Sherrie was smiling inside and out as many gathered to welcome her into her new home.  Her bright eyes and happy face presented a side of comfort and confidence as she embarks on her new journey with the GRACE Transitional Housing Program.

Starting over with a new residence, community or career might be the best decision for your family’s well being or safety, but it’s not always easy.  In fact, it might be the most difficult decision you’ll ever have to carry out.

That’s why GRACE staff, supporters and congregants from White’s Chapel United Methodist Church answer the calling to make sure women and men entering our GRACE Transitional Housing Program are strengthened and encouraged from the moment they step into their new home.

GRACE CEO Shonda Schaefer is always the first one to welcome the new recipients with open arms as she gives her compassionate pep talk.  This road is one that leads to a better future for individuals entering our Transitional Housing Program, but it is well-understood from the beginning that this road is not always easy.

Sherrie is incredibly eager and grateful for her admittance into our Program, so much so that she wished to share her story with you all, GRACE Family.

I am originally a California girl.  In the summer of 2010, I was married with 2 young kids.  We decided to pack up and move to Austin.  I have been loving it in Texas ever since.  No matter what obstacles have been laid before me, I have been blessed to get through them.

However, the last 32 months of my life have been the hardest.  So many times I prayed, begging and pleading for God to light a way through the fog of heartbreak.  I felt as though God didn’t like me — why else would he not answer my prayers?

I was divorced, having just left an abusive relationship.  Now a single mom to an infant, and my sister was no longer with me.  I just knew God must be really mad at me.

I had a rough pregnancy, and thought I would lose my Sammy.  The stress from the relationship and the long drive to and from Dallas didn’t help.  Most nights I slept in my car to avoid the drive and the tension in the relationship.  I was afraid to leave because I had no one and nowhere to go.  Sadly, the relationship hit its peak and as things escalated I eventually found my son and myself in a shelter.

I didn’t have any answers or directions, and I felt I was failing my Sammy.  Yet at the same time, this 5 month old bundle of joy gave me hope to hang in there.  I prayed so much for forgiveness.  I felt asking was not what God needed to hear because he already knew what I needed.  I still felt God didn’t like me, but I kept praying and didn’t stop trying.

I finally found GRACE at the end of my contact list.  I conceded and humbled myself.  I prayed to God, and said I won’t call but I will email – whatever happens it’s your will.  Surprisingly, I received a reply.  I didn’t get excited because I had been turned away so many times.  I figured I will go through the process but still keep researching.

Once I met with Brittany and Stacy, I was excited.  I wasn’t given a yes or a no, but I knew this is where I NEEDED to be.  I want to reopen my daycare and purchase my own home.  I want to finish college and use my degree to extend child care to a center.  These are my desires and the only way to obtain these dreams is to pay off debt, save and manage funds better.

After my meeting with Brittany I knew if I got into GRACE my dreams could become reality.  When I received the message from Brittany, “Welcome to GRACE,” I melted in tears.  Just days later, my Sammy and I are walking in the door to our new apartment and greeted by so many beautiful smiling faces.

My heart can’t stop saying thank you, God!  All this time my God was preparing a place for me, and I almost missed his blessings.  Now that I am here and I have felt and seen the love God has brought to me, I am ready to show my thanks to God and all who have welcomed me.  So many people assisted in getting me here to start over with a new life. I now know, nope – God does not like me — God LOVES my Sammy and me!

We truly could not be happier to say, “Welcome Home, Sherrie!”