After eight years of fighting for her marriage and numerous separations from her husband, Tonia and her 5-year-old daughter, Trinity, came to Gracewood in February 2012 exhausted but not hopeless.
“I don’t believe my marriage was a mistake, we just had a lot of immaturity and problems we faced as a blended family trying to combine parenting philosophies,” said Tonia. “We had challenges that we were not equipped to deal with.”
After relocating from California to Florida to Texas, Tonia reached a breaking point in her marriage and found herself on the brink of homelessness.
“Although my older children were now living successful lives on their own, my husband and I still wanted Trinity to grow up in a healthy environment, where she could be loved and nurtured by two parents,” said Tonia. “However, the behavior she was witnessing between her parents was not the stable environment we wanted for her.”
After spending five long months at a local shelter, Tonia was referred to Gracewood.
“I remember sitting in my car crying, so overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace. Finally, we had found a place to call home,” said Tonia. “I was so grateful to have a kitchen to make a home-cooked meal for my daughter and a playground where she could run and play.”
Trinity immediately began calling Gracewood home. She excelled in her new school, becoming one of the top readers in her kindergarten class.
“Gracewood was home and comfort to us,” said Tonia. “It was truly what we needed for that season of our lives.”
One of Tonia’s primary goals for her time at Gracewood was to regain licensing as a Registered Nurse she held in Florida. While she was waiting to take the test in Texas, she studied to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), a goal she completed in August 2012. She then passed her licensing exam to become a Registered Nurse in Texas.
This ambitious mom is also enrolled in the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program through Lamar University and is scheduled to graduate in October 2013.
“Gracewood helped me get my life back together. When I needed advice, the staff was there to help me see things differently. They helped me stay focused and on track,” said Tonia.
During her time at Gracewood, Tonia maintained communication with her husband holding onto her faith and hope through it all, allowing Trinity to also continue her relationship with her dad.
“I tried to focus on the positive things about our relationship, the reasons why we fell in love in the first place instead of the issues that could lead to divorce,” said Tonia.
While Tonia was busy refocusing and rebuilding her life at Gracewood, her husband was on his own journey with the Lord, who was restoring and refocusing him as well.
Tonia and her husband are reconciling and have been in prayer about returning to ministry, both being passionate about teaching the word of God and encouraging others in Christ.
“Gracewood has played a vital role in reshaping me to become a new woman and mother,” said Tonia. “My time there reminded me to trust God in every situation and that with Him all things are possible.”