Bear with me people as I get to how it came that he left me and moved in with the woman next door. Here I will call him Paul.
I asked Paul if I could tell the part of this story that includes him. He graciously granted me permission.
People have commented to me about my zeal for our Lord. I have been called a warrior and general in the army of our Lord. I heard Bishop Jakes say that people see his glory but they don't know or understand his story.
Our Lord knows that I was not eager to do this post. It will cause memories to surface. Some of this is truth that some may find challenging to take in. Our Father GOD told me to tell it because it is what it is. Further, He reminded me that the Holy Bible contains accounts that are challenging to take in, nonetheless, it is truth.
I'm not ashamed of any of what I share because I am fully persuaded that it is all covered by the blood of Christ.
Our Lord shared with me that someone is waiting to read this post - only GOD knows who and why. He also informed me that, though, I'm not eager to revisit some "places," healing will happen for me on a larger scale for my obedience to do this. By faith, I believe GOD!
The bulk of my life has been spent in the inner city of Washington, D.C., my hometown. For brief periods, I lived elsewhere - a few years off and on in Maryland, and about six months in Tampa, Florida.
Typically, inner city areas are high in poverty, crime, violence and drug activity. These days, though, such has spread quite a bit to suburban and urban areas. In spite of all that exists here, it is my preference to live in the inner city. When I worked in government, I had the option to move to suburban Maryland but remained where I prefer.
Before I proceed to the main theme of this post - a little background first. Both of my parents are deceased and I am childless by choice. I am the product of an extra-marital affair. Both of my parents were married when they were "engaged." It was no fling. They were in love. Anyway...years later, our Lord in His love, grace, and mercy saved them both, my mother first.
I am the youngest of four, and yes, I was spoiled. My mother went to be with the Lord when I was a teen-ager. When she passed, I was a rebellious eighth grade drop-out. I didn't drop out because I was unintelligent. I did it because I chose foolishness over school. I used heroin and pot. Only GOD'S hand in my rebellious life prevented a drug habit from attaching itself to me. A number of my peers succumbed to addiction. Praise our Lord that He spared me that pain.
When my mother passed, I was consumed by guilt because of my less than honorable lifestyle. The guilt rode me for years. I loved her so and brought her such disappointment. Of course, when I came to Christ, I came to understand GOD'S forgiveness and how to forgive myself.
I got a job in the federal government when I was about seventeen years old. In those days, a high school diploma wasn't required to get a government job. They had a voluntary program that allowed those inclined to go to a program during work hours, at the expense of the government, to study for a GED. I enrolled in the program and got my GED while employed in the federal government.
For seventeen years, I worked for the feds until the Lord told me to quit "my good government job." It didn't make sense to me, and I waited, and waited and received from our Lord, confirmation upon confirmation that I was to quit. My dearest Christian friend (I'll call her Linda) also worked for the same agency. She offered me, rent and bill free, to live with her in her house. We knew that it was a GOD thing. I have since heard various testimonies from Christians of how the Lord told them to quit their jobs but back then I cannot recall that I had heard of such relative to Christians.
Various things occurred and then the Lord confirmed to Linda and I that I was to move to Baltimore, Maryland to live with my oldest sister. I lived there a bit, got a job, and moved into my own apartment, and remained in Baltimore until three years later. I was laid off from my job. On said job, I got excellent performance reviews but when our Lord decides that it is time to move on, that is what He allows to happen. He stated that he wanted me back in the D.C. area.
Once there, I lived for a bit with my other sister. Suffice it to say that I and her husband were in conflict.
By then, my close friend, Linda, had moved to D.C. from suburban Maryland. She "rescued" me from my sister's house. I was with Linda for a bit more, and then the Lord told me to move into a homeless shelter. Did I have other family help options? Yes, a few. (My family, for the most part, is not close.) But the Lord told me to go to the homeless shelter to live.
It took about two weeks for the shock to my system to wear off. After then, I was confident that the Lord had a purpose for this process. I was able to gain work as a temp employee while housed at the shelter. I am grateful to our Lord for the shelter experience and for the people that I met there.
Our Father GOD taught me so much about other people who found themselves in such circumstances. Within, I became a "richer" person for the eight month period that I was there. One of my roommates had a PhD - she was there because of a marriage gone badly. Another roommate was a beautician. There was a news producer, and at least one Jehovah's Witness there. And of course, there were drug addicts and alcoholics in residence, as well.
The shelter where I lived was formerly the Securities and Exchange Commission building. It later housed a city college. After a period of vacancy, it became a shelter that is located very near the Union (train) Station.
Many people have the misconception that homeless people are, for the most part, drug and/or alcohol addicted, lazy, mentally challenged and unsanitary people. I met a range of people. One man had a steady job but sickness caused him to miss work for enough time that he fell behind, some people have domestic violence issues, some get out of prison and have nowhere else to go.
These days, because of the present economy, more people are becoming homeless so a lot of the misconceptions have altered.
Back then (more than ten years ago) I remember one day when I was in the Union Station area. I cannot recall what led to the conversation but I informed someone that I was homeless. I was never ashamed to express it. The response was, "You don't look like a homeless person." I replied, "What does a homeless person look like?" The person looked perplexed and did not answer.
As stated earlier, my shelter experience was a rich one indeed. Some of my most meaningful lessons came from alcoholics and drug addicts.
While I lived at the shelter, numerous men expressed interest in me. I was not at all interested. In warm ways, I made it clear that I was a Christian and on a mission for GOD.
I had been there about five months when it happened -
I met Paul.
He was a recovering drug addict, and get this - he was missing 2-3 front teeth with no job. I had never in my life been attracted to a man with missing front teeth nor to a man that didn't have a job. This gets sort of funny. The other men in the shelter with all of their teeth, and some had jobs, couldn't figure out how I was attracted to Paul.
The best way that I can explain it is that the other men came on as pressed to be with me. Paul came on as very interested but not pressed. I have never met a man who was so confident (not arrogant) who had so little - plus missing front teeth. Now remember, I had worked in the federal government for seventeen years and engaged with a lot of men for work purposes and socializing. Paul had more confidence than any other man that I had met. They had more than Paul outwardly but they didn't have the level of confidence that he did. You may wonder how could that be if Paul was a recovering drug addict...? He was weak in areas (aren't we all?) but that inner strength in Paul was evident. Our Lord knows us from the foundation of the world. I have since learned that Paul belongs to GOD and GOD knows that we belong to Him before we know it. More on that on another post (relative to Paul.)
Did you guess? I backslid.
Bear with me saints while I share this bit of sin slide. On a given day, Paul and I left the shelter to ride the subway to a motel. That was our first motel "journey." What particularly struck me was that as we rode the subway, I noticed that Paul had brought along a book to read. I was quite surprised. Who brings a book to read for the first motel weekend with a "love" interest? After "recovering" from my surprise, I felt a level of respect for that choice that he had made to bring a book. It is not easy to explain. Maybe someone can help me on that. "All these years later, when I think about that "episode," I laugh. I am 54 years old and have never dated any other man that came with a book to read for a date or motel stay.
To be continued
NOTE: I am pleased to report that it was not a painful experience to re-visit, as I had anticipated. Praise our Lord that it was, with ease, that I wrote this story from my life.
Written Saturday February 5, 2011
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