The story I am about to share is not for the purpose of boasting or for personal glory, so please do not take it as such. Rather, I am sharing it because this story has shown me the measure of how far my children and I have come in a year, and I would like it to be a story of hope for anyone who may feel discouraged in their own lives.
There's a song out there that I wish I enjoyed listening to, with lyrics that are truly fitting for this season of my life. The chorus is as follows-
"You're an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You
That you're an overcomer
You're an overcomer"
After church today, en route to our home, I had a fleeting recollection of a secret journal I had written beginning the night I took my children to stay at a local homeless shelter. Upon returning home, I opened it up to read it. I wasn't sure why I felt compelled to do so, as I didn't want to rip open an old wound, but I read my words anyway.
The first entry states:
"This is where my story has veered.
These words, though they sound somewhat optimistic, were written under a suffocating blanket of hopelessness, confusion, dismay, and uncertainty. I read them now, and see the pep talk I was attempting to give myself.
Miracles have happened. My faith sonehow remained strong, and my children and I have come so far since I wrote that entry in January. I have written about this before.
Yesterday, however, a new level of realization hit me. Yesterday, I realized that the kids and I, though still living meekly, paycheck to paycheck on faith and hope, we could give. Once upon a time, I was able to give to various people and causes much more freely, and over the last year, I have had the humbling undertaking of being a recipient instead. While I see now that it's "okay" to have or need help sometimes, I have had a yearning to be able to be back to giving.
So, I loaded up the kids, packed away some things in the van, and drive back to the St. Francis House for the first time since August. I honestly have had zero desire to drive that route again since leaving there, and yesterday, all I could think of was how much I wanted to make that trek across town.
I pulled up and opened the door to the main shelter and was greeted by many faces that I recognized and even more that I didn't. The smiles on the faces of those who knew me were beaming, and I explained why I was there. They were grateful, and we talked a bit about how the kids and I are doing. The executive director and an office manager commented on how proud they were and how great it was to see my own smiling face. Then, I said my farewell and left.
It wasn't until I was a few blocks away that it hit me- I had just given back. Up until that point I knew what I was doing, but there wasn't a solid emotional connection.
My tears weren't of pride. They were tears of thankful exhilaration as I realized that I was not in the place I was when I arrived there, needing so much, so broken, and so scared. I realized I am in a much different place, and that my prayers have been answered. Maybe not all of my prayers, but many. My tears were tears of redemption, seeing how God has turned our lives around. They were tears of release and relief, letting go of the baggage I didn't realize I still carried to our old temporary home.
I know I am not done healing. I know have a long route ahead yet. But sitting where I am now, with the sun shining in my living room and the breeze blowing my curtains, listening to Collin narrate his dinosaur play, I can the lengths I have already traveled. I feel refreshed this weekend.
If you are interested in giving to the place that helped my children and I move forward on our journey by providing us a home, here is a link with more info-