Echoes of hope at Connect, Shepherd’s Door

When it comes to safe places for women and children who are homeless, options are limited. The streets of Portland can be dangerous. But amidst the unrelenting stress and insecurity that comes with living on the street, there are opportunities out there for a second chance. At Portland Rescue Mission, we see these stories regularly at Shepherd’s Door. Similarly to the men who have been through our programs at Link and The Harbor, watch and listen to some of the women talk about their new life below:

KATHY IN THE PAST – “I got so into pills and spending money that I finally decided I wasn’t going to commit anymore crimes because I was through going to jail. I spent the rent money, the electric money, food money and all of that and we became homeless. …

“It came to a point my 17-year-old screamed at me and said I’m a sorry excuse for a mom and that she wished I wasn’t her mom. … I knew if there was going to be any chance of a relationship, it had to be now.”

(Watch Kathy’s story now)

KATHY NOW – “The second I walked into the welcome center, I knew that something was different. … I felt a peace and a hope that I never felt. The amount of forgiveness and grace and love that I felt from staff was probably the first I felt in my life. …

“Now I know I’m not worthless, I know that my sins have been forgiven and I know that my past doesn’t define who I am. I have hope. God made me to be wonderful, and as long as I walk with Him, I know that I will be.”

BARBARA IN THE PAST – “One day, I was doing daycare, and I had about 10 kids, and I couldn’t understand why my hands were shaking. … I didn’t understand the severity of my drinking.

“I started drinking again that day. It calmed my nerves, but I ended up passing out on my entry floor with my kids around me. … I ended up quitting my job via a text message to my boss … I just couldn’t go to work. I was drinking quite heavily one night, and I woke up the next morning with bruises. Every night was a blackout for me. I ended up trying to hurt myself . … I was in total desperation. … I was ready to end my life.”

(Watch Barbara’s story now)

BARBARA NOW – “Before I got here, I was very selfish and self-centered. … I now have no needs and no wants and it’s all about me trying to help other people now and trying to serve others. …

“Without Shepherd’s Door, I don’t know where I would be. I can’t believe I’ve had this beautiful home with time to reflect on my past and grow. I can’t say enough about this place. It’s been a godsend.”

TINA IN THE PAST – “Growing up, my stepdad was in and out of prison. … We were afraid of him. He was a big person. He was mean. He had a horrible temper and was angry. My mom and him would give us drugs to sneak into prison because we were kids and we wouldn’t get in trouble as much.

“At 13, he  got out of prison again … and he started to sexually abuse me. … I started building up resentment and anger and rage. As I got older, I started drinking a lot. It would numb me. … I would work and drink and work and drink until I just couldn’t work any longer. … I went from being happy to deep despair.”

(Watch Tina’s story now)

TINA NOW – “After living life with all this anger inside … I learned to start letting things go, a little at a time. I still feel unworthy at times, but God loves me, I’m God’s child and I have hope finally. …

“I got the opportunity to work at Portland Rescue Mission’s car sales at Drive Away Hunger. For the first time ever, I’ve worked with Christian men who were respectful to me. I feel blessed because I have a purpose and a hope that I can take with me the rest of my life.”

TIFFANY IN THE PAST – “Being homeless as a woman was one of the worst experiences i’ve ever had in my life. I was taken advantage of for months and months … It was quickly becoming a pattern that the man I associated with would quickly leave me for drugs or other women. the feeling of being safe I had really was an illusion. … I was angry with God for a really long time. I thought, ‘Why is God punishing me?’ …

“Around the age of 20, I had some health issues and took some pain pills. After a couple of months, I found I was getting addicted to them. … It came to a point where if I had to buy the pills, anything I would have to do to get them, I would do it. … I found myself hopelessly and utterly alone.”

(Watch Tiffany’s story now)

TIFFANY NOW – “It’s such an inspiration for me to see these women taking the first step to change their lives , decide they really want a new kind of life and really going for it. It inspires me because I see myself in them and it helps me think that I could help them in some small way by letting them know there truly is help available.”

There are many women out there just like these ladies above, and at Portland Rescue Mission we’re here to offer them hope and direction for a new life. Thanks for joining us in our efforts.