Theresa’s Story

Her parents have been together for over three decades, a model marriage full of love. So Theresa, 32, can’t figure out why she was attracted to “the bad guy,” as she puts it. “Maybe I thought my positive influence would rub off on him.”

Theresa, who never drank and never did drugs, fell for a man who did. The man, father to her two young daughters, would be OK for a while, but then would disappear for weeks at a time, strung out on cocaine. “I would be at home wondering where he was and if he was dead in a ditch somewhere,” she says.

When he was home, he avoided drugs, but was verbally and emotionally abusive, often by neglecting Theresa and the kids. He rarely worked, and Theresa had a hard time keeping a job because he couldn’t be relied upon to watch the children, or because she couldn’t find adequate daycare.

She ended up working at a jewelry store, and he saw an opportunity. Struggling with low self-esteem, codependence and fear of abandonment, Theresa admits, “I did some stuff I shouldn’t have done.” He talked her into helping him pull off a string of robberies from the jewelry store, and then he’d sell the goods to buy drugs. They got caught; he’s now doing 15 years in prison, and she had to serve some time in jail. Now, she’s on probation.

Finding Jesus at the Joy House

It wasn’t long before Theresa and her little girls wound up at the Joy House. She says that because of Christ’s forgiveness and the staff’s loving counsel, she has changed. “Now, before I do anything, I think about my girls. I don’t want them to go through what I’ve been through.”

Theresa says the Joy House staff knows, “when I’m having a bad day. They know how to pray with me, help me calm down… I’m stronger than that now. Stronger and a better woman. ”The biggest reason for that: She found Jesus at the Joy House. “I needed that kind of loving relationship, but not from a man,” she says. “Now maybe I can be more focused.” Thanks to you and your faithful support, women like Theresa — and little girls like hers — now have hope and a second chance at life.