Homelessness

See me. See me as I sit here at my desk, searching for words to say that will draw you into my life. For I am so full of feeling that the language inside me won’t come. It just stands like sentinels guarding castle walls, only these are the walls of my heart.

This reminds me of the days of my childhood, when it was  unsafe to speak. I can hear the voice of my father now, vitriol spewing out of his mouth as he screamed at us children. I remember being silenced by fear, but now I am able to express my thoughts and feelings without the threatening and railing of a person who is no longer here to shut me up. So, let me show you me.

Who am I, you ask? I am a woman who has endured great suffering at the hands of life and others. That suffering has made me the incredible woman that I am.

It does not matter that my words are jammed up inside me and will not come. I will still write about who I am and through those words, my life will open up as a flower that unfolds in the spring. So, see me.

See me on the streets of Montana as I lived there, homeless. My husband of thirteen years, who had been the love of my life, left me as we dealt with the loss of our home and our jobs and my health. He had seen me through hell and back, but was finally broken and ran out of our life as fast as his feet could take him. I do not blame him, for I would have escaped me if I could, but, alas, I was stuck with me. Stuck with severe depression and anxiety and the beginnings of schizoaffective disorder due to the torment of living on the streets. I was terrified and suffered major panic attacks on a daily basis.

It’s amazing that my husband hung around for as long as he did. There is a part of me, however, that wants to call him a son of a bitch for walking out on me when I needed him the most. I wonder how my life would be if he had only stayed for even a short while longer. Long enough for me to get on my feet. But the man left me alone in a motel room without a dime to my name and only a few pills on the nightstand. I was sick and suffering with severe chronic pain and the beginning stages of CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome, although that definition does nothing to describe the hell of such a condition). I was also dealing with hemorrhaging. So, as you see me, you see the mess that I was, left alone by the one who told me I would never be alone again. I crawled around the floor of that motel room because I did not have the strength to stand and I cleaned it up on my hands and knees and then I left that room and entered a phase of my life that was the most painful of my life. For my husband left me, my father died less than two weeks after that, and I went to stay with my oldest brother, who put me through hell in the short four months I lived with him. I ended up back on the streets of Kalispell, Montana in a homeless shelter.

See me as I hobble along the streets of Montana because of my sickness, struggling to get to the library because it was the only place I had to go, apart from a mom and pop store and diner. I spent my days at that library, alone and afraid, searching on my old laptop for help of any kind. No one would reach out a hand to offer me assistance. People looked past me on the street. And my family was nowhere to be found. I lived this existence for two years. Only the Lord was with me, and there were plenty of times when I felt that even He had deserted me. But He had not. Instead, He gave me strength. It takes strength to survive the homeless life and I have not only survived it, I ended up thriving in the end. When I walked away from Montana and got on a bus for Illinois, I had to get rid of all of my earthly possessions for the third time except for what I could take on the bus. That took strength. Even now, I only have a few possessions. I have learned that life is more than what we have. It consists of more than people in our lives. I lived on the streets with no money, no help, no health…nothing. All I had was my faith in God. And that was all that I needed. I can say with certainty that if your trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot fail. It is absolutely impossible for you to lose when you have God as the source or your life. All of the suffering I experienced as a homeless person (and there was much) was nothing in the end compared to the grace of God. God is real and His love is all-encompassing and He is with you through all that you have to go through. I am a living witness to that fact.

See my triumph as I conquered homelessness. If you are homeless, I encourage you. I pray for you. And I want you to know that there is a way off of those streets. Don’t give up hope. That is one of the things that I had to fight when I was homeless. Hopelessness. But the Lord gave me hope. And I discovered that there was more to me than I had believed. I am strong, in the Lord and in my spirit. So, see. me. That strength can be yours, too. As you travel along with me on the journey of my life, you will pick up skills and encouragement. For I am more than those things that I have suffered. Much more. They only made me who I am. They did not define me. Nor does your suffering define you. My secret? I embrace my suffering. Oh, I cry and sometimes I yell. However, I embrace my suffering, for with it comes great strength and purpose. Keep reading my blog and you will see that purpose.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

 

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