A year from homeless

It’s been almost a year now.

We’d known the couple for several years. We used to eat breakfast with them on Saturdays now and again. Outside under the bridge. It wasn’t at their camp, but it was the camp where a neighboring church brought eggs, biscuits, and juice. All were invited. Their own camp was a little further down the road, a little deeper in the woods, but still within walking distance.

We’d had conversations and prayers and laughter together. We’d sit together occasionally at Outdoor Church at Manna House.

But a year ago, we helped them move out of the woods. Into an apartment! It was a big deal. They’d lived inside before, of course, but it had been several years.

People had donated a bed and pots and food. And Fran sent a Bible. We stood in a circle in their new living room and prayed before we walked away, wondering how long it would last.

It’s lasted almost a year. And it’s still going strong.

I asked the wife a couple Saturdays ago at Outdoor Church, Is there anything you miss about living outside, anything at all?” I thought she might miss the open air or constant sounds of birds or the camaraderie of communal living.

But she was adamant and quick with her answer: Nothing! Not a thing! She’s been there, done that, and doesn’t want to go back.

So I pray she never has to. Some people are homeless by choice; others by default due to addictions or mental disease or bad luck. Homelessness is always complex and it’s never easy.

But breaking free of homelessness isn’t easy either.

Yet my friends may have done it. It makes me happy to see they’ve survived this first year.

Lord, bless them with many more to come.


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Any anniversaries you’re celebrating this month? Please share in the comments.

41 thoughts on “A year from homeless

  1. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, Happy Anniversary to your friends! May God continue to bless their home & their lives! And may we each come to realize the complexity of this problem. I so appreciate you sharing this & opening our eyes a bit more.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Joanne. Homelessness really is such a complex issue. I think I’d pictured it too black and white a few years ago, but now I see differently. No wonder we need such a wise God to figure everything out!

  2. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    Lisa, I am so proud of your friends—and of you for stepping out of your comfort zone to love them! May God continue to equip them as they walk this unfamiliar path of stability. Their story is inspiring on several levels, and I’m really glad you shared it today! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Susan. I pray that they’ll continue to be stable as well. It’s such a blessing to see someone make it through. They’ve had lots of people helping them; I am probably the least.

  3. Kim Adams Morgan

    Yes, Happy Anniversary. God Bless you for loving them where they were, but not leaving them there. This is one of my worst fears; that a crisis will happen one day (of course I always think medical) and we will end up on the street. I think people don’t realize how close and how easy it can be to go from comfortable and safe, to living with nothing, no matter how much you start out with.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re so right, Kim. Some of these people have been very successful (by our standards) in their past lives, but things befell them that they couldn’t control, for one reason or another. It’s sad to see a college professor sleeping on a bench and homeless after having a nervous breakdown, for instance. May God continue to redeem!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jerralea. My part in helping them has been very minimal, but I do feel blessed to know them and share a piece of their story. The husband keeps telling me he’s going to write a book about his life story. I’d love to read that!

  4. Sel

    Thanks so much for sharing this friend! It warms my heart to hear of someone breaking free of a very difficult situation. Praise God for His provision, your friends, and the love He pours into your heart that you share with so many!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know you do share in celebrating successful stories, Selwyn. I wish we could see even more! I wish it didn’t always take so long for those to break free of addictions and destructive lifestyles, as I know you see so much of. Thankful for our awesome Lord who can do the impossible though!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your prayer for them, Barbara. I join you in it. They’re both getting older now and I know it would be even harder on them to live outside again, but hopefully they’ll never have to. I really can’t imagine it at any age….

  5. June

    What a wonderful anniversary to celebrate, Lisa! May God continue to keep, bless and enable your friends.

    Have you read Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski ? It’s an amazing account, I highly recommend it. (It’s not a new release, I read it several years ago)

    Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring story – have a blessed day!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate you sharing that book suggestion, June. I’ve never read Under the Overpass, but I just added it to my wishlist on Amazon. They didn’t have a Kindle version or I would have ordered the sample pronto. Maybe my library will have it; I’ll check there too. Thanks, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Making new friends with these delightful people has been some of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. I didn’t know what I’d been missing out on!

  6. floyd

    Oh man. That’s great news… I’m praying for that couple. Thanks for sharing your ministry, Lisa. So often we tend to like to check folks off of our lists like they’re grocery items, but each one is a loved creation of our Father. Thanks also for that reminder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, they are each as special to God as we are. And I know he wants us to view each other as he views us. I’m FAR from reaching that goal, but I do rejoice with my friends when good blessings like these come their way. Thanks for your prayers for them, Floyd.

  7. Kelly Chripczuk

    What a gift, Lisa and what a joy that it’s lasting – it shows a strength in community that help extends beyond initial contact and builds a context for permanent change. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re so right, Kelly: there is definitely strength in community. This couple has an army of people behind them, supporting them with physical help but also with prayers and spiritual strength. It’s been encouraging to see!

  8. Mary Geisen

    I loved the conviction of your friends when they firmly stated that they didn’t miss anything at all about living outside. May God continue to shine favor on them so they experience many more anniversaries. Blessings!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think we too often think “this could never happen to me.” But we all could be a few steps closer to it than we realize. 🙁 Glad you came out of your horrible season intact, Dawn!

  9. Betsy de Cruz

    What a beautiful story. Outdoor church sounds like a great ministry. When I was in college, I participated in a homeless ministry, but that was the last time I was involved with a group of homeless people I saw regularly. One of the men had been a star football player and had even written a book. It was an eye-opening experience. May the Lord bless your friends as they continue on their journey.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It has definitely been an eye-opening experience for me, too. In good ways and hard ways. The stories we hear are often so heart-breaking, but also amazing in how people can continue to hold on to hope in the midst of dark times. Thanks for sharing, Betsy.

  10. Anita Ojeda

    What a wonderful anniversary! Please let them know that I prayed for them today–thanking God for their anniversary and praying that their ‘inside life’ and especially their life with Christ will continue.

  11. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    What an inspiring story of overcoming! We take so much for granted, don’t we? I know I grumble about little things at times only to be convicted about how much I have truly been blessed with. May we all remember to count our blessings and pray for those who struggle.

    Blessings to you and yours, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, when I complain about the tiniest things (luxuries, usually!), I realize how spoiled I sound next to my friends who have so very little. This is my prayer too, Heather: “May we all remember to count our blessings and pray for those who struggle.” Thank you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve definitely been blessed by expanding my friendship horizons with these unique people. I keep discovering how God made us all so different and yet so alike.

  12. Laura Thomas

    Wow- what an amazing anniversary! Thanks for sharing this… it gives hope to so many, and challenges us all to never give up on ANYONE. Bless you in your ministry! Stopping by from Tell His Story…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re exactly right, Laura–we should never give up on anybody because God doesn’t! When I first met this couple a few years back, I wouldn’t have guessed that they would be among the first I knew to make it into housing.

  13. Pingback: The Random Five – For Your Soul | Days & Thoughts

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I take my home for granted, among many other things. 🙁 But when I do remember, I am SO grateful for it! Such a blessing to have a covering for our head and a place to keep our valuable “stuff.”

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