“I felt like God had forgotten about me,” Tina says, recalling her life growing up in a series of foster-care homes. “I was mistreated a lot. I had to deal with every kind of abuse — emotional, physical, everything. I felt I was just a paycheck for the families that took me in. I remember thinking, why would God make me endure all of that?”
Despite her painful childhood, Tina was determined to make a life for herself. It was a struggle, but she put herself through Marquette University, earned a degree in education in December 2005, and was a successful teacher for six years. She was happy for the first time in her life.
But shortly after giving birth to her only daughter in July 2011, she suffered a mini-stroke that resulted in facial numbness, slurred speech and mental confusion. In the days that followed, she had trouble walking, and experienced debilitating pain and a burning, stinging sensation over her entire body. She was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The pain was so severe, she could no longer work. She lived off savings for as long as she could, but was finally forced to move in with her sister. Unfortunately Tina’s illness strained their relationship until she was finally forced to leave.
With nowhere else to go, she came to Joy House. “Joy House gave me peace of mind, because I no longer had to worry about where I was going to live or what would happen to my daughter,” she says. “They also helped me deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ, which has helped me cope with my illness and being homeless. I now see it is a beautiful struggle. And I truly believe that God will one day use me to help others going through this.
“Thanks to Joy House and the support of donors, I have a new perspective
on life and they’ve given me the courage to keep fighting and to keep