“I basically grew up without any parents,” shared Tanisha.
“My mom was a drug addict, and my dad was never around. I was 17 when my mom died. Shortly after that, I gave birth to my first child. When my baby was four years old, her father took her and left me. It broke my heart.”
Life was not easy for Tanisha. She went on to have four more children and spent eight years with their father before becoming a single mom.
“Their dad chose a life on the streets over his children. He was abusive towards me. I wanted better for us.”
NO ONE TO TURN TO
“My family didn’t want to help,” said Tanisha. “I was desperate and didn’t have anyone to turn to. I was ready to give up. But I started calling around, and I found Nashville Rescue Mission. I don’t know where I would have gone, were it not for the Mission. I would probably have lost all four of my kids.”
At the time, three of Tanisha’s children were in school (ages 9, 8, and 5), and the youngest was less than a year old. Staying in a shelter with four little ones was not easy. “When we first got to the Mission, I was scared,” recalled Tanisha.
“I didn’t know what to expect. But I quickly realized it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. We were safe. We were well fed. The staff was wonderful—always willing to help.”
While at the Mission, Tanisha experienced community in new ways. “I made friends—lots of friends. It took a while to realize I didn’t have to keep running, living with different people, moving from place to place. For me, the Mission became a place where I could try to get my life the way I wanted it to be.”
Along with the challenges came lots of questions. “I questioned God,” said Tanisha. “I was angry. I was mad. I cried out to Him, asking, Why did you put me in this situation? What’s the purpose of my being here?’ Over time I began reading my Bible—every day—in front of my children. We would sit together at every meal, we would pray, and we would talk. It brought us closer together.”
CHANGE IS GOOD
And not only did Tanisha feel better, but others started noticing. “Some of the people I met started saying, You’re a different person. You didn’t use to smile. Now it seems like you can’t stop smiling.’ I tell them I’m happy because I have hope.”
More than just hope, Tanisha was filled with joy—because she would be able to celebrate the holidays at home, her home, surrounded by her children.
GRATEFUL FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES
“I’m extremely grateful for the help I received,” exclaimed Tanisha. “Thank you! I’m so excited about our future. Next on my list is getting my high school diploma, getting a good job, and providing for my family. Life just keeps getting better.”
As Tanisha and her children celebrate Christmas in their home and not on the streets, in a shelter, or sleeping on someone’s couch, please take a minute to savor this moment and rejoice in the fact that with your help, she and others like her are finding a safe place to rest amid their trials. Because of you, homeless women and mothers with children have a place they can turn to not just on holidays but every day. And in the sanctuary of shelter, they can find hope. Because of you … hope lives here.