Hope After the Horror
“If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck,” said Danielle*, a 29-year-old mother, quoting from Mark 9. “That tells me God will avenge my children. I hold on to that. My kids deserve that.”
Danielle came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission's Joy House when her whole life crumbled in horror. “That's when I learned that my five-year-old and three-year-old daughters had been sexually molested by their father,” she says, still numb with grief.
Unable to return home, she came to Joy House with her five children. Joy House, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission's shelter for homeless mothers like Danielle, offers residency, training programs, child care, educational programs — and counseling.
“I was distraught,” Danielle says. “My children's innocence was taken and everything I thought was true was a lie. I knew we would need counseling and a lot of Christian comfort and support. That's why I decided to come to Joy House.”
Weathering the Storm
The biggest challenge Danielle continues to face — is forgiveness. “There have been times I wanted him dead,” she says. “How can I forgive someone who did that? I know it's necessary to move on with my life. If I don't, it could destroy me. But I've had to learn that forgiveness is a process.”
Danielle has found comfort reading the Bible, and sharing her anger and grief with other women at Joy House who are struggling with painful issues of their own. She takes comfort knowing her kids are thriving through their Bible studies and counseling. “Sometimes, they even encourage me when I'm feeling down,” Danielle says.
“I cope only because of Joy House and God,” she adds. “Without them, I might have killed myself by now. My hope is that someday I'll be able to enjoy life again. When I needed it most, Joy House was vital.”
*We've changed Danielle's name to protect her privacy