You can never underestimate the power of prayer. And when you specifically ask Jesus to pray for you, get ready to be blessed. Problem is you want your prayers to be answered immediately. After all, Jesus is the Son of God. God listens to Him, right? But it didn’t happen immediately for me. I wanted off the street right then and there. I was diligently looking for blessings, jumping at everything that looked promising to me, hoping it was a blessing from God. As a result, it caused me a lot of heartache.
While “waiting on the Lord,” I started thinking I should be proactive and look into shelters again. From the very beginning when I first realized I was bound for homelessness I started calling around looking for shelters for women. My nonprofit work was with organizations providing services for women in various stages of life. I reached out to these organizations and, amazingly, got no response. One organization told me that they didn’t have help for the working homeless. I wasn’t mentally ill, an alcoholic, drug addict, prostitute, or abused by a spouse, and I didn’t have any children. So rightfully, most of the available resources went to those categories of women who found themselves in a homeless situation.
A well-meaning friend became very disgusted with me because I refused to lie to get into one of the shelters that provided for alcoholics and drug addicts. When you’re homeless, people think you should be desperate enough to try anything. Telling that lie would mean someone who really needed the service wouldn’t get it.
Once I stayed with a friend for several nights after being invited in, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t feel welcomed. The second night I was there I had bad dreams from tracing my life seeing where I’d been wronged or where I had done wrong. I had no peace. The third night I started thinking about suicide, and I must say it was amazingly seductive. A strange calmness came over me, and it seemed the right thing to do. I was a failure, and my life was over anyway. Then a still, small voice told me I wasn’t thinking godly thoughts. I snapped out of it, ran to my church the next day and asked for prayer. I wanted off the streets, but an unhappy situation or just settling for anything was not the answer.
Finding shelter was a major task. I mistakenly thought I had to do something rather than just wait on God, believing that my prayer needed a little assistance. I searched until I did find a shelter that took women in from all stages of life.
My first impression was, “God, are you serious?” Then I remembered God didn’t send me to that location. That was my plan. The very friendly staff member showed me around the house, which was in the process of being remodeled, but it was very small.
When she started giving me the house rules, like you had to be in by 10 p.m., I took a look at the current inmates, or tenants, and asked the staff member if it was a transitional home for women getting out of prison? She said, “it’s for women in transition;” I said to myself “It’s for women getting out of prison.”
Not that there is anything wrong with that. That’s a good thing, but not for me.
As I rushed from the house, I looked to the heavens and said, “God I have never said ‘no’ to You directly, and I understand we’re all Your children, but if this is the best You can do for me, You might as well take me now.” Then I reminded myself again, this was my plan, not His.
The holidays were approaching and I didn’t want to be on the street. It was October and I was desperate.
It was getting cold, and the nights were getting longer. Then one day out of the blue I got an email from a friend asking me for a favor–to house-sit. That favor turned into three months of shelter, covering all the holidays, even the New Year and my birthday. I knew only God could make such an arrangement, and I learned a vital lesson about “waiting on the Lord.”
Although I returned back to the streets after the holidays, my life was considerably better, and through the grace of God, new doors began to open.
In my next article, my journey continues.