This story is written by the daughter of a women who is currently in the Refuge for Women long-term care program:
"My older sister and I were abandoned by our mother when we were small children. We were literally left at the babysitter. (I would later hear the story and understand why she left) I did not "meet" my mother until I was 15 as there was no contact during my childhood at all. My dad was in prison for most of my life. During this time I was raised by another relative. While in her home I was sexually abused by an uncle at the age of seven until the age of 14. When I was 15 I came out about the abuse, and when I did not receive the help and protection I needed, I reached out to my mom.
I was 15 when I moved in with my mother. By the age of 21 we were dancing in a strip club together. Everything seemed great, we were having fun, making money, and best of all, I was with my mom! Something I had longed for my entire life.
During this time there were lots of drugs, lots of drinking, and lots of men. I knew that my mom was selling her body and I remember telling myself that "I would never do that." But by the end of my time in that world, I was. You see there are no boundaries in that life. You can set them but you are powerless to keep them.
I would later find out that my dad actually trafficked my mom when she was a teenager. He was an extremely abusive man which is why she left. And although she left my dad, she did not leave the life. She literally has been stripping, and selling her body since she was a teenager. She is now 59.
Thankfully I got out of the life when I was 27. I had a LOVE encounter with Jesus and never looked back.
I am 40 now. Watching my mom for the last 13 years has been heartbreaking. I have watched the chaos of her life wreak havoc on her mind, her body and her relationships. Including ours.
Daughter's long for connection with their mothers. I have received a ton of healing over the past 13 years. But even so there has always be a place in my heart that longs for a connection with her. I believe God put it there. But it's hard to connect with someone whose life is in total chaos.
The last five years have been especially tough. When I did see her she was so full of anxiety that she couldn't hold a conversation (at least not one that actually felt like we were connecting). Or she would have so many meds in her system she could barely keep her eyes open. It was heartbreaking to see my mom's mind and body being destroyed by the shame, guilt and bondage that came as a result of her lifestyle. I truly did not know if she would ever be the same again.
My mom has been at the Refuge for Women home for almost 5 months now. I recently had an opportunity to visit her there and I was so encouraged, my mom is back! Her mind is back, her heart is back, and she physically looks amazing and healthy! We were able to spend our days together talking about the depths of our heart and what God is doing. This is something that I honestly wasn't sure would ever happen again. It was so amazing to hear and see what God is doing in her. She is dreaming again, she's believing that there is a hope and a future for her! Even after all of the years. I truly do believe that God is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten -- and He already is!
I am so grateful for Refuge for Women. My mom was not strong enough to set boundaries in her life. She needed a safe place where she could breathe for a minute and take a look at the trauma that has happened in her life. She has spent the last 40+ years just surviving. And understandably so. How do you wrap your mind around the levels of trauma she has experienced without help? You don't, you just survive.
She is also starting to take a look at her strengths and preparing to get a job or possibly even go back to school. She shared with me that she is hoping to be able to work with Refuge for Women because she has been so impacted by the people and the program, she absolutely loves it!
When she graduates she will be the oldest graduate Refuge for Women has had, how powerful is that?! God is using Refuge for Women to bring beauty from ashes! It's because of people like you that Refuge for Women can offer help to women like my mom and families like ours.
As a daughter of a very special woman who is being changed from the inside out, who is beginning to live again, hope again and dream again I would like to say thank you! Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support. I would also like to invite you, if you haven't already, to partner with Refuge for Women so they can continue to offer a safe place where women like my mom can get the help, hope and the freedom they need to be the powerful women they were created to be."
To learn more about Refuge for Women, visit their website: www.refugeforwomen.org