One thing I wish I had known before I became a mother is that no one does it perfectly and you will make mistakes. I always thought everyone knew the secret to motherhood and I had been left out. I always felt not good enough. Today I know different. I am good enough because Jesus makes me so. At the age of 26, I found myself on the steps of Foley House, a residential treatment center for women with children. I was at the lowest place in my life. My children had been taken by protective services and I was court-ordered to seek help due to addiction and violence in my home. I entered Foley House bankrupt financially, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The streets had robbed me of all dignity. I emerged months later with hope for my future.
One of the most important things I learned at Foley House was hope! While in the darkness of the streets I had lost all dignity, Foley House helped me regain my dignity -- the first stepping stone to regaining custody of my children. After I left Foley House, for a while I always felt guilty because of my past, but I learned that I couldn't parent out of guilt and that I couldn't erase the natural consequences of my behaviors...and as a single mom, I didn't have to be both mom and dad. I could just be a mom. Yes, the Prayer Room Does Exist
One of the hardest life lessons in being a mother is trying to prevent pain for your children. This has been the hardest thing to learn for me. As a mother, the most difficult times have been when, as adults, my children have gone through painful experiences. The way I handle these times is through prayer and asking prayer for them. And yes, I mean sometimes up at all hours of the night on my knees for my children. Prayer is, by far, a mother's saving grace. I have to resist wanting to react and jump in to save them. I know that I must wait on God for justice and healing. Our God is faithful. Although the struggles may be some of the hardest times, they can also bring some of the most rewarding when you witness your adult children putting into practice what you have shown them. Watching them rely on God and lean on Him warms my heart! I navigate through life with prayer and remember something my mother always used to say to me. "Monique, ask God for strength...he will give it to you." I hear those words in my Mother's voice often. I am here today, clean and sober, due to the prayers of my mother and my grandmother. You Are Not Alone I am sure that there is a mother reading this right now who is hurting. Maybe you have a difficult child or a sick child. Maybe you are just plain tired. Maybe, like me, you've never felt good enough. My message to you is first of all you are good enough! Whether the past mistakes are huge or little, either way, it's all going to be okay. Your children are listening to you even when you think that they are not. I have been blessed to have so many people help me in my journey. While in Foley House I met many women who taught me so much about motherhood and living life without drugs and alcohol. Then I got to the Whittier Church of Christ and I was influenced by so many women. I couldn't name just one person and I thank you all. There are no words for what the church family has done for me. I carry your words of wisdom in my heart. I want you to know it helped and you made a difference in my life. If you are hurting, know that you are not alone. Reach out for help. There are so many of us at CrossPoint who are eager to pray with you or just listen. If you need a break, ask for it. This is where I came when I got my children back and all three of us grew up together here. Always remember prayer is your most important tool as a mother. There is hope so, never, ever give up. My biggest inspiration is my mother who is no longer with us. I thank her for every prayer, every worry, for all the loving things she did, and all the sacrifices she made. I thank her for loving and caring for my children when I couldn't. Mom, I love you and I thank you.
Pictured: My father brought my children, Destiny, and Gilbert, to see me at Foley House.