Mom and My Messed-Up Life

Read the inspiring story of a former Open Arms resident.
by Maria

Maria CabreraEver since I was a little girl, I loved school. I remember winning spelling bees and earning As and Bs, and I was so happy. I dreamed of graduating, getting my diploma, and escaping the fields of Florida, where my family worked as farm laborers.

But when I was 13, my mom had other plans. I was her oldest daughter, and Mom expected me to leave school to help raise my younger siblings. I never did graduate.

It seemed like my mom never loved me or supported me. I don’t know why. She always insulted me. She would tell me that I wasn’t her daughter, when I knew I was. She never trusted me, and she treated me differently than my brothers and sisters. All I wanted was for her to love me.

Instead, she hurt me. And for a long time, I hated her. I started drinking and doing drugs. I didn’t want to have anything to do with my mom. Even when she became a Christian and tried to change, I was too angry.

My boyfriend and I came to Indiana in 2007. By that time, I wanted to get away from drugs, but my boyfriend continued to deal cocaine. In 2008, we both got arrested and went to prison.

Starting Over

That’s when I took a hard look at my life. I realized I not only hated my mom, I hated myself. I asked God to help me, and I finally forgave my mom. We made peace and I started to cry. Then I learned to love myself more.

When I got out of prison, I came straight to Open Arms, because I had nowhere else to go. The people here have already shown me so much love and care. They’re teaching me how to live God’s way, and it’s working. I already found a new job and I’m planning to finally go back to school and graduate!

I called my mom this week — and she said she’s proud of me. I felt like a little girl again, but this time I was so happy.

To read more success stories from KRM, please visit our Newsletter Page.

On the Right Path

Success Story - TomBlue scrubs with light stains from a hard day’s work are worn by this “Employee of the Month.” On May 28, 2013, Tom Horton was recognized by Fairmont Rehabilitation Center here in Kokomo for excellence in his work. Getting to this place in Tom’s life wasn’t easy. Tom has dealt with many roadblocks on his journey, but he has been successfully working to get to this point. Tom acknowledges Kokomo Rescue Mission’s part in his success today.

After Tom’s mother’s health took a turn for the worst, he realized he needed to be on his own and learn to be self-sufficient. Tom visited the Rescue Mission and thought it might be a good place to start fresh, learn new skills and become acclimated to supporting himself. In March 2011, Tom moved in and began working in the kitchen as part of his training and daily chore activity.

Through Bible study, relationship building and many days and hours of learning new skills, Tom was ready to look for a job outside of the Mission. He continued to live at the Mission while he worked outside of the facility. Many individuals have helped Tom gain self-confidence, a solid work ethic and the ability to become self-sufficient. He credits the Mission’s kitchen staff, the chaplains, and especially his relationship with the Lord. Without his relationship with Christ, he believes he wouldn’t be where he is today. These individuals urged him to take baby steps in his daily work and in his journey with Christ.

Tom was able to leave the Mission in August 2012. He now shares an apartment with a friend and works full time at Fairmont Rehabilitation center. He loves his job and is grateful to God every day for it. He understands the importance of keeping himself focused on Christ and attending his church, Calvary Baptist, weekly. He knows the baby steps he took to reinvent himself at the Mission are what help him be the success he is today. “Relationships matter!” he said. “They (the Mission) gave me a chance to be successful in the little things I did, which gave me confidence to do bigger things; it was a real turning point for me.”

Tom’s life is different today. He visits his mother regularly, hoping one day she will be able to come home and take care of herself. Until then, he will do all he can to help her, but will continue to grow and focus on what God has called him to do and be. He is dating a very sweet young lady. “God is good!” he said.