An Unexpected Journey

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Pamela's journey to Gracewood is unique evidence of how God can work in a family’s life when it is least expected.


As an employee in the Spiritual Life office at Houston Baptist University (HBU), a former mentor for Gospel Student Fellowship there and Star of Hope, Pamela is used to being the one helping.

While working to help a woman in need, Pamela contacted Gracewood to see if the ministry might be a good fit for her friend. Upon hearing the mission, Pamela realized she herself fit the criteria perfectly.

After her husband died in 2008, Pamela became a single mom to their son Joseph. Shortly after, in 2010, Pamela also lost her mom.

“You just never really recover financially after taking care of a sick husband and contributing for two funerals,” said Pamela. “I was living under constant financial strain for a long time.”

Even so, Pamela struggled with affiliating herself with the idea of being at risk for homelessness.

“But the truth of it was, I knew my financial situation was a hindrance as I was mentoring young women,” said Pamela. “My life was not a good example of stewardship.”

After much prayer, seeking wise counsel and with the encouragement of the Gracewood staff, Pamela moved to the Spring Branch campus in February.

“Pamela is exactly who our ministry was created for,” said Debbie Rippstein, Executive Director of Gracewood. “Her situation is one that could happen to any of us. She was never looking for a hand out, but just needed a little time to get back on her feet.”

“I could not be more grateful to have this opportunity. I feel as though I’ve been given the gift of time, time to get organized and find financial peace,” said Pamela.

Pamela was already in the process of earning her bachelor’s degree in Christianity and her master’s degree in theology from HBU before coming to Gracewood.

“I’ve made straight A’s since being at Gracewood,” said Pamela. “For the first time in a long time, I lay my head down at night feeling safe and without worrying that the water may not turn on the next morning.”

Not only has it been a time of restoration and renewal for Pamela, but eight-year-old Joseph has also thrived at Gracewood.

“He’s no longer stressed because I’m not longer stressed,” said Pamela. “We’re both getting the counseling and support we need here to succeed both in our relationship and in school.”

Pamela is in the process of learning to budget as well as receiving financial counseling with the goal of buying a home. She is scheduled to graduate with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in spring of 2016. She then hopes to teach at the college level while working on her doctorate.

“I will take every opportunity I have to recommend Gracewood to other single moms doing their best but still coming up short. My future plans already include giving back to Gracewood once I’m on my own,” said Pamela. “I hope one day I can fully express my gratitude of what it means to call this wonderful place home.”