“God Sees Some Beauty in Me”
“I came to Micah in 2007. But the first “person” that met [Micah] was Sandra Dee. Sandra Dee ran into Trinity Church, where Micah was originally located, the first time I came there. Sandra Dee was my road dog. She was my puppy. She didn’t ask to be out there, but she adapted. She ran right in [to Micah when we were having donuts in there. I was scared because I had never been homeless, and here goes Sandra Dee all up in there. Sandra would ride around in my purse when I was homeless. She went everywhere.
I had a career. I was married. I had a home. And then everything fell apart. I worked for Ruby Tuesday’s for 20 years. I became a waitress in 1999 and did a little bit of everything in the restaurant over the years. And then things got really bas out there in the real world. I drank because I didn’t want to be out deal with what was falling a part. And I was by myself.
I am a mother of two grown sons that are very professional and out there in the community doing their thing. I have seven grandkids.
I made a bad decision–my own fault. I consolidated homes with a man that I thought had a business, and it turned out he was a crackhead. There went my cars. There went everything that I had ever owned. There went my story–my photo albums, my kids stuff, my furniture, my car. Everything was gone and I was stuck. Then, when he stabbed me in the back I crawled out, landed on Sandra Dee and made it to a friend who came and picker me up. At first, I thought it was going to be a weekend thing. Then it became, I’m not even going back. I was just going to live my life. I didn’t want to deal with what the hell I had done. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I had never experienced it. I knew I was a failure, and that didn’t sit well. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. It was a whole other life out there on the streets. I stayed outside for eight years.
Everybody tried to get me to come in during the winter and otherwise. I wasn’t going to come for no help until I was ready. I didn’t want to waste your time. I didn’t even come to Micah a lot, but I did because it was the only stable address and home that I had. I went from living in Lake of the Woods and having a home and a career to coming out of the woods and having people lining up on the guardrail until we was out.
There was a community among other people who lived outside. We had to make the best of it. I don’t consider myself actually as homeless because we had “shelter” and we had a fire pit and we had food; and we all worked together to make that happen. It wasn’t easy, but I kept everyone in line. They called me the “warden.” I guess I felt good because I needed somebody to need me. I needed their strength, even though they didn’t have much. The worst part was that being outside does things to a woman’s skeleton that ain’t supposed to happen. I ran mine into the ground during that time.
I just knew you had faith in me when I came and told you I was ready to work on things and come back indoors. I couldn’t let you down. Even though I’d fallen off the ship, walked the plank, a couple of times you still loved me and you still were there for me. And without that I couldn’t have made it. I had to make a decision and I told the rest of them “this is what I’m doing, you can come with me or stay here.” So, we all left and we all moved into housing together.
I’ve had three different arrangements with Micah, all with different people. I really needed to live by myself, but I was so afraid of being alone. Once I finally did get some place that I could live by myself, where people that care about me can come visit and then leave. I still get to be part of the community and that works for me. I just can’t go, I have a fear of being away from the community. I don’t have family. I just can’t even think of being alone without Micah. I’d rather go back to the woods.
Micah knows me. You met me in the worst time in my life, never judged me. You saw the good in me.
God and I have had our differences as I’ve walked this journey. We’ve argued quite a bit. There is nothing in my brethren that would be happening if He wasn’t walking with me. Now, I might get mad. Sometimes I don’t have a good day, but I don’t get mad too long because I look around me at the blessings that He’s given me and there isn’t any reason for it. He didn’t have to pick me up. God sticks with me though because He sees some beauty in me.
Micah’s vision for a Jeremiah Community is beautiful. I want to be a big part of it. I don’t want to be no where else. Most of us don’t even have a family, but we are doing the best we can. Most of us don’t want to be left alone. We need to be together where we understand each other. We’ve been through the same things. We’ve been out there, we’ve had heartbreak, we’ve had falls. Even if we are still fighting this 20 years from now, just being around people we can talk to that understand us and how we felt is important. I have a hard time going out the front door because I’m afraid of the public. I’m ashamed. But when those of us who have been homeless come together we can look at each other and be just the same. We don’t have to pretend. If I had people, like in the community, we’d go outside and sit in the chair and have coffee and be able to talk to each other because none of us are no better than the other. It’s hard when you come down and have to face the reality of the world that looks down on you, no matter what you used to be.
Don’t ever think you are wasting your time on anybody. We are good people that have a lot to offer. Just because we fell don’t mean we can’t get up; and we will always represent. We will be good people and we will learn from each other. We will cry. We will probably argue, not in the ways I used to like hollering or nothing; but we will probably have differences of opinions when we talk to each other about what we’ve gone through. But at the end of the day, we gonna go lay down in our little community house and we’re know we’re going to be there right beside each other the next day. And we won’t be alone. That’s the worst thing to me, and I know it is for others.”
We hope you will receive Lisa’s story with loving kindness and meet her virtually using the button below. As you join us in thanking God for Lisa’s perseverance, we ask you to prayerfully consider how you might honor him and others in the Micah community with a gift of time or monetary offering. Lisa is one of many neighbors that our collaboration of churches has learned from as we have followed God to build the many parts of a “house” where “all are welcome. Commit generously to Micah this year, and help us bring more neighbors home.
VIDEO: A conversation