Yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook about a custodian at Tucker High School, Atlanta Georgia who turned part of her cleaning supplies closet into a ‘giving closet’. Supplies were purchased and kept for homeless students to allow them to get a meal or dress for school. As I watched the video I could not help but reflect on my time in this area. And the invaluable lessons I learnt from my period of homelessness.
I was facing a similar situation. God had stripped me of everything the year earlier. I was living in complete dependence on him. In September 2011 I was told by Him to resign my job. I received the savings from my pension which I continued to use until that ran out. A contract came to develop a software that would have truly launched me into the area of consultancy. Unfortunately, very shortly after I got the contract a series of events happened that stopped me from being able to fulfill the contract. I recall hearing the Holy Spirit telling me one day, as I was leaving the premises of the company, that I would not complete the work but would come back and repay them. The voice was loud and clear. I was not prepared to hear that from God. I needed that money. I wanted that contract to work. In my stupidity, I begun to rebuke the Devil. It was hard to imagine that God would allow me to go through such a trial.
Later I learnt it was the Lord. Almost one year later I was homeless and living in Tucker, Georgia. God was gracious, I was not living on the street. Although, pennyless I was sent to live with my sister. I slept on her living room coach or the floor for months before I got a make shift bed.
That was a very rough time for me. I was extremely frustrated. Here I was without a job. Completely dependent on the Lord to provide for all my needs. He used my sister and others to provide when I needed anything but it was not a good place for me. I was used to depending on myself to provide for my daily needs. I did not know him as Jehovah Jireh. I counseled others to trust God but I was not trusting God. When I needed it he provided. But it did not stop me from being dissatisfied. I was not used to enduring weeks without money. It made me frustrated, depressed, broke, busted and disgusted. I slumped into frequent bouts of depression, frustration and rage at God. I kept asking the Lord for an explanation of why he was doing this to me? What had I done to deserve this treatment? All He told me was that it was not about me it was for the people that I would serve.
One day I had only $5 to my name. To cheer myself up I left the apartment and walked to Kroger to purchase a biscuit. It was my way of taking a stroll to clear my mind. Every day my mind was assaulted with doubt and thoughts of hopelessness. I was praying, fasting and reading the Bible but was still up under spiritual attacks in my mind. I did not remember anything about guarding my mind and standing on the word. I just wanted out!
No matter what God said, I would not listen. He would remind me of His promises but I was not prepared to listen. I wanted out! He told me of miraculous things that He would do through me. Yet I would not listen. The spirits of unbelief, rebellion and low trust in my Father (the Bastard spirit) were ruling my life.
As I walked past Target I saw a Latino mother and her son. She held a sign. ‘We are homeless. We need money for shelter.‘ My heart was moved by their blight. The mind said ‘move on. You cannot help them.’
“Give her your money.” The Holy Spirit commanded.
I was in a foul mood. “Lord it is all I have, I will not do that.” His voice went silent. I begun to rant about being in Tucker, Georgia. I was not pleased with being carried there. A few months earlier after ministering at a revival in New York I left with the the intention of going to Florida but was routed by the Lord to Georgia. I was still focused on executing my plan. Being in lack prevented that from happening and I was not happy.
I did what I wanted. I purchased the biscuit at Kroger. No sooner had I started eating it than I had a change of heart. I felt deeply convicted by my choice. I repented to the Lord and rushed to Target. Alas, they were gone. The boy and his mother were not there. My heart sank. I wept and asked for forgiveness again. And asked the Lord to provide for them. That did not remove the conviction.
A few months later the Lord released me. I went to then to Florida, then to New York then back to Florida again. Each place I visited taught me a valuable lesson in obedience and trusting God. What I thought would have been very pleasurable turned out to be harsh, hostile and unfriendly at times. I begged God to move me. The experiences were harsher than when I was isolated in Tucker, Georgia. The worst part was the disconnection from the Presence of God that I experienced. I attended church but did not feel the Presence of God or heard God speaking to me. Sometimes I felt spiritually dry. I had to fight to maintain the anointing. The attacks from the enemy were very frequent. There were far more periods of lack. Food, clothing and shelter was always provided. Beyond that there was hardly anything else. For three years I did not sleep much at nights. The floor or a couch was my bed. Worry caused most of my hair to turn grey.
Lessons Learnt from the School of Hard Knocks
In September 2017 change came. I assisted a friend to sell some electronic items at a church bazaar sale. A 12 year old boy was selling CDs of music he had mixed. I was so impressed that I asked my friend to give me $5. He had purchased one of the CDs already but I felt compelled to bless him. My friend gave me the money and I purchased the CD from him. I also released a prophetic word over his life and prayed for his success and spiritual growth, in the Lord.
That day was a turning point for me. After I finished praying I heard the Holy Spirit say “Job prayed for his friends and the Lord turned his captivity. From this day you will no longer be without money.”
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before
~ Job 42:10
An hour later I received $50 dollars. Two weeks after that I received several hundreds of dollars. From that time I have seen the Lord provide for my needs over and over again in a big way. I learnt that when God says ‘give’ without hesitation the money must be released. As I give God would give me back more than double the amount.
When I need something I have never gone to anyone and asked. I learnt to make my requests known to the God in prayer. He is my source. My provider – Jehovah Jireh. He is my healer. My restorer. My resting place. He’s been good to me. There is tremendous peace that I now experience in Him.
I have since married and am settled in an apartment. In everything God has provided. Our apartment was empty when we moved in. Now it is fully furnished. As we fasted and prayed God provided. We would ask the Lord to provide and sure enough we would get it the same day.
I learnt to trust God in everything. I no longer fret or worry about anything. I have learnt to rest in the Lord. My mind is no longer an open door to the enemy. When Satan tries to bombard my mind with any negative thoughts I am quick to dismiss them. I have found peace, joy and hope.
The experience also taught me the important of obedience. I had a strategic plan for my life. A ten year plan was set to establish me in business but God had other plans. I was very selfish in my ambitions. Only what I wanted counted. I was not willing to listen to the Lord’s advise about serving others and the things that were best for me. Boy did I learn!
The experiences also taught me the depth of a person’s heart, intentions and motives. I have seen characteristics in saints that has marveled me. Very often the Holy Spirit would reveal the thoughts and intentions of the heart and it was not good. I learnt that only the Holy Spirit can be completely trusted. Whatever He said I could take it to the bank! Just accept it without question. Simply trust Him like a child trusts his Father.
The things I endured were harsh but it was worth it! Looking back I would not trade the experience for the world. It taught me to walk with God. To trust Him in all things. I had to walk out my own journey to stand firm in my faith in Jesus Christ. I can relate without doubting that I can relate to the experiences of Job. Like Him I can boldly say:
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!He son They were standing woman
~ Job 19:25-27
I recall asking the Lord in 2015 why He was putting me through the process of homeless. He told me that I had trusted on myself from the age of 17 and now needed to learn to depend on Him as my Father. My source. My Provider. I also needed to experience what others went through to be sympathetic to them. Without going through their experience I would not understand them and know how to deal with them.
This is true. I sympathized with the homeless before. Yet sometimes I would drive pass them without a thought. Before God started dealing with me in 2011, often times I had no qualm about winding up my car window to avoid speaking to them. They were nameless, faceless, crude and smelly. I would only make allowances for homeless children. As far as I was concerned their fault was not their own. That was how I saw them.
After going through my experiences. I could relate to homeless persons. Later when I ministered to some of them at a homeless shelter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida I could relate. My heart was open to their plight. I felt their pain. I cried with them. I felt their pain. My desire was always for God to provide deliverance and salvation for them. I wanted them to be set free from the things that kept them bound.
I doubt that I would have been filled with love and compassion for the homeless had I not been taken through my journey by the Lord Jesus.
I thank the Lord Jesus that I am now settled in my own home. My heart aches to do something for them. I wait with anticipation for the day when the Lord permits me to start a homeless outreach ministry. I know that when the times comes the Lord will provide the resources. He will open the doors.