Seeing Through the Tears
Margaux has always loved working with children and dreamed of becoming a teacher. As a single mom of 4-year-old Xiah, she was working hard to make that dream come true. Balancing a full-time job and a full course load in school was difficult, yet nothing came before her daughter. Xiah was Margaux’s joy and she loved getting to be her mom. Thankfully, they were able to live with Margaux’s sister while she worked toward her degree and took steps toward the future she’d always imagined for her family.
One day, all of that changed. After a disagreement with her sister, Margaux and Xiah were left without a place to stay. Their home had suddenly been taken away and, with no other family in the Houston area, they had no place to go. “I remember feeling so overwhelmed, realizing that we were going to have to live out of my car. I knew that wasn’t the greatest option for us, but Xiah and I needed to stay together,” she remembers. After going online and searching for safe places for mothers and children in Houston, Gracewood was the first resource that popped up on her screen.
“Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. I had never heard of a place that offered so much help and support for people who lived there,” says Margaux. “But I was determined not to quit school and continue providing for my daughter, so I called.” She was so surprised by the warm kindness of the Gracewood staff that she talked with on the phone. That first conversation was soon followed by an official interview and a meeting. Then she waited to see if they would be accepted into the program.
After visiting with her father in Dallas, Margaux was driving back to Houston when she got the call letting her know that Gracewood had a place for her and her daughter. She immediately felt as if the Lord had lifted a heavy weight off of her shoulders. “I just started crying. I had to pull over because I couldn’t see through the tears. I was so relieved to know that we weren’t going to be homeless. We had a home to go to and we were going to be okay.”
When they moved to Gracewood, neither Margaux or Xiah were quite sure what to expect. But they were immediately put at ease when they arrived at their cottage. The beautiful landscaping outside welcomed them into a wonderful, warm home environment. The atmosphere was busy, but also happy and comfortable. Margaux and Xiah had their own bedroom and bathroom, and they shared kitchen and living spaces with other families who lived there, too. They began to quickly bond with the other families during meals and playtimes.
Xiah loved living in a cottage filled with other kids to play with! It was a dream come true for her and that filled Margaux with joy. In addition to providing them with a loving home, the residential program at Gracewood offered the structure and stability that Margaux needed to be able to get back on her feet. Once she and Xiah settled into their new routine, Margaux was able to concentrate on her work and school, refocusing on her dream of becoming a teacher.
“Being able to meet with a professional counselor on a regular basis was one of the most beneficial things for me,” she shares. “I was a bit reluctant at first, but once I got used to it, it felt really good. I appreciated having someone to talk to and process through things with. The wisdom and insight that I gained from my counselor was so helpful in learning from my past and planning for my future.”
Margaux developed sweet, trusting relationships with many of the staff members at Gracewood and came to think of them as her family. “They have cheered me on and supported me in some of my hardest times. I don’t have family here in the Houston area that I can go to for help or who can celebrate victories with me, but Gracewood changed that. Gracewood is my family and I know I will always have their love and support.”
When Margaux finally walked across the stage to accept her diploma at Texas Tech University in December 2019, her Family Life Coordinator was there along with other members of her family who had traveled to cheer her on. It was so heartwarming for her to see the faces of many people who loved her and knew how much work it had taken to achieve her dream!
After graduation, Margaux was thrilled to be offered a job with the Houston Independent School District. On her first day teaching 5th grade, she knew that this was exactly where God had called her to be. She felt a sense of purpose and accomplishment, knowing how far He’d brought her.
Now living in the Independent Living program at Gracewood, Margaux and Xiah are preparing to transition back to living on their own again soon. “What Gracewood did for us is amazing. My greatest hope is for my daughter to be happy and to be able to provide a comfortable, normal life for her,” says Margaux. “Gracewood helped build a foundation that is allowing me to do that and to be successful in my career. I am so grateful for the love and kindness they’ve showed my family.”