October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As many as one in four women are victims of domestic violence every year. Abuse and violence can damper someone’s dreams and aspirations, but for Angela Walterscheid, she never let it hold her back. Through Buckner Family Pathways®, she rebuilt her confidence and transformed her life for her family.
Angela was a single mom by 20 years old. She experienced a childhood full of inconsistency – raised by her dad and different stepmothers. A bride at 29, her husband became abusive in all aspects shortly after the wedding. Angela remained in the relationship determined to set her and her daughter up for success as she worked toward receiving her massage therapy license and opening her own business.
Their marriage was tumultuous. She helped him gain custody of his three children, so they were raising four children together. Angela lost a baby due to his abuse but welcomed another son while still with him. In this environment, she became addicted to drugs and alcohol. After continued years of abuse, Angela found the strength to take her two young sons at the time and escape.
But the escape didn’t bring much reprieve. She struggled with her addictions and continued to be in and out of jail.
“Over the course of the next three years, I was in and out of domestic violence shelters and moved to start a life away from my ex-husband,” Angela shared. “This life had created emotional trauma and scars for my boys that would take years to heal from.”
Experiencing the lowest of lows brought Angela to God's feet
In 2018, she was sentenced to five years in jail. Throughout her sentence, she felt the lowest she ever had. Her children were in foster care. She was completely alone. But she found herself turning to God.
“Those were the worst times of my life,” she said. “I was completely alone in there [jail], and afraid for what was to come for my kids and myself. I had no one to turn to but God.”
She looks back on that season and says it was God who kept her family together.
In April 2020, right when COVID was ravaging the U.S., Angela was released from jail with $50 to her name. Determined to do right by her three children with this second chance, she came across Exodus Ministries.
Accepted in July 2020, this started her journey toward self-sufficiency. She attended classes in the evening, worked as much as she could and remained in compliance with her parole.
She graduated a year later – right after her father had passed away from liver cancer. Amid her grief and not knowing what God had planned for her next, she found the Family Pathways program in Dallas.
Finding healing, empowerment and hope
In September 2021, she joined the program and dove head first into chasing her educational goals while also finding healing for both her and her children.
“I was nervous about attending school full-time while also raising my two young boys, but I trusted the path God was leading me down,” Angela said.
While she has been able to work through the trauma of her past through counseling, her boys also have also attended weekly therapy appointments and are thriving in school and activities.
“The support and encouragement I found here has been incredible,” she continued.
While in the program, she graduated from Dallas Community College with an associate degree and has more than doubled her income. She has built stronger relationships with her children while learning to face the traumas of both her addiction and abusive relationships.
A new chapter for the whole family
Today, she is working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of North Texas. Her GPA is a 3.8 and she’s a member of the Resident Council Committee for Dallas Family Pathways. Her life and her children’s lives have been redeemed. A true testament to the power of transforming generations.
“I want to give my children all the experience every child deserves,” she said. “And as a single mom, it’s not always possible – both financially and due to time restrictions and limitations.”
But through the support Buckner has provided, Angela has been able to find her footing to create a foundation where she can focus on her family and their future.
And take it from Angela’s words, “Look at me, from abuse and addiction to prison, to God and recovery and a beautiful journey of healing and restoration. God is so good and faithful!”