I have faced many struggles in my life. These struggles make and shape me to who I am and in a way that I learn to trust God and His promises. One of these ways was to become homeless and trust that God would take care of me.
I was born deaf and because of this led to a disconnect with my parents and a false bravado. As a child I was sexually abused by my older brother.
I always wanted to be like my brothers. When I was in college I used drugs as they did. I was attending the Art Institute and focusing on photography when I final examinations because I was blacked out for three days.
In June of 1991, I was admitted to rehabilitation for the first time. I was brought to face many things. I was wrote letters to my parents, which created a new beginning for our relationship.
In 2000, my mother passed away. My father had Alzheimer’s disease and because she was his caregiver, I became his caregiver. I also worked in a nursing home as a caregiver. This enabled me to build the self confidence I never really had before. I worked through pain, and fostered a sense of compassion for others. I took every opportunity that I was given and a lot of this help fell into place. I also forgave my brother.
I decided that I would change my occupation and move out at the age of 39. I got a job with Johns Creek United Methodist Church. I started as a custodian and in the six years I was there moved up to a facility manager. I got involved with a ministry there that helped others who were experiencing loss. This ministry helped me learn that forgiveness was something I needed to be giving in my life.
Then in the summer of 2006 I had been in a deep depression that I can’t really explain. I had two weeks of vacation lined up and went to the roof of Johns Creek United Methodist Church. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let myself go over the edge. As soon as I left I had to call the head of the ministry and let him know what was going on. I needed help.
I was then admitted back to the same facility that I had been at in 1991. During this time I had a dramatic encounter, a moment of serendipity with God.
After I was released I felt a calling from God to become homeless. At the end of 2007 I went to Athens, GA in my vehicle with the full intention of living from my truck. I felt that God was calling me to do this to show me that He is trustworthy and that He will provide. My one hope was that He would use me.
While I was in Athens, I got involved with a crowd that was not that great. I ended up enabling others instead of actually helping them.
I then felt I was being called to Lawrenceville. So I went and worked with a garbage disposal company for a while. I still lived from my truck, and during this time reconnected with my brother. This led me to Good News at Noon, a homeless shelter and ministry, where my brother was during this time. Through this time at Good News at Noon, I learned a lot about God. But as my nine month anniversary of arriving at Good News came, I left, and I was gone for a year in Wisconsin.
After that year I came back to Good News, and God really revealed Himself to me. I was still living from my truck at this time and a pastor from a local church that regularly volunteered convinced me to stay in an apartment over the garage because he wanted me out of my truck. On that first night, I realized that it wasn’t what God was wanting for me. I had another moment of serendipity, and it was as if God came into the room. I left after that day and knew that I was meant to be at Good News at Noon. Ever since that day, I have been here.
God showed me that this was the opportunity that I was finally getting it right.
Right now I am very content with my life. I am hopeful that one day I will get married. I can see myself getting married at this age, maybe to a woman who already has children. I would love to work again with photography, but for right now I am looking at other options. I am looking at a career shift to being a school bus driver.
I am very hopeful for the future and trust in God with my whole heart that it is going to be the best thing for me.
Told By: Sara Jane Bowers
This story originally appeared in Facing Homelessness in Hall County, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia.