“I love the book of Job,” says Lakesha, a 29-year-old mother of three, living at Joy House. “Job didn’t do anything wrong, but he lost everything. He didn’t deserve what happened to him. And I can relate to that.”
Lakesha’s mother, a drug addict, gave her up for adoption when she was 7. Her new family raised her in church and tried to do the right thing, she says. But the unthinkable happened when someone outside the home molested her for the next four years.
“I went from being this fun, socially active kid to being completely withdrawn and depressed,” she says. “I never told anyone. They just thought I was a troubled kid who could never do anything right.”
Lakesha started drinking and became sexually promiscuous in high school. “I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls. “I didn’t have any friends. The only way I could feel connected to someone was through sex. I thought love was sex.”
The pattern was set. Lakesha had her first child at 18 and spent the next 10 years in and out of abusive relationships with men. “It was the same cycle, over and over,” she says.
Finally, in the summer of 2016, unable to support herself and her three children, she came to Joy House. “I knew that if the cycle was going to stop, something had to change,” she says. “Joy House is giving me the chance to focus on me and God. Before, I always thought I could handle it myself. But I can’t. The counseling and the Bible studies are helping me see my strengths and weaknesses, build better boundaries with people and change the cycle.”
“Before I came here, I believed a lot of lies about myself. The Book of Job helped me realize I don’t need to believe the lies. I’ve made a lot of bad choices, but now I’m learning who I really am so I can make better ones. Job encourages me to stay strong and keep going. I’m really grateful for the donors who gave me this chance.”