April 21, 2010

Weeping May Endure For 467 Nights, But Joy.......

Finally, the breakthrough in our situation the children and I have been praying for has come. Today we will move into our new place, a four bedroom apartment of our own! After sharing one room and sometimes the same bed since March 2009, we will be able to stretch out and breathe. It's still hard to believe.

I mentioned in my last post that God had done some amazing things last week that I wanted to share with you. Where do I start?

Okay, so the kids and I had been staying in a hotel for the past seven weeks. Last week, I ran out of money and the child support that Jeff paid this month, was swiped by the system down here because they're giving us cash assistance. Last Wednesday was checkout day for us again at the hotel, but unlike the other days, I couldn't make a new reservation, so I packed up all of our stuff and loaded up the car.

Now, just a few days before this, on Friday of the previous week, Allentown Housing Authority called me in and had me do the interview and fill out the paperwork for our apartment that they said would be ready in three weeks. So finally there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We had come so far and made it so close and right at the end, the last three weeks of the journey, it looked like we could possibly end up in our car. I didn't have a plan or a clue, no idea what we were going to do. But something told me, that the car wasn't part of God's plan.

My counselor at the shelter said that she would ask her supervisors if we could return to the shelter just until our place was ready since we were so close. But she let me know on Wednesday afternoon that we had been denied. I understood. The shelter is a place for women and children who are presently in danger and escaping their abusive situations. That was not the case for us. They had already let us come and stay longer than most residents get to stay and we weren't in danger then. I thanked her anyway and told her it was alright.

We were going to be okay for that night because a friend said that he would pay for the stay for another night and he did. Later that day after I picked up the kids and squished them in amongst all of our stuff that was in the car, I got a call from a new friend from church. She was actually the mother of one of the kids in Solomon's class and I'd seen her most mornings since September when we dropped the kids off at school. We had never had the opportunity to talk until about two Sundays before. I had gone into the nursery at church to nurse Emmanuel on Easter Sunday and she was in there working.

We started talking and things got around to our situation and she offered her home to me so that I  could cook meals for the kids and we exchanged numbers before I left. Well this particular afternoon, last Wednesday around 5:30 she called me, right after I began to cry from the weight of it all. She invited me to come out to the prayer group that night and told me not to worry, the hotel would be paid for. I met her at the church and she took me to her group. After a nice evening of fellowship, she and her husband, bought dinner for us and gave me the money to pay for another week at the hotel.

When I didn't know what we were going to do, where we were going to go or where the money was going to come from, just like that, from two new friends, God had again made a way.

The next day, which was last Thursday, I had an interview that came through my friend that paid for our extra night at the hotel the night before. The woman I met with was very nice, she explained the position and environment to me and told me that if I wanted it, the job was mine. Hallelujah! Just like that, I had a job. So much easier than the many months I spent looking and sending out resumes only to never get a response.
God was on a roll.

After I left the interview, and before I poured more power steering fluid in my car, I checked my voicemail and returned a few phone calls. The first one was to Allentown Housing. The representative that I met with the previous week, told me that our apartment would be ready the upcoming Wednesday, in one week instead of three. I couldn't believe it! God had supplied the money for one more week at the hotel and that was exactly all that we needed! God was really showing off now!

So to recap, I ran out of money to pay for the hotel. God supplied the money through two new friends.
Through one of those friends I had an interview and got a job.
That same day, Allentown Housing said our new place would be ready in a week.

Now, on to the car. About two weeks ago, the car suddenly started making a loud dinosaur like noise when I made a turn and my steering got stiff, making it almost impossible to turn at all. When I took it to the mechanic, he put some steering fluid in it and told me to get power steering fluid for leaks and that should take care of it. Well, it didn't take care of it. It was as if my power steering pump had a hole in the bottom. I'd pour it in and it would drain out way before I got to where I was going.

So I took it back to him. He looked at it again and said that it was the rack and pinion. Come again....my what? It was busted and I would need to get it replaced. I said, that it sounded like a big problem. He said it was and would cost about $400 to get fixed. I asked him if it was safe to drive it like it was, he said yes, but the fluid would keep leaking out. Oh, well. I bought bottle after bottle of power steering fluid and would pour some in every time I was going somewhere.

In any event, my mom had sent me some money to help us out, so I was took the car to get fixed last Saturday. I went to the shop, prepared to painfully fork over $400. The shop called me about an hour after I took it in and told me that the car was ready. I was surprised because he said it would take several hours to fix. It turned out it wasn't the rack and thing-ion after all. I asked him how did they do it so fast? I don't even remember what the guy told me the actual problem was. What I do remember him saying was, "It's $50." What?!!! I think I had spent $50 in steering fluid, believing I couldn't afford to get it fixed sooner. I was ecstatic!

God had hit it out of the park on that one.

So the money for the hotel on Wednesday.
A job on Thursday.
Word on Thursday that our place would be ready on Wednesday.
Car repaired on Saturday for $350 less than I was originally told.

The feeling I had was surreal. I couldn't believe that so many good things had happened in rapid succession for us. Every single need met - boom boom boom!

I did tell the kids about the job, but I didn't tell them about the apartment. I wanted to surprise them. We have continued to pray for a place to live. Solomon even asked me last night (Tuesday) before we prayed, if we were ever going to get a place to live where we could stay and not move again. I told him that we would, that's why we had to keep praying and asking God for it. We've been praying for this for so long. They know that Wednesday is our usual check out day and they know I don't have the money to pay for any more days at the hotel.

I told them we have to trust and believe God. I asked them if God had ever let us down yet? They said no. I reminded them of how we have always had food to eat, gas in the car and a place to sleep. They named all the places we've lived in the past 15 months. I reassured them that God would do it again. We would just have to wait and see what God was going to do and how He was going to do it. It is all part of our adventure and we'd see where God would take us on the adventure next.

Today I will meet with the landlord to sign the lease, give the deposit and get the key. I feel like a bride on her wedding day. I'm going to pick up the kids after school and tell them we're going to look at another apartment. I know they'll wonder and ask why I have keys to this apartment. I'll tell them the landlord let me have them to look at the place. Then we'll look around and I'll ask them what they think (hopefully they'll like it). What I can't wait to see is the look on their precious faces as I tell them, "We're home. This is our new home." I gotta make sure I get batteries for the camera, because it's going to be a moment I want to capture.

There were moments when my humanity got the better of me and I got frustrated, tired and even mad at how things were going and vented at God. There were times that I felt like I was losing my grip and felt like giving up and letting go. I felt like I was breaking. Like the words to a song I know, "I almost gave up, I felt like I just couldn't take life anymore...but God held me close so I wouldn't let go. God's mercy kept me close, so I wouldn't let go."

My Father knows my heart and He knows that all my eggs are and have always been in one basket - His. This week, God spoke to the wind and the waters, and calmed the storm and raging sea. This week, God has given me rest from the journey that began over a year ago on our exodus from a life of abuse, violence and heart breaking pain.

I know there will be more trials to come, Jesus promised that. But I also know it will be alright because this test has strengthened me, adding on to the strength I got from enduring 10 years of abuse, while I believed God to turn that situation around. I don't know what it is yet, but God is getting me dieseled for something. But for now, we have crossed over to a new season at last.

"It's a new season, its a new day. Fresh anointing is coming my way. It's a season of power and prosperity. It's a new season, coming to me." Israel Houghton

"I Almost Let Go"
by Kurt Carr

I almost let go.
I felt like I just couldn't take life anymore.
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down.
But God held me close, so I wouldn't let go.
God's mercy kept me, so I wouldn't let go.

I almost gave up.
I was right at the edge of a breakthrough but couldn't see it
The devil really had me;
but Jesus came and grabbed me,
And He held me close,
So I wouldn't let go.
God's mercy kept me,
so I wouldn't let go.

So I'm here today because God kept me.
I'm alive today,
only because of His grace.
Oh, He Kept me,
God Kept me,
He kept me,
So I wouldn't let go.

I almost Let go.
I felt like I just couldn't take life any more,
My problems had me bound,
depression weighed me down,
God held me close
So I wouldn't let go.
God's mercy kept me,
so I wouldn't let go.

So I'm here today because God kept me.
I'm alive today, only because of His grace.
Oh, He Kept me, God Kept me, He kept me, So I wouldn't let go.