By Steve and Carla McRee
Although we meet many amazing women at SG, sometimes we meet women whose stories of courage and determination really stick out. Lydia’s* story is one of them.
Lydia is one of those mothers who is striving to give her son Luke* the love and stability she never had as a child. When Lydia was young, her parents were both addicted to drugs. Most of her childhood memories are of adults passed out after parties — and having to fend for herself for even the most basic needs. Often she was left with relatives or friends of her parents that she didn’t know. Sadly, this left her easy prey for molestation.
Once Lydia saw a commercial for 911 and called police because she was so terribly hungry. When the police came, her mother said, “Oh, it must have been an accident.” But small Lydia spoke up and said, “No! I called because I was so hungry!” She and her sister would even go out to the almond tree in the front of their house and eat the nuts to fill their stomachs.
In high school, Lydia experienced her first abusive relationships. “But I thought if it didn’t leave a bruise or I didn’t end up in the hospital, it didn’t count as abuse.”
When she met Nathan* in her twenties, he seemed like the right person to be with after all she’d been through. Nathan didn’t drink, didn’t use drugs, and didn’t even smoke cigarettes. He seemed safe, but by the time Lydia realized that he was cruel and abusive, she was pregnant with their son.
Luke was born with serious health problems, and Lydia did whatever she could to care for him, even walking miles to the hospital to hold him and provide milk. She was still recovering from an emergency c-section at the time, but she was determined to be the one to care for Luke.
Luke is now a thriving 7-year-old, and Lydia still does her best to protect him. When Nathan attacked and sexually assaulted her, she silently endured the attack because her son was nearby, and she didn’t want any harm to come to him.
The lasting trauma from that day took a toll, and Lydia knew she needed a safe place to heal and deal with the pain of her past. She prayed with her pastor and friends from church that God would open the right door — and He did! Lydia and Luke are now here at Shepherd’s Gate, where they are building a strong and loving future.
We see many children here at Shepherd’s Gate, many of whom have been deeply traumatized themselves. Although Luke hasn’t had it easy, we can see quite clearly that Lydia’s efforts to protect and shield him have helped him be resilient. Their bond is a strong one, and we are so proud of the mother that Lydia has chosen to be. She is truly a woman of courage!
Please pray for Lydia and Luke as they continue their healing journey. Thank you for caring about these women and their precious children!
*Names changed for privacy.