Meet My Friend Michelle
Continued from Monday, February 7
The last "earthquake" in my life was homelessness. Because of the 3 previous earthquakes in our lives, we had wrecked our credit, and our work history, and finances were now a huge struggle for us. Although we were both working full-time jobs, we were constantly juggling bills, and after a while, it all caught up to us. We could no longer afford rent, and groceries, and utilities, and bills, and car upkeep. We eventually found ourselves, with our 2 children, in a homeless shelter. This opened our eyes to a world we hadn't even thought of before. Now we were one of "them", and we found a new passion and purpose in life, and that was to never forget that we were once there ourselves. We became actively involved in the lives of the unhoused and underserved in Toledo.
Since moving back to Youngstown, we are actively looking for ways to engage with and serve this population here in our (new) hometown. I remember people at this point asking me how in the world I could still have a relationship with God, when He had allowed so much to happen in my life. Although I had my hurts, and even anger towards God, I remember answering them that I couldn't imagine NOT having a relationship with God. He was the only thing I could cling to, when all these tremors in my life came through. Even in my anger, I knew deep down that God wasn’t “doing this to me”. He loved me through it, and was eagerly watching as my story unfolded, and all of these quakes became the cause of deep roots, deep Love, deep relationships, and a deeper, richer life. It didn’t make sense, but I felt it, and I knew it to be true.
God loved me - in spite of all this, because of all this, and through all this.
Through all of this, I learned 2 things:
1)God gave me my earthquakes so I would learn to cling to Him for stability, and to find (and trust) my own two feet when things got tough.
2) God gave me my earthquakes so I would have a special story to share. I now had a personal connection when talking to the homeless, the grieving, the addicted, the recovering, the disabled, the traumatized, the rejected, and the ones beat up by life. After being there yourself, your eyes are open in a whole new way, and there is a small flame inside you that was never there before. -