Maria Hart entered the program in 2018, not long after asking Jesus to forgive her sin and enter her life as her Savior and Lord. Looking back on the course of her life, she can see His love through His relentless pursuit of her heart and she gives thanks for a program where she has learned to live each day with God as her guide. Homes for Families consists of four phases designed to keep families together while moms receive one-on-one training and counseling to help them succeed with their children and in life. She began the month of September 2019, by moving into her own home and entering Phase IV.

Maria opened a savings account while in Phase II as part of preparing herself for independence. Maria faithfully made regular deposits into the account. Her confidence in her ability to achieve a healthy start on her own grew alongside the total in her account.

Starting a job or going to school allows participants to move into Phase III. Maria began to work at the Blue Quail Deli serving customers and preparing sandwiches on March 28, 2019, exactly two years from the day a heart attack turned her life around. The job perfectly fits for her schedule allowing her to be available to her girls each evening after school.

Before long, Maria recognized the desire to have a home of her own. To move into Phase IV, a mom must be employed or in school, have a vehicle and an approved place to live off of the Marshall Ranch Campus. Her host family, another important support piece of the Homes for Families program, helped Maria to decide what type of vehicle best suited her. Knowing her budget and what she wanted to buy, they sought a car for Maria.

Maria searched for a new place to live. Her daughters’ success in school compelled her to stay in the same district. Valerie, a senior this year, plans to pursue a career in forensic science after graduation. Brooke joined the track team and enjoys running cross country. Maria applied at a couple of apartment complexes and felt frustrated by their rejections. During her prayer time one morning, she felt God reminding her to wait on His timing.

Maria did not have to wait much longer, just before Labor Day 2019 she accepted the gift of a car from an anonymous donor! A few days later, she received word that she had been approved for a two-bedroom apartment located close to both the girls’ school and her job! The whirlwind of preparations began, she had to buy car insurance, look for furniture, turn on the utilities under her name and keep it all within her budget.

Maria’s church family stepped in with offers of support. Perpetual Help, a ministry in Victoria, donated three twin beds and a dresser to the family. Maria’s pastor volunteered to deliver the furniture to the new apartment, and along the way, he met up with another church member who wanted to bless Maria too. They allowed her to choose a couch, recliner, dining table with chairs and a study desk from their store as a gift to celebrate her new beginning.

September 3, 2019, the Hart family moved into a new home. Phase IV provides a gentle release into complete independence which required Maria to continue in a relationship with her case manager at Homes for Families. For several months she met the benchmarks of going to church, keeping her job, turning in receipts and bank statements and no co-habiting allowing her to graduate from the program, God taught and guided Maria during the four phases of the program for single mothers. As she explains the biggest lesson she has learned, she radiates with joy, “it pays to listen to God, to be patient and obedient.” Since beginning the program, Maria has dealt with the trauma of her past, come to understand her value and built loving relationships with her teenage daughters. She has become a woman who pursues God.

For more details of Maria’s story see: https://www.STCHM.org/2018/10/relentlessly-pursued-by-god/