Today’s blog is a feature story from a dear lady that I have had the privilege of knowing. This is her journey to homelessness and back. I am grateful for Debra’s willingness to share a piece of her life with my readers. Homelessness is an epidemic in our country and I hope through Debra’s story, I can bring greater awareness to it. I encourage my readers to get involved with homeless ministries in your communities. Also, if you have a local crisis pregnancy center in your community, see how you can support them. Be the hands of Christ to bring the Gospel and healing to those who have lost their way.
Telling my story is long overdue and I don’t tell too many people because of judgment. I was born in a small town in West Virginia. At the time, my mom wanted to go back to work and my parents wanted to move to Connecticut. So I went to live with my grandparents when I was 6 weeks old, while my parents and siblings moved to Connecticut.
My grandparents eventually adopted me when I was 6 years old. Believe me, they tried getting me to stay with my parents but I wasn’t having it. I loved my grandparents, so don’t get me wrong, but I always felt like something was missing.
My grandparents always put me on this pedestal, and that I did no wrong; I was always afraid of letting them down. This began the pattern of me not wanting to let anyone down. When I was 18 years old, I left home to go live with my dad, step-mom, and step-siblings in Connecticut, where I met my first husband.
My husband was abusive both physically and mentally. We had together three children, two girls, and one boy. I was a good mom and love them very much. However, I lost them after my husband attempted suicide. I found him in our basement hanging. This is not a sight you ever want to witness. At this time, we have been married 10 years and it’s been hard living with this abuse with no one to help or turn to. My grandparents had passed on and my parents had their own life. I could not turn to my husband’s family, as they were very controlling.
I tried to keep my family together and make it work, but my husband was even more abusive after his suicide attempt. He attacked me while he was in the brain injury hospital and this led to a divorce, which was not an easy decision for me. I ended up with sole custody of my children to only screw it up. I met a man and he moved in with my children and me. I didn’t realize it, but he was doing drugs with his friends in my basement. My sister-in-law gained custody of my kids. I tried to fight for them, but I was just really in no state of mind after everything. After all the abuse from my ex-husband and fragmented life, it built up inside me over the years and I was mentally exhausted.
Well, after losing custody of my children, I eventually moved to Florida with the guy I lost my kids over; and that’s when I started using drugs. Everyone back in Connecticut thought that I was doing them there; I wasn’t. We lived homeless in Florida. That is when I met this nice lady, Patty Holland. She was part of a ministry who fed the homeless once a month; and, that’s how I came to know First Baptist Church.
The boyfriend that I came to Florida with went to prison. It was then that I met another man and became pregnant by him. We decided that it would be best if I had an abortion, as he already had four children that were being raised by his parents and then my three in Connecticut. However, I just couldn’t abort my baby and so I went to The Pregnancy Center in Sanford and met Andrea. God knew I needed my baby, Lexi, and that is when my life turned around. I grew up in church and had a foundation, which I believed helped me get through everything that life has brought to me. God took the things that were meant to destroy me and used them to bring me back to Himself.
God also brought a man into my life and his name is Ken. We met while we were working together at Goodwill. When I met him, Lexi, was three-years old. I married that man and I now have a husband who loves Lexi and me. He faithfully provides for both of us. I have also made a little progress with restoring my relationship with my other children and want so very much to reunite with them and pray that will someday happen. I know I can trust God with those details.
This is but a small expression of my life, I could probably write a whole book to share all that God has brought me through. God is good.
“This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.” Psalms 34:6-9