If it weren’t for Star of Hope, I would not have a story worth sharing. Anyone who has ever lived with domestic violence can tell you that it is a kind of misery that chips away at the core of who you are and everything you thought you would be. That’s how it was for me. At first it was about control. I was told what I could wear, where I could go. I completely lost track of myself. Eventually things escalated. Living in a constant state of fear became normal for me. On one occasion, I was hospitalized, because I was struck so hard that I fell into a coma.
People often wonder why anyone stays in an abusive relationship. I stayed because i didn’t know how to get out or where I would go. I just wanted to keep a roof over my children’s heads and provide for them.
When I couldn’t take it any longer, I made a plan to leave, quietly, without raising suspicion. I moved around living with friends and family, and for a while, in a hotel. It was difficult, but better than being beaten.
Then someone told me about Star of Hope, a homeless shelter. When I arrived at the Transitional Living Center in January of 2007, all I had in the world was two bags of clothes and my two children . I had no money, no job, no home, no self-esteem, and no hope. I committed myself to the program and let the process do its transforming work. The classes opened my mind to the world of possibilities, and the staff was always there supporting me, building me up, and surrounding me with the word of god. They genuinely wanted me to realize my heart’s desire. Who knew that i was on my way to accomplishing a thirteen-year old dream of going to college to become a chef?
For me, cooking is a way of expressing love. When I was a child, my family would demonstrate how much they loved one another by gathering around the table over a great meal. So when I was in high school, I took a course in Hospitality Management. It included engineering, cooking, housekeeping, and front desk. But it was working in the kitchen that fascinated me. When I learned how to make flowers out of fruit, I thought, “This is it!” The dream was planted. But a dream needs an opportunity.
The Lord led me to Star of Hope where I got the tools, skills, and confidence I needed to pursue my dream and be ready when opportunity knocked. I stepped out in faith, in honor of God, and His purpose for my life and enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year, I was invited to go to Dublin, Ireland, to do my externship in event planning. In May of this year (2011), I will go back to Scottsdale to walk with my class, making me the first person in my family to graduate from college.
I have experienced an amazing journey. I have taught my children a valuable lesson in motivation, perseverance, and faith in God. Star of Hope is where dreams transition into reality.
I COULD ADD SOME WORDS HERE, BUT I THINK THAT MARQUETTE HAS SAID IT ALL!... And anyone who prays for Star of Hope, or volunteers or donates clothing or funding, can share in this AMAZING MIRACLE of a reclaimed life! God Bless.
Learn how you can get help or give help at Domestic Violence Shelters Houston