Or: What I Learned from Homelessness
If you’ve been keeping up with me in person, on Facebook, or here on my blog for any time at all, you know that this summer was a season of change for me. July 15 marked the end of my 12-year marriage, which was a long time coming. Even though it was what I wanted by that point, it was still an emotionally difficult thing to go through.
Since hindsight is 20/20, as they say, there are things I would do differently if I could have a do-over, but the end result was that I got what I negotiated for. Sadly, I didn’t do myself any favors in my negotiations. I didn’t bother getting an attorney for myself since I knew that would drag things out, and I was ready for it all to just be over. So, when it was all said and done, I ended up not having enough resources to get a place for me and Sam to live.
Thankfully, a family in our church was gracious enough to allow us to live in their guest house for a couple weeks while we figured out what we could do and where we could go. Sam was able to find a place to go at the end of those two weeks, which was a great relief to me. By the grace of God, my dog sitting business was ramping up right at that time, and I had jobs for a while that provided me with housing.
What I told very few people at the time was that I ended up living in my car for about five weeks. The only people I told were the ones who pointedly asked me where I was staying. It’s not that I was embarrassed or ashamed. The thing is I know that my life is 100% my responsibility, not anyone else’s. I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me or as though it was in any way their problem to fix.
Believe it or not, during those five weeks I was the happiest I had been in a very long time. I had my freedom and God, and I didn’t need much else. Lying in the back seat of my Subaru wagon, while parked in the Walmart parking lot at night, I did a lot of praying and a lot of reading of God’s Word. I became closer to God than I had ever been; and I felt like, with God on my side, I could take on the world and win. Although it seemed like a bad situation, I faced it like an adventure, knowing that I was right where God wanted me to be at that time.
I learned that even though I don’t always have the best plans, God is still always with me: protecting me, leading me, providing for me, loving me. I also learned that even though I may be right in the middle of God’s will for my life, some people just won’t understand. Friends who had only the best intentions could very well have discouraged me if I had listened to them instead of God’s Word. Although I’m not ready to go back to living in my car anytime soon, I would not hesitate to do it again if that were the only way to keep the sweet relationship that was formed between me and God during that time.