The Place of Flourishing

valerie & paxton

“Gracewood ensures that no single mom walks alone. That is what I want people to know. You are not alone and your situation is not your destination. My time at Gracewood taught me to believe in myself and that anything is possible through the grace of God.”

Eight years ago, when Valerie arrived at Gracewood, she was desperate to find a safe place for her and her son 3 year-old, Paxton. But she never could have predicted the healing, life-change, and stability that Gracewood would ultimately provide for them. Valerie knew she needed help after a domestic dispute with her long-time boyfriend ended with an emotional breakdown that landed her in the hospital. Their relationship had been one marked by addiction, unpredictability, emotional abuse, and distrust. The weight of her boyfriend’s vices and the shame of her circumstances left her feeling like a failure. “I wanted to keep our family together more than anything,” she said. “But I knew I needed to leave in order to create a better life for me and my son.”

Leaving her boyfriend meant that Valerie would need to find a new place for her and Paxton to live. Knowing that her financial resources would also be extremely limited, Valerie began to despair. “I started googling ‘places for single moms to go with their kids’ and Gracewood was the first website that popped up,” she said. Valerie called Gracewood and went on a tour of the campus. Holding back tears, she remembers, “I knew immediately that this place felt like home and would be a safe place for us.” She submitted an application and soon learned that she’d been accepted into the program. For the first time in quite a while, Valerie was filled with hope. They moved in and immediately Valerie began to get plugged into all of the programs available at Gracewood.

“Gracewood wasted no time in getting us connected to a Bible study and making sure we had a church home,” she excitedly explained. Valerie believes that one of the reasons her time at Gracewood was so impactful was because she and the other moms were taught to build their foundation on the solid rock of Jesus and His Word instead of their own circumstances.

Through the love, support, and guidance provided by both Gracewood staff and the fellow moms in the program, Valerie learned to accept the grace that Jesus offers. This transformed her life and she was even able to extend that same grace to her son’s father. She was able to let go of the past and focus on being a light to everyone she encountered. Her time at Gracewood helped her learn to manage both her time and money, as well as how to be the best version of herself for Paxton.

Throughout her time at Gracewood, Valerie was able to maintain her job in human resources at an oil and gas company, which allowed her to meet and exceed the financial goals she set for herself. She not only paid off her outstanding medical bills, attorney fees, and car loan, but she was also able to save up enough money to put a down payment on a house only two years after arriving at Gracewood.

Since graduating from the program, Valerie has created a stable life for herself and Paxton. She recently celebrated her 13 year anniversary with her employer and her 6th year in her beautiful home. Because of the healing his mom experienced at Gracewood, Paxton has been able to grow up knowing the unconditional love and whole-hearted support of an amazing mom. Now 10 years old, Paxton is an honor student and a Boy Scout. He is planning to work on his Eagle Scout project at Gracewood.

The desire of Valerie’s heart is that every single mom would get to experience the healing and safety she found at Gracewood. She hopes that other moms would learn their worth and know that they are not alone. Valerie believes that her journey from a place of hopelessness to a place of flourishing is proof that other moms can succeed and have healthy families, too.