Nov26SatNovember 26, 2016
(Tiara has been attending Church at the Manor since our first Sunday on April 20th 2014 to present and recently shared her testimony at the Princess Ball with over 200 women in attendance.
At the age of two things things began to unravel in her life as her father began to sexually assault Tiara and she went through horrific abuse in her early years. One thing that went through her mind was, “What did I do to deserve this?” and “Maybe if I tried a little harder it would stop.”
She was four years old when her life drastically changed forever. It was the night of the Super Bowl and she wanted to play. She had no interest in going to bed and was being disruptive. An abusive uncle who was drunk and high at the time picked her up and shook her as hard as he could and then dropped her to the ground. In the process her spine was compressed and her spinal cord was separated and as a result she became a paraplegic.
A year later her mom decided to place her in a bathtub of scalding hot water because she just couldn’t cope and care for her and her siblings. As a result she not only had to deal with her physical limitations, she now also struggled with depression and dealing with why she should even live on this earth.
Family and Children Services stepped in when she was six and removed her from her home. While this can be a very negative experience of being bounced from home to home, thankfully for Tiara it wasn’t. She met a wonderful mother and father who are still a part of her life. It was in this home that she finally got care through her night terrors and where she had three meals a day and could ask for me if still hungry. For the first time she felt love that she had never experienced before. It was here on a hobby farm that she could pick up eggs from the hens and pick dandelion bouquets for her new family. She was even allowed to bring the eggs into her own room too!
One of the things that she was told by others was that she would never be able to live on her own. She wasn’t capable or smart enough to do this. Well, at the age of nineteen she moved out and started living on her own. She received money because of her disability, but still it was hard to make ends meet. At the age of 21, she gave birth to a son and even that was something she was told that would never happen. She was told she would never be able to carry to full term because of her condition and if the child was born, he would have many issues. Tiara’s prayers to God during this time were answered as she asked God to give her a sign that He loved her. She had a healthy son. He is eighteen now and has taught her so much about what perseverance is and how to overcome sadness and fear.
Tiara’s life hasn’t always been hard, she has been able to water ski, play wheel chair basketball and if her future husband ever has a chance to see her play again, he may have a heart attack because they play rough and they don’t care. She has rock propelled and has been a wheel chair track athlete. Track has been a major accomplishment for her. In 1996, she was a provincial gold medallist. She was the one with one hand in front of the other saying to herself, “I think I can, I think I can!” When she crossed the finished line, she told herself that she was the little engine that could! Quitting in not in her vocabulary.
She has also also had many moments of weakness. In 2004, Tiara ended up breaking the law and realized what a huge disappointment that was. However, she knew that even though this happened, she still could call on the mom and dad who raised her. While sobbing on the phone telling her mom that she pleaded guilty to the charges, her mother said, “I still love you.” The strength that she had to say those words to her have really inspired Tiara to get through many difficult times in her life.
She also spent almost a year at Parkview Motel where many people struggle and where she pretty much was overdosing on pain killers every single day. At one point she tried to take her life because she was so low and didn’t have a hope in the world. “I felt like I let God down and I had so disappointed my family who loved me. Little did I realize that God had a bigger plan for me and while I was ready to stumble and fall and give up, He wasn’t.”
After at a bad overdose, she was on a ventilator for five days. It was a wake-up call and she realized that she needed to clean up her act. Tiara’s son looked at her and said, “Am I not worth fighting for?” She had been so wrapped up in feeling sorry for herself that she forgot how much she was hurting others. After this, she prayed and prayed and prayed. She pushed her wheelchair aside and got down on her hands and knees. She prayed, “God, could you help me find a home?” I just wanted a place where I could call home. Shortly after, she met a lady at the Drop In Center who told her about Sue’s Inn (the Manor Motel). She wasn’t sure at first because she didn’t think anyone would give her a chance since she had a record, but Roger, the owner, took a chance on her.
On her journey through Sue’s Inn, she came to Church at the Manor, heard the story of God’s love and learned that she was worthy. She was never told that she was worthy of God’s love. Those were hard words to wrap her mind around after living your whole life wondering if you are good for anything. Tiara shares “I now have people who have faith in me, who stick by me and who have patience. They push me towards God when I try to push away and with that I was able to heal. I was able to go back to my uncle and tell him that I forgive him even though he still told me that he had no regrets.
Tiara was baptized in the parking lot of the Manor in 2014 and we have seen so much growth in her life from the ways that she volunteers her heart out with the Humane Society of Guelph to pet adoption at Pet Smart, she glows with the love of Jesus. Recently she has been sharing her testimony and has spoken with amazing calm and ease at the Princess Ball to approximately 200 ladies. We see God using her to speak hope into the lives of others and it is evidenced by how many come up to speak with her afterwards.
Tiara and her precious dog, Tanna, moved out of the Manor Motel a year ago. She has a two bedroom apartment that she can truly call home. She was engaged this fall and will be married in the coming year. ‘Tanna Banana’ as we affectionately call her by the way is our church mascot! J
Tiara shares, “If you give God a chance, He can turn your life around like He turned my life around.”