From Homelessness to Recovery and a Life of Renewed Hope

After my father left, I began to live a life that began to spin quickly out of control. I lived with my mother and my older siblings were no longer living in the home. I grew up in the Motor City with an abundance of drugs, alcohol and rock and roll. I began to hang with the wrong crowd at a very young age, meeting boys, and sitting on the corner of our street, drinking whiskey and 7-Up in the middle of the night.  My mother was not privy to my lifestyle, as I kept it well hid, until one New Years Eve, I went with a friend and her family to a party, and while sitting in the basement with a group of people who were much older than I, began to share their beverages, yes, you guessed it, with alcohol. I don’t think I was even 14 years old. That night I was so intoxicated that when we were leaving, I hit my head on the top of the car as I was getting into the backseat. When I arrived home, my mother met me at the door, she had no idea I was drunk until after taking our dog to her bed in the basement, and kept tripping on the steps as I came up the stairs. Just a few short years later, my mother overdosed with legal drugs, she was only 45.

This lifestyle continued and even grew more serious. When I was 20 years of age, I had become involved with a man whose friends introduced us to a very addicting drug. I was amazed at how one could crave such a substance. I believe it is only by the Grace of God that I survived.

At 21 years of age, I had moved back in with my father and his new wife and her family. During this time my father, the late Bob Nielsen, who was Captain of Paramedics at station one in Warren, Michigan and a Firefighter for many years, began to change, in a good way. One day when I came home from work, my Dad was cutting the lawn in the backyard, it was summer, so the windows were open, and I could hear him speaking, only I could not make out what it was, my step mother was sitting on the couch and I asked, “What is he doing?” She responded and said, “He’s praying in the Spirit.” I paused and said, “Oh, OK.” I made a mental note, but did not think much more about it, until later.

Not long after, my older brother Bob, who had long blond hair, and was what I considered at the time, a “party dude” came up to my younger sisters room, where I liked hanging out, except she was not there at the time. Bob came in, sat down, and began to tell me about Jesus. I was like, “Ooooh K.” I listened. And if my memory serves me correctly, he had given me what was called a four spiritual laws track. What’s a track? It’s a small pamphlet or paper that has Bible verses printed on it regarding Jesus, how He paid for our sins, and How we can have NEW Life in Him. One famous verse that many know, and may have seen even at sporting events is, John 3:16, How God so loved the world, that he gave his One and only Son, Jesus, that whosoever believes (believes also means obey him) in Him, will not perish, but have Everlasting Life.

At this time, I had come to a place in my life where I was ready for a change, a Real change. I had done so many things wrong, I cannot even list them, and when I began to read those verses on the “track” they began to speak to me; I began to hear God, and that He loved me, even with all my sins, all my mistakes. It wasn’t audible, the best way I can describe this is His voice is much like your conscience, that “still small voice” inside of you that says, “Don’t do that!” Or, “Don’t go there.” God speaks to us through the person of His Holy Spirit, Jesus says in John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all Truth. He will not Speak on His own; He will SPEAK only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” When this happened, I began to do what some of those verses were encouraging me to do, I began to ask God to forgive me of my sins, and I asked Jesus Christ His Son, to be my Master, the Lord of my Life, and when I did, something very real and tangible began to happen, it was as though a blanket of Love was draped over me, like you would cover a baby. I began to weep, yet they were not tears of sadness, on the contrary, they were tears of Joy, and as I cried, it felt as though all of my shame was being washed away. I had become as Jesus said, “Born again.” Born of the Spirit of God. That was over 45 years ago. And that same loving God is with me even to this day.

All throughout my life as a follower of Jesus, I have made many mistakes, as we all do. But God is Faithful and Rich in mercy, and promises, that if we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to Forgive us our sins, and to Cleanse us from All Unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

Some years later, I married a wonderful man of God, had two boys, and combined, we have 6 Grandchildren with another on the way. In my book: Love Awakens (Love and in my husbands book: The Main Thing, we share his story, regarding His encounter with Jesus, and how the Lord spoke to him regarding his Return, and led him to read His Words in Matthew 25:31-46. Because of what the Lord shared with my husband and myself, we have been very active as a church and family, caring for the orphan, widows and the poor. We are the founding pastors of Ponce Church in Ponce Inlet, Florida. Our oldest son and his wife are the Directors of our home for Age Out foster girls established in 2016, and soon a boys ranch. (see and after serving over 35,000 meals to our homeless community since 2014, we began to walk out the vision God has given us to provide housing for adult homeless women, specifically those who have made the decision to live a life from from addictions, something that is very common among the homeless community. We launched Ponce Village ( years ago and have recently opened Tabitha’s House, a home for women who have been homeless and are working to live a life of sobriety.

Since providing meals for the homeless community, I developed a strong desire to not only provide a Home, but a Family, with opportunities they would not have in any other environment.  

TABITHA’S HOUSE of Ponce Village – is a Christ-centered home, with a long-term solution, providing the spiritual resources (Mentorship) needed to help them on their journey, toward a life of Renewed Hope, where each woman receives the same love and care as our Legacy Family.

Our MISSION at Tabitha’s House:

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 NIV.

In your New Journey you took the necessary steps and placed yourself in recovery programs, and with the Lord’s strength and guidance, completed the process in your new walk with the Lord and graduated.


Tabitha’s House is the Next Step; God’s plan to continue His Good Work in you, through the help of His people, full of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 6 says, set apart men (and women) full of the Holy Spirit…) Compassion and Love of our Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ. With a Biblically sound program that will help you achieve the next necessary steps to a Life of independence; a Life of Renewed Hope with Jesus continually at your side. (Psalm 139 NLT) and the Holy Spirit who is your comforter, and guide, who will speak to you and show you things to come.

Pastor Nina developed a strong desire to not only provide a Home, but a Family, with opportunities many would not have in any other environment, where she is involved daily, with scheduled Bible studies, and Godly counsel. 

At Tabitha’s House, you will live for free as you work to obtain (or continue) employment and / or enroll in classes at a local college or trade school, in efforts (as the Lord leads you according to His plan) to achieve your educational goals toward a lasting career.

Coming Soon: Tabitha’s House Cafe’ and Consignment Shop: Serving Gourmet Cupcakes, Coffee, Tea, and providing clean and gently used Women’s Clothing. This will provide career opportunities for our Tabitha’s House Residents. More information coming soon.

If you are currently homeless and struggling with addiction, we will help put you in contact with Faith-based sobriety programs that can help you to begin your New path free from homelessness and addiction.

While standing in the kitchen, the Lord spoke to me and said, “I Love the Homeless Women just as much as I love the orphan. They have been crying out to Me for a very long time.” He then proceeded and said, “I have a home for them and I have put people in place with the resources to do it.” And then He said something I’d never heard Him say to me before: “Thank you for continuing to help them.” And I thought, Lord, you’re thanking me? And encouraged me to keep sharing the Vision.
The LORD replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the Poor. Now I will rise up to Rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”
Psalm 12:5

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Pastor Nina Tidwell is Co-founder and Pastor of Ponce Church in Ponce Inlet along with her husband Pastor Rick Tidwell. She is also Co-author of The Main Thing and The Right Thing – by Rick Tidwell. Pastor Nina is Author of LOVE AWAKENS, at

If you are reading this and are in danger of abuse  please call 911, get out and seek safety.  Also contact the  National Domestic Violence Hotline

At, Ponce Church  we are active serving the homeless community.

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