TyraTyra's dad died when she was just 5, leaving Tyra, her mother, and three siblings alone. Today, as she contemplates her Easter baptism, Tyra says she has every reason to believe her new life will be everything she ever dreamed of.
Easter is special for Tyra. She is celebrating three years of sobriety AND rededicated her life to Jesus through baptism. “This is my first Easter not trying to live on my own — the first where I really feel God’s presence,” she says. “When you try to live like Jesus, you see all the bad just slip away.” There was lots of bad in Tyra’s life. And most of it began at home where her parents used drugs.
Her dad died when she was just 5, leaving Tyra, her mother, and three siblings alone. Tyra’s mom married a man who got her mom into drugs. But her parents hid it so well, it wasn’t until Tyra was 12 that she realized what caused the instability in their home.
TURNING HER BACK ON GOD
Looking back, Tyra can see the mistakes that led to her ongoing addiction and homelessness. A big part of it was walking away from her involvement in her church youth group. Tyra had been active in the group. But when word spread to her friends at church that Tyra had been thrown out by her mom, she was too embarrassed to go back. She replaced those friends with new ones. “They were smoking weed and drinking. It just escalated from there.”
Tyra says she can’t believe how dramatic her downfall was from this point. Soon, she was a homeless teen — sleeping in cars, tents and even on the Interurban Trail across from her high school — stealing food from grocery stores. “I was just . . . lost,” Tyra admits. “I remember trying not to think about how I felt about myself.”
Having broken off all contact with her family, Tyra had no one to turn to. “It was hard that I didn’t talk to my family when I was out there. I just didn’t feel like I could — and I didn’t really want to.” Worse, because of all her personal problems, Tyra lost custody of her nine-month-old daughter. But the lowest point for Tyra — when she finally realized she needed help — came late one night as she and her boyfriend slept in a car. She was pregnant, freezing cold, and didn’t even have a bathroom to use. That’s when Tyra asked to come to the Mission.
FEELING GOD’S PRESENCE
After committing herself to recovery, regaining her lost faith, and working hard, Tyra was able to regain custody of her daughter. A short time later, she gave birth to her second child.
Tyra believes that her wonderful new life is a blessing from God. “Even though I slipped away and lost focus, I could really feel His presence. He was taking me where He wanted me to be.”
“Before I came here, I never even thought about having hope. I just accepted my lot in life. But when I got into the Mission, I started having hope that there was something better for me out there.”