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April grew up trying to meet her family’s expectations.

She tried with all her heart to be perfect, keeping herself and others around her to an impossibly high standard. She refused to accept help from others, and when she inevitably failed, she refused to forgive herself.

It was a hard, miserable life.

But she kept trying. Whenever she saw herself succeeding at something, she would pat herself on the back, congratulating herself for her own determination and abilities. Then she found it was comfortable to blame God for the times she failed. Even though God had a way of proving to her that she was the problem, she stubbornly continued on her way.

Things started to finally change for April when she attended college on the fast track to fulfilling her dreams of becoming a geologist. Events suddenly fell apart on her, and she found herself without a place to stay. She was homeless and did not have the means to get a place. By day she was a diligent University of Houston student who studied all day, every day. By night she would find a quiet place to sleep somewhere in the school. She was literally living in the school.

“The lie was easy to portray when the halls were full of other students, but when the sun began to set, and the crowd thinned to nothing, my façade began to crack, and my world fell around me,” she said.

April kept her secret for two semesters. But when the school closed for the holidays, she had nowhere to turn.

“That’s when God reached out again and led me to Star of Hope, where I began my journey in the Personal Development program. This is when my real growth began,” she said. “Because of the intense instruction in life skills, daily prayers and affirmations, the walls I created around me began to break down.”

Today, April strives to rely on God in everything she does. “I am learning not to focus on the storms that crash around me but instead to take hold of God’s hand … and just keep dancing through the rain.”

She knows she cannot be perfect and she should not expect others to be either. “I am learning to forgive others and myself if things fall short of what I expected and to use these instances as opportunities to grow,” she said.

She still has the same dreams she has always worked toward. She will be graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geology.

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