Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
The scripture speaks about those Christians which defeated the evil one through their unwavering faith in Christ; how? By the Blood of Jesus, and through their own testimony, and the fact they did not love their lives more than they loved Christ.
I’ve never really “loved” my life, tbh. To love something means you’d die for it. Paul said, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” And elsewhere, scripture states “if you love your life, you’ll lose it; if you hate your life, you’ll keep it.” That was a running joke between me and my grandfather. He kept waiting eagerly for the shores of glory; I guess we are all a dark bunch. I kept telling him “the more you want to die, the longer you’ll live, so you might as well start enjoying your life.”
But that’s not the point of this post. I realized that I’ve talked a lot about the dark side of homelessness. Like many things, I tend to skew to the negative or to the shadows. It’s not my intention, I promise. If you met me in person, you’d say I’m the most bubbly and optimistic person you’d ever met. But that’s often the case with “happy” people. That happiness masks a lot of hurt.
Today, I want to share with you some amazing things God has done for us since we’ve been homeless. I want to share with you some miracles, even if they’re small ones. I want you to know that God can and still does perform them every day. We set out on a journey in January 2021, to do things God’s way. To fully surrender to his will. To live as the apostles and believers of the early church who came before us.
And then we ended up homeless lol. In March 2022. But I believe it must be part of God’s plan, to get us to where and who he wants us to be. A home is only part of the picture, though I admit it is often (okay usually always) the biggest part of the picture for me. I’d be lying to you if I told you my faith never wavers, that I never get frustrated with God, that I never feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. I’d be flat out lying to you if I told you that I don’t ever question this, wonder if it’s punishment or something, wonder if I’m just destined to never have a home again.
But God is faithful. And he is well able to take care of us. And I think many people forget that; on the rat wheel of life, doing things society’s way, doing things according to the world’s systems, we forget that God cares more for us than the sparrows, and that he is our provider, protector, guide, and sustainer. We trust him to get a 30% discount at a department store and call that a “blessing”, as if our God is not the mover of mountains and parter of seas.
I’m hoping that by sharing these testimonies, it will help us overcome. But I’m also hoping it opens your eyes to the power of God, and how much he really cares for you as well.
Testimony #1: The Kindness of Strangers
Since we’ve been homeless, we’ve encountered kindness and help from so many people we don’t even know.
- Angela, in Navarre, FL, who bought my son an ice cream cone while he was in the middle of a meltdown, even though she herself is a struggling single mom.
- The young man at Dough Ivey’s Automotive in Easley, FL, who fixed our flat tire for free, on a Sunday, even though they were closed. I didn’t have anything to pay him at the time, and I keep forgetting, but I definitely want to send him something. He had beautiful blue eyes and wore glasses, and was there working on his wife’s car. Thank you so much.
- The group of fraternity bros at Orange Beach who helped us (literally carried) The Boy back to the car after a meltdown on the beach. These guys were so sweet and helpful. We affectionately refer to them as “The Cotton Bayou Boys”. If ya’ll find my sunglasses, please lemme know lol.
- Micheal, Patti, Kevin & Katie, Mallory, and so many others (if I neglected to mention you here, I’m sorry) who generously gave to my family in order to help us. Because of them, we were able to stay in hotels instead of the car. Kevin has also shown me a lot of Christlike love and concern at a time I really needed it, and I’m forever grateful for that.
Testimony #2: Little (big) Blessings
These may not be big to you, but they were certainly big to me at the time. (And still are).
- The time I spent our last $120 on a hotel for the night, only to be aggressively harassed by the guy in the room next to us because The Boy was being loud (he’s autistic and had been cramped up in a car for days, of course he was loud!). I went to the manager of the hotel to ask for a refund, but we’d already been there an hour, so he couldn’t. The system wouldn’t even allow him to. I explained to him that I couldn’t stay there because we didn’t feel safe, and I was afraid for my son’s safety. He offered to move us to another room, but there was no way I could’ve slept after that. This beautiful soul opened up the register and paid me back the cash I’d given him, plus the change. I sobbed. I don’t like crying in front of strangers, but I’d already started before he helped us; I couldn’t stop once he did. That money was everything we had left, and I’d spent it that night just so The Boy could shower and we’d have some relief from the car. That man will never know how much that meant to me. After he gave us the money back, we were able to get The Boy dinner and I think we ultimately ended up driving somewhere else to rest for the night. You didn’t have to do that. Thank you so much. I thank God for you always, and I pray he blesses your business and family.
- The time God gave me a word of knowledge for a young man in Alabama. It showed me that God can still use me even if I’m not…he showed me he can use me wherever I am. Wherever He is.
- All the homeless people we’ve encountered and have been able to help or minister to. That has done so much for our souls. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to other people. That kept us going. It seemed like everywhere we went, God had a person appointed for us to minister to. Although, I’d argue it was really God working on us, cause he could’ve used anyone to help those people.
Testimony #3: The Day
We’d been sleeping in the car for about 20 consecutive days. We were all drained and exhausted. The dogs were fed up. The Boy was tired and cranky and sick of being cooped up in the car. My mom was at her breaking point. And so was I. We’d already pawned the last valuable things we had in order to buy enough gas to get back to the rest stop. We’d been staying at a rest stop in Louisiana for about three days. I kept eagerly awaiting my paycheck, but it hadn’t arrived yet. We had some snacks in the car, but we were running out. We had just enough gas to get back into town and *do something*. We just didn’t know what to do. My son was hungry. I had a total breakdown. I sobbed before The Lord because I was so upset that I was putting my child through this. At this point, no one knew we were homeless. No one knew we’d been living in the car. We were out of money. Out of everything.
I found the Tiffany’s earring back to the earrings we’d pawned the day before. I convinced my mom we should drive back into town, using the only gas we had, to get the earring. I convinced the man to give us anything for it. He gave me $2 lol. My mom was upset; we’d spent the last bit of gas we had to go back there. And now, there we were. Sitting in the hot car, no snacks left to feed The Boy. All of us miserable. We had two choices: sit there and let it all fall apart, or go into town. I wrestled with the decision, but I finally decided the best thing for us to do was to go into town, find the nearest police station, and ask for help. I couldn’t let my kid suffer anymore, and I obviously wasn’t able to help him on my own. My mom and I argued. It was the lowest I’d felt the whole time we were on the road.
We drove into town and agreed to stop at a McDonald’s to use the wifi to look up resources. We argued more. My mom’s faith was wavering; understandably so. I tried with all my might to faith like I’d never faith’d before. But I was terrified, too. I felt like Job, right after he’d lost everything. We wept because we knew that asking for help meant risking losing The Boy. Still, the Holy Spirit kept prompting me “write”.
Before I went into the McDonald’s, I prayed several things. I prayed for God to show my mom and everyone else that he’s real and he’s still able to do miracles. I prayed that he would take care of my family. I surrendered to his will, knowing that even if I lost my child and everything we had, I would still follow Jesus. I prayed for God to do what he does.
I didn’t want to write about any of this until *after* it was over. You know, after we’d gotten a house. After we’d paid back all our debt. After we’d become a “success story”. But still, I heard “write.” So I went into that McDonald’s to charge my laptop while The Boy slept, knowing it may be the last time I would see him. I took a risk, emailed my wonderful supervisor to ask if I could have my paycheck early. (In my family, you’re taught not to rock the boat at work, or risk losing your job in any way.) Then I started writing a post. I started it off, “This is the face of homelessness. Me. My face.”
In the two hours while the boy slept, my feed was flooded with support. I received my paycheck early, along with a huge show of support from my supervisor. It made me feel so relieved. I felt better, that to me was a miracle by itself. I thought, “okay, we can make it, we can be okay now.” And if that wasn’t enough, people kept offering to help us. At first, I turned down everyone. Actually, I was dead set on not accepting anything I hadn’t earned. But then we decided as a family if people want to help us, we shouldn’t turn it down. Instead, we should use what we’ve been given to survive, but also to help others.
So that’s what we did. The next day we were able to check into a hotel and shower for the first time in 21 days (unless you count rinsing off at the beach water spigots). That same day, we were able to bless two homeless people with gift cards.
That’s the day that changed my life. Well, it changed the way I communicate with God…and it changed my ideas about what he’s capable of. I was blown away by how he orchestrated everything and took care of us using the kindness of total strangers. It was beyond what I could’ve ever expected or anticipated. It’s funny too, because before I walked into the McDonald’s, my mom said “what do you expect, some total stranger’s gonna walk off the street and hand you money?” And in effect, that’s exactly what happened lol.
The look on her face and the relief and elation we both felt when I walked out of there with food and cold drinks for all of us, it was amazing. The baby would be able to eat, and that was what we were most worried about. I actually should reflect on this day more, because it had a tremendous effect in building my faith. I didn’t post in order to get anything, and I expected maybe some people would offer to help in that casual “oh if I can do anything lemme know” kind of way, but very rarely do people ever mean that lol. (In my experience, anyway).
Over the past few months, my faith has significantly tanked. It’s good for me to recall these blessings to remember what God is capable of. Hopefully it’ll have the same effect for you.
Testimony #4: The Weekend
About two weeks ago, I was really struggling with our next steps. We were hoping to find a rental around here somewhere, but as usual, struggling. I had a bit of a breakdown and just started crying out to God, because more than anything, I just need direction. Does he want us to stay here? Does he want us to look elsewhere? It’s always so difficult for me to know what the right decision is, and I’m extremely fussy about money, so I don’t ever want to waste our resources by staying in a place there’s not a chance of getting a house in. (Or if it’s not where God wants us to be.)
I was sitting on the bed sobbing and asking God to show me, to help our family, because I was SO worried about the coming weekend. Hotel rates rise on the weekend, and this particular hotel is upwards of $120 per night during the weekends, but only about $60 per night on weekdays. I knew our cash supply was running low, and it was freaking me out. I cried out to God, and a second later, I had a ding on my phone. Someone I don’t even know had sent me a gift through mutual connections I’ve never met IRL. Then, this person also offered to help us secure a place once we find one.
Later that night or the next, it was time to renew the hotel room again. I was not looking forward to paying for the weekend, because I knew it would take way more than I wanted to spend. But I was grateful for the gift we’d been sent which could help us pay for it. Just had to bite the bullet.
However, when my mom came back from the front desk, she told me we’d already been paid up until Sunday! The most expensive nights of the week had somehow already been paid for! The two nights I was most worried about, the Lord took care of. The clerk at the counter said, “um, how much further out do you want to extend it? You’re already paid up until Sunday.” Praise God. You might think a hotel room being paid up for two extra nights is no big deal; it’s only a couple hundred dollars, right? But what meant so much to me is that God knew how worried and stressed and anxious I was about those SPECIFIC two nights — so he took care of them. Thank you, Jesus. He cares about what we care about.
Now, friend, I can’t tell you why God answers certain prayers when he does and not others. I can’t explain or unravel why he waits 20 years to fulfill one promise, but answers some other prayer at the drop of a hat. I can’t explain why your situation hasn’t been resolved yet. But I can tell you that God is willing and able to fix whatever it is you’ve got going on. Even if it doesn’t look like how you thought it should. I am learning that sometimes delays and denials are blessings in disguise, designed to re-route us to where we need to go, and more importantly, to who we need to be.
I believe God has been making provision for us this entire time until we get to the Promise; that is, the life and home he has waiting for us. My faith is weak often; it definitely has been this week. I didn’t even want to get out of bed today (but thank God for a bed to not want to get out of!) Looking back at all these things God has done for us so far (and this is just a short list, it doesn’t even include all the little tiny things, like when we’d get lost without GPS and we’d somehow find what we need when we needed it when we were at our lowest) gives me hope that we will be alright. I just have to keep leaning on him rather than myself.
Thank you for reading ❤
Just want to add a little disclaimer here, please forgive me if my dates and details aren’t 100% accurate. This has all been such a blur and so stressful, so you can imagine my memory is not at its strongest. But these are all actual things God did for us, and I hope they’ll be encouraging to you.