Friday, February 19, 2010

An Insight into Homelessness

This is an email that I received from a woman that has recently become homeless. I met her at a retreat where I spoke last year: I think it is a helpful insight into some of the reasons that people become homeless and a picture into some of their experiences. It is quite moving, so let I encourage you to let the writings touch your heart, like they did mine:

A friend and I have a weekly check in where we talk about "God sightings". I have had many of them in surprising ways since I began this journey of faith and a deeper place with God than I have ever been before. I adopted a theme song when I began to face the brain tumor issues and all that happened in the months after I met you. The song is called "Christ or Else I Die" And the chorus "give me Christ or else I die, echoed in my heart, day after day during the worst suffering I've ever had. I was grieved on every side but could say I was not cast down or ever out of the mind of God.

You told me my life would be turned around and it certainly was. I kept my testimony under extreme fire working for the State and when at last was more than I could bare, the Lord released me to go. I literally fled and he has taken care of me, while stretching my faith. Today, was a day that was tougher than usual but I had a medical appointment at Centro de Barrio a clinic for homeless folks. In the midst of hunkering behind a book to avoid looking at other people in dire straights, a man of color stood up and began to sing. What an exquisite voice, truly breath taking but more than anything the message was stunning. He sang a gospel song about the faithfulness of Jesus and that his eye is always on you, whether you stand or fall. He sang that I know he loves me, and he is with me every minute of the day, and he looked at us all and said "he loves you so much" Tears were rolling down my face and all 30 people in the waiting room were abolutely silent the entire time he sang. We applauded loudly--the entire waiting room.... and he changed the atomsphere.

It occurred to me this old African American on disaibilty and inpoverished was a faithful servant of the Lord. Later that day running errands and aware of my how alone I am, how betrayed by my workplace, I turned the radio on just in time to hear Nicole Mullins belting out I KNOW MY REDEEMED LIVES>>> HE LIVES... and it reminded me of the reading of Job, and Jobs confession "I know my redeemed lives and I shall yet see him!" I have long said, Job is my hero.

There was a God sighting the day I said, Oh Lord, I want a cup of coffee so BAD... then I saw the Car insurance company accross the street and forgot about the coffee remembering I needed to give them my change of locations. I walked in and the receptionist said "Can I get you a cup of coffee--not only that she served it on a silver platter with cream and sugar--a nice large cup freshly made and hot." Not a big deal, but the fact that I had asked God for coffee less than 5 minutes before demonstrated that his eye is on the sparrow and he can make a way=even for an extravagance.

Another homeless friend told me a lady in dire need of 25 cents asked her for a quarter, it was ALL she had to her name. She said the Lord told her to give it and it was tough but she did. The lady gave her 10 cents in exchange. So she had 10 cents and then 5 mintues later got out at a bus stop to change busses, sat down and there was a quarter so she had 35 cents which was to her a major God sighting because she could get two bus transfers with that. Our lives are pared down to very simple things.

I'm in transitional housing and my case worker is a believer who said "Write what God has done for you because many other women afraid to leave abusive situations need to know that God can and will provide what I call "bread for the journey"

I'm going to look into starting a blog. Yes, I have learned so much about homelessness these last 2 months. I had an MPA before but I feel what I learned about this population from joining them has opened my eyes to many things I did not understand. To start with I am amazed how many of them have profound faith in God and love the Lord. This, in some cases makes them the familiy reject and has resulted in several of them being homeless. Meanwhile, ministers come in and talk about our bad decisions, like Job's comforters not understanding that we, particularly the women, did not all end up here because we are are all alcoholics, drugs addicts and mentally ill although we may have those issues. Many of us are here because someone sinned against us.

There is much to say about God's faithfulness and some misguided policies and assumptions about homeless people. We are also, as a group far more open to hearing about God's love and faithfulness than anyone might imagine. And we need things like small bars of soap, toilet paper... toothpast. I think those wet handy wipes are an excellent thing, I gave some to another homeless lady trying to clean up for a maid job interview and she said it helped immensely.


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