Once my husband and I had made a stand against the enemy of our souls we also had to make a stand for a lifestyle change. This meant we had to quit doing everything we had been doing to survive on the streets. For instance, we stole pretty much all of our camping supplies we had in order to live out in the elements. We would also steal our food when we ran out of food stamps, which didn’t last very long because we didn’t have a way to refrigerate food so what we bought was mostly stuff that had to be eaten right away. We also stole to get money for our drugs.
Unlike most of the other homeless people that we lived around who would “fly” a sign (hold a sign asking for money), we got our money a little quicker with less humiliation unless we got busted for shop lifting. Then it was really humiliating.
I tried flying a sign a couple of times but I just couldn’t take the humiliation. I mean after all, who wants to stand there holding a sign while people drive by without even looking at you? Who wants to stand there and take verbal abuse from people yelling obscenities at you and sometimes even throwing things at you? It was awful! I would rather take my chances getting caught shop lifting than standing there like I’m invisible or feel like garbage as people just pass you by like your not even there.
Anyway, all these things took planning and time. I would spend most of the day planning my shop lifting sprees and then when we executed the plan usually without a hitch, then it would take time to hook up with the drug dealer and get the dope for the night. This went on day after day, night after night. So when we quit doing the dope and got right with God we had all kinds of time on our hands.
We had to fill that time with something positive or we would get bored. Being bored is not good for addicts of any kind. What we started doing was having Bible study at our camp. We invited some of our homeless family and a couple of them would come at first, but then pretty soon more and more kept coming.
We would end up having worship and Bible study for most of the morning. It was wonderful.
We kept hearing from different people how they loved the Lord but they could never step foot in a church because they felt they would be shunned or looked down upon and these broken people didn’t need that. Not long after the Bible studies began, we decided to start having church on Sundays for the homeless. We all enjoyed hearing God’s Word.
After we began going to a Church of our own (which is another story), our church family started coming out to our camp and meeting people that we lived around and loving on them. Essentially, this became the church’s outreach program. God used our homelessness to be a bridge to the body of Christ.
I shared all that to say this, God grace was abound in our life at that time (it still is) and it was so evident. I abused drugs for a good 20 years where I had grown up and went to school and learned how to party. I would have never been able to get clean and stay clean in this town without GOd’s grace. It (drugs & alcohol) was in our face everyday, but Jesus was even bigger and His presence surrounded and kept us for His glory. We continued to be homeless for about two months, then we were able to get our own place and we stayed clean that whole time.
2 Cor. 12:9 (AMP)
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)
He pitched a tent over me! My Redeemer Lives!