“When I was 12 … my step-father tried to do things to me,” said Tia. “Thankfully he didn’t. But my momma stayed with him. I felt like she chose him over me. I lost my sense of self-worth and self-confidence. I don’t blame my mom anymore, but for a long time, I did.”
Hustling For Money
Tia was 16 when her grandfather, who had been like a father to her, passed away. “I was crushed. Things went downhill after he died. I was acting out sexually. I started smoking weed and drinking until eventually, it was whatever, whenever, however.”
Tia stopped going to school. She spent her days hustling for money. She entered her first treatment center when she was 21, and spent the next seven years in and out of rehab and jail. Jail is where she first heard about Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program.
“I started smoking weed and drinking until eventually, it was whatever, whenever, however.”
“I learned many valuable lessons while in the Mission’s Program,” recalled Tia. “I learned to be compassionate. I learned not to live today based on how I feel. Just because I felt like God didn’t love me, that didn’t make it true. I came to realize that I’m no better than anybody. I may have a few more material things than somebody, but it doesn’t make me better than them. I learned to see people the way God sees them.”
Back To School
After Tia graduated from the program, she had a job and eventually moved into an apartment, but still, something was missing. “I saw a commercial for Remington College on TV and decided then to go back to school. I was finally going to do something with my life. Two days later, she was enrolled. But after finishing her second day of school, she came home to find an eviction notice on the door.
“I was finally going to do something with my life.”
The school gave her an extension of a month to give her a chance to find a place to live. When things there didn’t work out, Tia decided to stay at the Mission as a guest. Many nights, Tia would sit in the bathroom where the lights stayed on all night reading books and completing homework.
Not Giving Up
But her challenges didn’t end there. When Tia applied for her license from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry, her past almost prevented her from moving forward. “At first they said no. I filed an appeal and went before the board. I had letters of recommendation from my teachers, from the office where I had done my internship. But at the meeting they still voted no. Dr. Shaw, a dentist on the board, (who I had never met, still I don’t know him, but I will never forget him) motioned they at least give me a probationary license. They voted yes. I was elated. Only God could do that!
Since then, Tia has worked in the field of oral surgery for several years. She is married, enrolled in school with plans to become an RN.
“Now, I can’t imagine my life not living for God.”
“Thank you, Jesus is all I can say! My life is not perfect. I’m not perfect. I’ve had struggles but God is still working on me. God is a deliverer. He’s my deliverer. When I prayed, ‘Lord, help me get clean’—He did it. But I had to walk in that deliverance. It hasn’t been easy, but God didn’t promise us easy. He promised us grace. Now, I can’t imagine my life not living for God.”