The Weekly Word: The Light After The Storm
My Journey After The Storm
Thank you to Dawnette Sigmon for sharing her story with us
I felt honored and proud when asked to share my history that led me to The Salvation Army. There were very dark moments before I found a light in my life again, and so I want to start by reassuring: I am a Pathway of Hope graduate & my story is that of Success!
"Over 5 years ago now I had just entered a relationship that I thought would change my life and it did but not in the way I had hoped. I never thought it would become a horrifying, scary and almost life-ending reality that I would face every day. My husband was abusive and the marriage was harmful to me in many ways beyond physical health. While I was beaten close to death on more than one occasion, I also became isolated & hopeless. I lost all of my friends and family during this relationship which caused me to feel like there was no way out, no one that could help me get away from this man. Finally, I chose to leave him. Me and my children left but I had no idea where we would live or even where our next meal would come from. After many long nights of crying and praying I began to reach out to local agencies looking for help, looking for a way out – searching for someone to give me Hope.
At this point in my life I felt like there was no choice but to overcome all that I was facing, alone. This was until I met Andrea Lewin, who was leading a program for women like me that needed help getting back on their feet. I had never felt as much love from a stranger as I did immediately after walking into her office. We talked and she asked me to join The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program. This was not just another program or organization, to me this is where I began to see my life was worth living & that I could make it after facing rough times. After I said yes Andrea and I began to write my goals in the program. I was reading questions I had never even asked myself over the years. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” – I was unsure but with this new source of Hope I knew it would be somewhere peaceful, after the storms in my life had settled.
My meetings with Andrea started with focusing and finding ways to make things safer for my children and me. The first step was housing, which Pathway of Hope blessed us with funding to receive. Next was the difficult process of getting a divorce. I was still so terrified of this man who put me through so much pain that I lost sleep every single night. Andrea was there for me every step of the way: filling out papers, putting me in contact with domestic violence coordinators, attending every court hearing and so much more, all to ensure I was going to be okay. Months later it was official and thanks to the Pathway of Hope and Andrea I was able to start my new life as a single mother, which brought its own set of challenges but I never faced them alone.
When the Holidays came and I had very little to spare for my children’s Christmas, Andrea was sure to add a Santa list for me to fill out. Then, a few weeks before Christmas, I arrived at one of our meetings to see the office full of presents. Tears poured from my eyes as I saw every single thing my kids had put on their lists. Moments like these made me feel life come back into place for thanks to The Salvation Army. The name ‘Pathway of Hope’ holds true meaning because they give you hope by showing you what you can do for yourself & how far you can go.
After graduating from the program I now have a full time job, new housing and new hope for the kids and myself. Along this journey there are still moments of darkness and new obstacles to face but because of Andrea, Pathway of Hope & The Salvation Army I can look back at how far I have already come and confidently continue to follow this new light in my life. I am forever grateful to each and every one of the amazing people who helped me at The Salvation Army. I have never felt so loved and lifted since meeting these wonderful people and I can’t preach the message of Hope enough. If it wasn’t for this program allowing me to think about the future even when I did not know what tomorrow would bring, I can’t imagine where my life would have ended up. I am striving to show my children that anything is possible because I will never give up & I will always keep Hope alive! "
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