Michelle is a young single mom with a 5-year-old daughter. Michelle is determined that her daughter has a very different experience growing up than she did. She says, “My childhood was very traumatic with a lot of abuse. I was a foster kid most of my life and was moved around between 12 different families and 7 different schools. I was a ward of the state until I aged out.” She adds, “Yeah, I’ve been through a lot.”
By the time Michelle was 21, she had aged out of the foster care system and was in an abusive relationship with the father of her daughter. Michelle says they had a destructive lifestyle. "I started drinking because he drank.” Over time, drinking became a problem. “It was not good,” she says.
After Michelle had her daughter, life became even more difficult. “I came back from the hospital to find an eviction notice on my door,” she says. “We were homeless the first year of my daughter’s life. We bounced around from house to house. We even lived in my car sometimes.”
Michelle was trying to figure out how to make things better for her and her daughter. “I found Jesus when my daughter was 6 months old,” she says. “But, I didn’t change right away.” She says that she continued along the same destructive path for awhile until one night that changed everything.
The night began in a dark place. “I was really broken and depressed. I drank an entire bottle of vodka. I just wanted it all to end. I couldn’t deal with the heartache and pain anymore. It felt like something or someone was always coming at me from one way or another,” she says. “It felt like the world was against me, and I just couldn’t face it anymore.”
Michelle says she found herself on her knees with a handful of pills in her hand. “I was about to take them when I heard my baby cry.” She says, “It wasn’t a normal hungry or tired cry. This cry was different. Like she knew somehow.”
It was that moment Michelle realized how much her daughter needed her. “If I couldn’t do anything to better my life, I knew I had to do everything I could to better her life. I knew I had to live for her.” She says, “Eventually, I began to live for myself too, but at the moment, it was all I could do to decide to go on living for her.” Michelle told God she couldn’t do it anymore. “I knew my life was not my own,” she says. “After that, everything changed: finances, home, work, personal, my relationship with my daughter. Everything increased 10-fold.”
Michelle has been sober for three and a half years. She’s reconnected with some good friends that her daughter now calls ‘family’. “I didn’t have a good childhood, so I’m raising a child with the childhood I always wanted. Surrounded by love and family and security. My daughter will never know anything else.”
Her greatest struggle is, “accepting where I am and understanding God’s timing is perfect. I struggle in the waiting. It’s hard to understand that it’s okay to be just where I am.”
Her greatest joy is her daughter. “She’s the best thing in my entire life.” Michelle says she’s experiencing life from a different perspective. “It’s almost like I get a second chance at a good childhood with her.”
The best advice she could give other single parents is, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trust people want to help and will help. Trust that God has put these people in your life for a reason. Don’t deny others the blessing of helping you.”
When she thinks of SPP, she thinks of, “so much love. SPP is definitely a God-centered ministry. 100%. They help single parents understand that you aren’t in this world alone. You have God and hundreds of other people who want to come along beside you to love you and to show you the love that Jesus has for you. SPP has been there when I needed them. If I needed someone to talk to – there was someone to talk to. If I needed a break – Ah, thank God for Break Time. You can see God’s love wherever SPP goes.”
Michelle looks forward to continuing her journey together with friends, loved ones, and her daughter and has hope for a bright future.
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your courageous story! You are loved!
Published November 2019