever the past floods in or the future seems too far away.

- Rhonda, Joshua Station Resident

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