Uplifting Women and Children Program
About half of the 20,000 homeless in Washington every night are families with children, with no safe place to lay their head, and little hope of breaking free from the entanglements that got them there. Best predictor of future behavior is our past, so without breaking the cycle, they are stuck and it certainly is NOT the life they were created for.
It is against these tremendous odds that Acres offers Hope through The Uplifting Women and Children Program. We serve families who are predominantly victims of domestic violence or substance abuse, and lifelong poverty. At Acres we say “We will walk with you. We know it’s not easy, but you are not alone. Your courage to hope, in spite of all you have known, inspires us.”
Imagine growing up never feeling safe. Your parents were sometimes loving and other times angry and neglectful. Your dad hits your mom and he hits you too. You get bullied at school and come home with a black eye, and your dad kicks you out because he’s ashamed of your weakness. What did you do wrong? Why doesn’t he love you? It must be your fault, so your anger, sadness and self-doubt grow. You know in order to survive you have to figure out life for yourself.
You start doing stuff that makes you feel happy for a while – the buzz that comes with alcohol, sex, or drugs. Or you find someone like your dad, who says he loves you, but hurts you too. You don’t feel safe, but it feels familiar. You clearly aren’t worthy of love or someone would have fought for you. You eventually get pregnant and a part of you REALLY wants a different life for your child – you are uniquely messed up and you don’t have the first clue how to change it. You’ve made some bad decisions and feel like you don’t deserve a chance, but you think about your baby. People tell you to stop doing drugs, stop having sex, and get a job. This was Breanna’s life and she did not know how she would find the strength to do any of that.
What would it take to break free – a house, some money, classes? These things all are good, but put yourself in Breanna’s shoes and you see that not one of them is enough if your foundation is broken. It’s like trying to put new wine in old wineskins. Mark 2:22 says “and no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” It’s the same with our families. What they know would crumble under the weight of trying to live differently. There’s nothing there to sustain them – at Acres we aren’t just offering a new place to live, we are offering an opportunity to discover a new life.
Here’s the thing about homelessness – a house isn’t enough if the person inside is broken.
If a family is broken the house is just a shell. Homelessness, for Acres’ families, is the indication of a much deeper problem – people are too traumatized to function. At Acres we believe by walking with our families through healing and restoration, they can put a roof over their head and fill it with a different life – with love, joy, forgiveness, peace, and self-control. To build a lasting home, we start rebuilding the people inside, meaning something has to die so something new can live. We find with our families the road through Acres is not straightforward.
There is a tearing down and a building up. Tearing down – right down to the roots and it’s painful.
Like Breanna who reached out to Acres because she realized she was turning her abuse into anger and abusing others. It was hard to give up what she knew – no matter how painful. Hard to trust that something or someone would be there. At Acres we say we will be there, because we know God was there through all of their suffering and He has brought them to us to be set free.
This tearing down is quite literally the process of freeing someone from prison.
Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
Then there is a building up. Life begins to grow in the spaces that have been opened up.
As Breanna began to discover the life she was created for, attended Bible classes and received counseling she landed a bank job and then promoted. It was amazing to watch her confidence grow. As she learned to pay her bills, manage her anger, she got her own apartment, and is now raising four beautiful children.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can support The Uplifting Women and Children Program at Acres of Diamonds, please call 425.788.9999 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in applying for residency at Acres of Diamonds, please click here to begin the application process.