February 18, 2015

A Birthday to Forget

What did you do on your last birthday?

Kristin* “celebrated” hers — her 31st — huddled in her car with 5 children.

In the span of a few years, her life had been ripped apart. She met a man, fell in love and got married. He was insistent on providing, so she quit her job and cared for her three children.

Things went well until her husband got injured on the job. He quickly became addicted to painkillers.

“When the pain medication wasn’t enough anymore, he switched to heroin,” Kristin says. “Things went downhill from there.”

He started beating her and stealing from their family. “Things started disappearing from our house,” she remembers. “Bills weren’t getting paid and we had to go on food stamps.”

“He didn’t like my family,” Kristin says. “I was alienated from everyone except him and the kids.”

One day the abuse was so bad Kristin’s husband was arrested. That’s when she found out another shocking secret. Her husband had fathered two other children in the last year. He had a young son and daughter that had been abandoned. Child Protective Service asked if she would consider caring for them.

As soon as Kristin saw the children, hear heart went out to them. She knew she had to take them in. They weren’t her blood children, but they still needed her love.

The day after Kristin spent her 31st birthday sleeping in a car with five children, she got connected here at Everett Gospel Mission. Today, she is learning to trust again as she and her kids rebuild their shattered lives.

Even in the midst of her own hurt and need, Kristin reached out to others. Her story is a reminder to all of us that no matter how little we have, we can always do something for someone else.

*Name changed for privacy.