RESIDENT OF HOME FOR CHILDREN IN ’70s AND ’80s
Cathy Mullinax Ledford – “…my house parents became my ‘real’ parents…”
I was 10 years old when I came to live at Christian City along with my sister and brother. I’ll never forget the date – April 10, 1977. All my worldly possessions were in a small garbage bag and my hair was in ponytails. Our single mother loved the three of us very much, but she was unable to provide for us. I didn’t know my biological father, but I loved my mother beyond words and knew she loved us unconditionally.
While I’m sure the decision was heartbreaking for our mom, she entrusted Christian City to raise us with strong Christian values in a healthy, happy home. That was one of the best decisions she ever made. Even though I was only in fourth grade, I believe I knew I wanted to break the cycle that led to a life of poverty and poor life choices for my family. I also believe God has a hand in everything through His will.
Thankfully, God led us to the home of Mom and Dad Kimmons at Christian City, a couple with a special gift for loving each child in their care. They encouraged each one of us…
…to do our best as individuals. My house parents became my “real” parents, and they still are to this day. We talk on the phone regularly, meet for Sunday meals, and celebrate holidays and special occasions together as a family.
When the Kimmons home became a “boys” cottage, I had to move. Eventually, I was blessed to move to the Moore cottage in seventh grade. By that time, I knew and accepted that I would not be reunited with my mother, and I was at peace with it. God closes and opens doors for a reason. In the end, it’s always a blessing.
Mom Moore is one of the most gentle, loving, kind and caring women I have ever known. In fact, John Kimmons and Sarah Moore are two of the most Christ-like people I know today. I named my daughter after Mom Moore. Their positive influence on my childhood was life-changing; and they planted the seed that helped me to break the cycle of poor decision-making that had perpetuated through several generations of my mother’s family.
Dad and Mom Kimmons also planted the seed that led me and my husband, Stuart, to start a small business that has provided for our family and allowed us to send our children to Christian school. I met my husband of 25 years when we were in the same eighth-grade homeroom and on the track team, but we didn’t begin dating until after college. When we married in 1993, my dad, John Kimmons, walked me down the aisle at the church we attended as a family.
Stuart and I have been blessed with three children, now 23, 21 and 19, who have thankfully made good decisions in their lives due to their personal relationships with Jesus Christ and ongoing involvement with our church family. Our son, Justin, is in the U.S. Coast Guard; daughter, Sarah, will graduate from nursing school in May 2019 with a BSN degree; and the youngest, Kaitlin, was the valedictorian of her high school class. She is a freshman at Kennesaw State majoring in civil engineering.
It was at Christian City that I experienced the value of a strong Christian family and accepted Christ as my savior. In turn, my husband and I make every effort to live by example for our children. When I developed breast cancer in 2013, my strong faith in God along with the love and faith of my family and friends saw me through the difficult times. Today, as a cancer survivor, I look forward to seeing God’s plan unfold in our children’s lives so they can be a blessing to others.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you. Having been raised at Christian City, I know first-hand the true blessing that the Children’s Village has been in the past, is today, and will continue to be for countless children in need. God is faithful.
My favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Thanks to God, Christian City was in my path, and I am here to share this blessing with you today.