Loved and Remembered
“…the Lord is gracious and compassionate.” Psalm 111:4
Eager to express sincere thanks for the love, support, and guidance she has received from OBHC adults over the past few months, serious, but soft-hearted Breonna skips the small talk and cuts right to the chase.
“I came here because I had nowhere else to go,” she says, unblinking. “Before I got here, I was in a shelter. Before that, a detention center. Before that, I was living with a bunch of friends. I heard about this place and thought it sounded like a really good place to be… and it is.”
Breonna continues, “I feel a lot of love from the staff… my houseparents, the associate houseparents… everyone! I didn’t have that with my family, so I’m really enjoying it. I was used to being ignored and taking care of myself and my sisters, but here… well, they are giving me a chance to be a kid for once. They’re giving me a chance to relax and know that someone cares about me and is looking out for me besides myself.”
Breonna appreciates the patience that all the adults at OBHC have shown her. “They’ve helped me make up a lot of ground,” Breonna says with a slow nod. “I think I had been doing what I wanted when I wanted for so long that I was probably a little bit of a brat at first, but they showed me what I call ‘tough love.’ They didn’t let me get by with stuff just because it would be easier on them to do that, but pushed me to be better than I was for my own sake. They didn’t let me have an attitude, and I’m glad.”
Breonna has much respect for her houseparents, in particular. “They’re young,” Breonna explains, “so they understand us. Even though it must be tough sometimes, they deal with us without getting cranky or mean.”
Although Breonna accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior while still living back home, she had limited opportunity to grow spiritually before coming to live at OBHC.
“When I was thirteen, I was walking down by a gazebo in the yacht basin, and this man, Mr. Shaw, and his two sons came walking toward me,” Breonna says. “I wasn’t dressed properly for anything, but they were nice to me. The dad asked, ‘Do you know the Gospel?’ I told them that I didn’t, so they shared it with me. Honestly, they were so nice, I would have listened to anything they had to say. I wasn’t used to people being that nice. I wanted to become a Christian right then, but, like I said, I didn’t feel like I was dressed properly for anything, especially praying to God.”
The Shaw family didn’t give up on Breonna, but invited her to church and into their home. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw and their eleven children continued to show Breonna the love of Jesus and answer all of her questions.
“I accepted Christ in their laundry room,” Breonna says with a wistful smile. “You see, the Shaws showed me who Christ was, and now the adults here at OBHC are showing me how to live in Him. Together, all of these people God put in my life have taught me that even though your original family may not want you or may have forgotten you, God always loves and remembers you and will send people to make sure you know that. No one is ever really alone.”
Buoyed by the love of her houseparents and the encouragement she receives through continued contact with the Shaw family, Breonna refuses to allow her past to define or direct her future.
“I want to be a forensic pathologist,” Breonna announces. “I’ve been taking GED classes and will take the test at the end of this month. So far, I’ve gotten master level on every practice test I’ve taken, so I feel good about it. Hopefully, I can get into a community college for now and then move on to OU and then have a career.”
To those who support OBHC financially, Breonna says, “Thank you for all you’ve given me and kids like me. If it weren’t for you, I’d probably still be living with friends, and I know I wouldn’t be as close to God as I am. You’ve given me hope for a good future. I feel like I’ll be more Christlike than I would have been without you, maybe with a godly husband and some kids. Who knows? But I know that I’ll be happier than I would have been, so thank you!”