Tonight’s group event for the kids at the emergency shelter (a Hawaiian luau) touched my heart in so many ways. In addition to the smiling faces we see and look forward to each week, I met a man, a father of a 19-month-old girl and 4-year-old boy who just came to the shelter today. His wife was back on drugs stopped paying the rent, and the sheriff came to evict their family.
As a mom with children close to the same age, I can’t imagine what he is going through, but have a strong sense he is doing everything he can. And while I can’t fathom what it feels to walk in his shoes, I can certainly empathize.
… Because I have been there.
I remember coming home and questioning why we had to move again and why our stuff was on the street. I remember shuffling from friend and family members’ houses in order to not live in our car. I remember taking a job at 14 to help put food on the table. And I remember visiting my mother who was staying at an emergency shelter years ago (we lived in different states at the time) after checking out from society for a bit due to hardship.
As I shared my testimony — in effort to let this dad know he’s not alone and that hardship can happen to any of us at any time — all I could do is say “But God” and reassure him things will get better.
This father’s heart was full, because tonight was the first time he’s seen his son smile in a long time. And my heart is overflowing because I’ve been blessed to lead this church group to connect with so many amazing families and their kids.
Each of us has a journey we’re battling behind closed doors, and if we can encourage one another — and remember that the darkest hours often come before the dawn — we can push to get through it.
The scripture that defines my life is 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 that says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed,” which is so true.
So if you’re going through something and don’t feel there’s a way out, please know there is a Savior who can make one possible.