Monique was born in Germany, the daughter of an Airman. She and her family moved multiple times all over the world until they settled in San Antonio, Texas where she would attend grade school and graduate high school.
Monique looks back on her childhood with wonderful memories. “I had a great childhood,” she said. “My parents exposed me and my sister to different foods, ethnicities, art, and movements.” Unfortunately at the age of 17, only three days after her birthday, Monique’s mother lost her battle with colon cancer. It was a very hard time for her and the tragedy of losing her mother made it hard to focus in school.
By attending summer school, Monique was able to stay on track and graduate. Education was a priority in Monique’s family and after the loss of her mother, she knew she wanted to do something in the medical field. With the encouragement of her father and family, Monique joined the Air Force Reserve and became a radio operator with the Aeromedical Evacuation unit. After her time in the Air Force, Monique went to school to further her education and became a medical assistant and phlebotomist. She met and married a man who sadly, was both physically and verbally abusive.
Monique had experienced tremendous loss during her abusive marriage. “I had lost four babies—three miscarriages and one at birth,” she said. Monique still longed to be a mother and began the process to become a Foster Parent. It was during that time she became pregnant with her now 12-year-old son. Monique knew God was faithful. “I knew God had a purpose for me,” she said.
Monique and her son’s father divorced. He moved to California and Monique stayed in Texas with her son. She had experienced some medical issues including diabetes and a knee replacement, which made caring for her son a challenge. “Even though I suffered abuse, my son never did. I did not want to keep my son from knowing his father, so I decided that he would live with his dad in California.”
Once Monique’s knee was healed she moved to California to be closer to her son. She had an apartment waiting for her, but she learned it had been given to someone else after arriving. Monique found herself homeless, and not wanting to “worry her family,” she lived in hotels and ultimately lived out of her car for a while. She remarried, but that marriage also ended up in divorce due to abuse.
Monique found herself homeless again, but took refuge at the Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley’s women’s emergency shelter. Monique felt shame and embarrassment, but she says, “They (the Mission staff) didn’t make me feel like I was homeless. They didn’t judge me, because they wanted to help. They wanted to help build me up.”
While at the shelter, Monique learned how to be with God. She said, “I learned it’s not about the ‘Why did God let this happen?’, but it’s about ‘How can God help with what has happened?’” The shelter gave Monique the space to be herself and to discover her relationship with God. “I am physically, mentally, and spiritually changed, because of living here,” she said.
Monique says looking back on her life, she can see God’s faithfulness through having her son and rescuing her from abusive relationships. God took Monique to “ground zero” as she recalls when she was quarantined due to COVID. “I was in my room all alone for days and God dealt with me,” she said. “I could feel His presence, and He reminded me to be faithful to Him because He had been faithful to me.”