Elise* grew up in a home filled with chaos, addiction and abuse. She was regularly beaten before she turned 6. She was “hit to learn” — if she made a mistake on her spelling or her math, she was slapped. Bigger mistakes were more severely punished.
Her family moved 20 times before she was 10. Neglected at home and with no friends at school, Elise found comfort in a small teddy bear. She would hide in the closet with him to avoid her parents’ explosive fights. She snuggled him to sleep while her parents got drunk with their friends every weekend.
The bear became ragged and her mom wanted to throw it away. Elise kept fishing him out of the trash. “But one day he was just gone. I cried for days, but no one even offered a hug.”
Most kids hate losing a security object, but Elise had lost her only sense of security. “After that, I didn’t hold anything too tight because I didn’t want it to be taken from
me.” Elise began acting out.
At age 13, she started getting drunk. At 16, older men were taking advantage of her at her parents’ parties. But no one protected her. No one said a word. By 18 she was pregnant. Her family threatened her with homelessness if she didn’t get an abortion.
Afterward, she turned to drugs for comfort. “It made me feel like I was finally in control. But I felt worthless and ugly.” When Elise got pregnant again at age 20, she kept it a secret from her family. She got married and had 2 more children.
“On our third baby, that’s when the physical abuse began,” she says. “I was scared
to leave, but when my oldest child turned 6, I realized I didn’t want this to be his
example. So I called Shepherd’s Gate.”
At Shepherd’s Gate, Elise has found the love she needed all her life. “God is showing me how precious I am to Him. I have fully submitted to Him, to the grace He freely gives. My life has been transforming ever since.”
Because she is loved so completely, Elise is able to pass that same love on to her children! Tonight her precious children sleep in safety. They have a mom who is becoming whole. It’s all thanks to you!