Lin Leivestad moved back to Norway
with her daughter Natasha after completing her stay at Tender
Life. She still stays very connected through phone calls and
e-mail. Lin has offered to share a bit of her story with you.
Lin is a very brave young woman who worked hard to get her
get scared when I think about where I would be without Tender
Life. Like so many other girls in their care I too came
from an abusive relationship. Too easily could I have ended
up right where I was at: skid row; an existence filled with
drugs, lies and crime. It was everywhere around me. But
because I was married I tried my hardest to “stand
by my man” and give him the benefit of the doubt.
A bad habit that caused me pain and a little trouble while
staying at Tender Life… But Tender Life recognized
the problems and taught me that I do not have to put up
with abuse and disrespect, married or not. I do have the
right to stand up for myself and I am worth something. Through
all the great classes that Tender Life offers, I have learned
to be independent by focusing on my needs and goals. Too
may of the girls at Tender Life come from relationships
where they have been harassed, disrespected and mistreated
and left with a feeling of no dignity and little or no self-esteem.
You do not want to teach your child that it’s OK to
be abused. That’s not a value. While at Tender Life
I also found the love of God and with His guidance I now
feel I am “back on track”. I’ll be a full
time student as of this fall, aiming for a bachelor’s
in social studies. I am raising my daughter on my own and
she is healthy, happy and blissfully unaware of the hurdles
and hardships her mother has walked through.
This Testimony was given by one of the
Tender Life Transition Home residents. She offered to share
her story at one of our fundraisers and it brought many of
the guests to tears. Her success story is truly a MIRACLE.
I first came to Tender Life I was pregnant with my youngest
daughter Madison. I had been living in an abusive situation
and an environment of drugs and alcohol. I dove right into
the program at Tender Life and took advantage of all the
classes, counseling and life skills opportunities. I felt
safe while living there and because I was gaining emotional
health I was able to fight and regain custody of my other
I love my 2 daughters very much and wanted
the best possible future for them both. Because of this
I gave the father an opportunity to prove himself when he
got out of jail and become the father he said he wanted
to be. I left Tender Life with hopes that we would have
of the nice house with the white picket fence and dog in
the yard. It didn’t take long for my dreams to shatter
and drugs alcohol and abuse again invaded my life.
I have always had the desire to do great things
with my life and knew I had the ability to accomplish anything
I set my mind to. I was a good student in school and excelled
academically. My poor choices with men, and other addictions
haunted me and kept me from a life of stability and personal
success. I had reached the end of my rope. I needed to turn
my life around completely or lose my daughters and this
would kill me.
I humbled myself and went back to Tender Life.
I knew they could help me sort my life out and give me the
tools to pull it together. They accepted me back into the
program. And for the last several months I have fought for
my emotional and spiritual health. Classes on Anger Management,
Codependency, boundaries self esteem, parenting and recovery
are all part of my growth. Today as I stand here talking
to you all, I have completed my recovery. I am in my 2nd
semester at Ventura College. I am holding an A average and
am pursuing a career in teaching. I plan on transferring
to UCSB. I am working on getting my drivers license and
hope to get a car. I have gained an immense amount of self-pride
and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. My daughters are
now 8 and 4. Gretchen is doing very well in school and is
an honor role student. She takes dance classes now and sings
in our church choir. Madison just learned how to print her
name and she is very proud of herself. My daughters are
also proud of me and those that are close to me are amazed
at how well I am doing. I am on that road towards personal
success and I am accomplishing my goals. Life is good and
I am determined. Of all the rewards life could give me the
greatest one by far is the look in my 2 daughters eyes.
They look up to me, and they want to be like me and that’s
a GOOD THING.
This Tender Life Resident
has recently been promoted to a staff position. Her dedication
and appreciation for the program allows her to lead with enthusiasm.
She has also been through some hard knocks so she can share
with other women who are pregnant and have been abandoned
that a crisis can be turned into an opportunity.
I came to Tender Life my life was pointless. I was on drugs
and going nowhere. I lost my job. The house I lived in got
sold. I was pregnant and had no place to go and I have no
family. I remembered an ad I saw about Tender Life. I phoned
to set up an interview and to learn more about what they
had to offer. After speaking with the Director I knew that
the Lord brought me there. I came to Tender Life because
I had no place to go. I’m staying there because I
love the program and all of the positive things they have
to offer. I delivered my baby Wysper on August 31st. She
brings out the best in me. I know that she doesn’t
want a drug addict for a mom or a mom who could go to jail.
I want her to be proud of me. The Lord has given me a reason
to live. My daughter makes me want to do the best I can.
I am now attending college. I haven’t been in school
for 20 years but I’m working hard so that I can provide
for my daughter.