Instead of being a source of truth and refuge, Marie’s mom was continually sowing seeds of broken trust as she lied about Marie’s father being dead, and forced her to hide money just so they could eat. With continued lies, manipulation, and neglect, Marie learned to seek her identity and worth in a world of brokenness. As Marie turned each corner of her life, she found further heartbreak and a harsh delusion of happiness.
Marie met Landon, and though their relationship was intoxicated by the delusions of addiction, their journey began to take a radical turn as Landon entered a local drug rehabilitation program. Tragically, while Marie was pregnant with their second child and living out of her car, she was attacked and raped by four gang members. The wounding of that unimaginable experience left Marie in such despair that she saw death as her only hope. Deep down, she questioned whether or not this is what she was created for, yet she truly wanted to believe that her past could be healed!
short story | santa barbara photographer
When Landon returned from the recovery program, having left behind a lifestyle of destruction, pain and addiction, he began to lead Marie in active steps towards wholeness. She too entered a recovery program and began the healing process. As they began to embrace a faith in God and to seek help, things slow began to change. Marie was pregnant with their third child, the first two children were adopted by a family member, and determined to do this differently now that they were sober. In an attempt to gain information about having a healthy pregnancy and to learn the parenting tools they were never afforded and didn’t have to parent their first kids, Marie & Landon searched the internet and found WPC. This was one of their first steps in rebuilding their family and for Marie a step to rededicating her life to God. They began to understand restoration and hope through the loving arms of the staff of WPC. Their counselor not only counseled and encouraged the couple, she also opened her home as a place to stay when they had nowhere to turn one weekend. Another WPC volunteer hosted an incredible baby shower to celebrate the upcoming birth of Marie & Landon’s son. Marie knew that her family needed more than just diapers and baby clothes, but was blown away by the welcoming response received – the counseling, phone calls, gifts, prayers and support. Marie and Landon expressed, “It doesn’t matter how strong our faith is, we still need people, we still need help.” That’s exactly what they found and continue to experience at WPC.
stories of hope | santa barbara photographer
It is an honor to have met and spend a considerable amount of time with Marie and get to share with you her short story. Having personally experienced heartbreaking and extremely disturbing situations in my own life, I have a glimpse into the pain and healing that Marie described to me and I pray as you’ve read her short story your heart is moved to pray for this precious woman that she be completely knit into the body of Christ and continue to receive the healing of God’s healing oil into the deep places of her heart, as well as that of Landon. Though this was a short story peaking into a lifetime of a beautiful woman and family, I hope the snapshot into her life reminds us how much pain their is right around us, in ourselves, our neighbors and our communities and how important love and hope for one another is for God’s dreams for our lives to come true.
much love | katee grace
| short story + photography by katee grace |