Each Christmas we have a party for our families. It’s a great time to celebrate and connect. This year I asked a couple ladies who were exiting Acts Metro after their year of mentoring to share about their experience. I knew both were incredibly brave and strong and had made significant progress toward becoming self-sufficient. Each of their testimonies was special. Here’s what one lady shared… in her own words:
“I could define myself in many ways; Mother, divorcee, survivor, church member, student, accountant, maid, cook… however the definition I have for myself is that I am a Christian.
I have been through some horrific things in my life. I have been a victim of childhood molestation. I have been a drug addict. I have been imprisoned. I have lived on the streets and literally slept under bushes before. I have been in abusive relationships. I have been abandoned by my husband. I’ve had my family and church turn against me. I have lost loved ones who actually loved me unconditionally. I have gravely attempted suicide… Yet not for one moment, not any single moment did God, ever, leave my side. Yahweh has always been with me, even when I denied Him.
About a year ago, I found myself and two young children homeless. After many desperate attempts to save a dying marriage my husband made a decision that this is not want he wanted any more. He left us. He walked away and unfortunately his choice drug is alcohol. He decided his ‘free’ life of women and alcohol was more valuable to him than his family.
A friend and her family took us in. We lived with her for several months in a very small room. All I could salvage of our belongings, before our foreclosure, was in a storage unit. That is when I applied to Acts Metro. At this time in my life I did not see myself in a state of crisis and I was not very good at accepting help. I didn’t know what they could do for me. Most importantly I didn’t think I deserved it.
They stood by me though. I thought, at one point, that I was going to lose my children because I couldn’t support them or provide a good home for them. But this team helped me to remember who I am. I am the child of a living God and I am Valuable and Worthy and I am Loved. I stayed with my friends and through the wise counseling of Acts Metro team members I paid off a lot of debts and began to save a little bit of money.
They helped me get back into school. They have encouraged me along the way. They even actually, physically helped me move into our rental house! They helped me get my lights turned on. When I felt weak and discouraged they strengthened me. They have fed my family and never left my side. Their ministry is the true testimony.
Over the past year I gotten into a stable home, gotten and better job that will bring me closer to my career goals. I have gotten through a difficult, bitter, ugly and heartbreaking divorce and custody battle. I am approaching the end of school. I have learned how to stay on a budget. My son has special needs and has had a successful surgery and now on a great education plan. I have grown into being a Sunday school teacher at my church and I have accomplished so much more. All these things are because Acts Metro stepped into my life as a shepherd for God and carried me along the way, teaching me to have courage and to have hope.
Acts Metro opened doors to allow God to work in my life. I made lifelong friendships. My mentor is now like a mother to me. She is so incredibly good to us. To say all she has done for us would take all night, she has even washed my clothes! She is forever a part of my family!
My goal here tonight is to encourage you. I don’t know your faith nor do I know your circumstances but I do know, without a single doubt, that God is Bigger than all you face today. I want to ask you to thank Him, as He chose you to endure these hardships! He knew you were strong enough and that His Glory can be shown through You!
Having true faith cannot be shown when things are ‘easy’ or ‘good’ or when ‘everything is going your way’. Its shown when you chose to believe He is with you through it all. It is when you stand up for Him and let others know He is strengthening you, refining you and teaching you! It is having true Joy despite your circumstances. It is having peace.”
This is what it’s all about!