Village 434 Testimony

 "Just over a year ago my daughter and I left an extremely unhealthy home situation having only $200 to my name, no credit cards, no car, no income, my daughter’s cat, and only one small suitcase each.  Due to having very disabling rheumatoid arthritis and several other medical conditions that kept me from working, my daughter and I spent the next seven months moving a total of seven times to the homes of family, friends, a hotel-like situation, and finally a studio apartment at a total stranger’s home, before being able to finally obtain our own housing.  A few times during this season, we were less than 24 hours from entering a shelter, or ending up in our car if they didn’t have room for us.  My daughter was separated from her emotional support animal for several months during this time as well.  I have never personally known anyone who was homeless or even threatened with it, and I certainly had never once anticipated that we could be faced with this sort of situation in life.  Frankly, a year later, I still have difficulty processing all that has happened this past year. 

Having been a Christ-follower since my youth, I have known God’s presence throughout these past months, but for many reasons did not really believe he would provide for our needs quite as extensively as he did.  He truly shocked both of us with an outpouring of his tangible provision right at each moment of need throughout this past year and has continually touched our hearts in deep ways with his gentle, loving care.  It has grown both of us to a much deeper level of faith and trust in him.

A friend of mine connected me with someone at GCC last summer when we were just about to face going to a shelter.  I wasn’t sure my daughter would even be able to handle being in a shelter environment.  I was at a total loss for what to do, and was utterly depleted in all ways.  A GCC family ended up opening their doors to us and for several weeks provided that last place we needed before we found housing.   I tear up even today because they extended such generosity and care to us even though we had never before met them. I truly don’t know what we would have done without them.  They ended up connecting us with the GCC community, including Village 434, mostly through a group text.  At this point, even though I knew God’s presence, I was totally totally exhausted and overwhelmed by our situation.  I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails!  The body of Christ just surrounded us with support!  At one point I remember sending a group text to the ladies that just cried out from  exhaustion. In response, I received such encouragement through tangible, spiritual and emotional support that I felt like Moses when he could no longer hold up his arms in the battle and he literally had men hold up his arms for him until they won!  The community of believers around us, most of which we hadn’t even met, truly held up our arms and got us through the worst of it toward victory!  

 I have so many, many stories of his faithfulness and provision that I could write a book about this past year alone. But know that even though the last year has been extremely difficult, bouncing around from place to place for months, so many times with less than a tank’s worth of gas money or little food money in the bank, with very few personal belongings to set up house with, our loving God has richly provided for us.  We always had a place to stay, we never ran out of money, we were given a car, and provided with car repairs when needed, two different safe and loving places for the cat to stay when she couldn’t be with us, birthday and Christmas gifts and other needed provision for my daughter. He provided an apartment when I had no income, everything we needed to set up an apartment from multiple different sources with no doubles of anything, trucks and manpower to move donated items into our new apartment (in the rain, no less!), and even the emotional and spiritual support we needed to get through. I can not tell you how many times I quietly prayed,  “Father, we need toilet paper!” or some other similar item.. and He provided it, many times through a source that didn’t even know our specific need!   

Unquestionably, he has touched us by providing for the “big needs.” But I have to say, he has intimately touched our hearts through the “little things” that helped us know that he really knows us and cares for even the small cries of our hearts as well.  As an example, at one point my daughter and I realized that we had been so consumed with the huge struggles in life that we hadn’t taken the time to just relax and have fun.  We thought maybe something as simple as a movie out would provide a happy break from all that was going on.  Wouldn’t you know, soon after we said this, my daughter won a contest at the library and “randomly” received a gift card for the Venue!  When he provides for such small details, you know he is intimately acquainted with us and loves us at a far deeper level than we realize.

At this point in life, we are in a much better place, but still aren’t through the battle.  Thanks be to great God we are housed and I am finally getting the medical help I need to begin to improve.  Many parts of life are in more order, but I am still not well enough to hold a steady job due to the severity of my condition. Since approval for disability has not come through yet, our living situation, financial situation, the stability of our vehicle, etc,  are still quite unstable and the immediate future is still unpredictable.  However, due to experiencing God’s hand on our life this past year, I can now confidently say God has us in the palm of his hand and we will be okay no matter what the future holds.  GCC, Village 434, family, friends, distant relatives, and total strangers have all pointed us to God this past year.  He has truly drawn us close and we have grown into a much deeper relationship with him.   Because of the hands and feet of Christ came around us in our struggle, we will never be the same, and we will most assuredly be a stronger offering of his love and care for others as we move forward beyond this season.

I recognize that we personally have had such a gift of community and Godly people surrounding us through all this, and we are beyond thankful!  But it causes me to contemplate those who don’t?  After a year of seeing his hand on the details of our life, I look around and find that I cry for the others out there who don’t have relationship with our great God or maybe have little real community around them.  I truly can’t imagine what we would have done without those two things!  After what we have been through, God has set a burning in my heart for others in need. I can’t tell you enough how much individuals and families in crisis need the tangible hands and feet of God to come alongside them, even in the small things.  I can honestly say that many of you were precisely that for us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!  Even if we aren’t truly through it yet, I look forward to being able to do the same for others!"

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