It was December of 2012; I had just gotten back from a mission trip to Los Angeles. In the back of my mind, I knew I had it coming. My father had sat down with me many times and told me that if I did not get my priorities straight, I could be homeless. I was working as a server where tips were bare minimum, and my paychecks were never above $5.00. My car was in and out of shops and I was hitching rides everywhere I was going. It finally came down to the point where my father- showing the tough love of a father- told me it was time for me to move forward. And, I'm so glad he gave me that push. It served as a motivation and put me in the position I am in now.
From there, I moved back in with my mom. I lived with her for about a month or so when I got the offer to have a place of my own. A friend that I had confided in reached out and told me he would allow me to stay in his camper; fully furnished with power. He knew I was trying to get my finances situated, so at that moment, told me to do what I could do to help out with the running of the camper. I took it for granted, and ultimately had to move out of the camper. I was truly blessed to have spent nine months living there. I tell you one thing, though; surviving thunderstorms in that camper surely was interesting.
After I moved from the camper, my dad gave me the opportunity to move back in with him, only with the exception that I was actively searching for a place of my own. There had been plans with my brothers to rent out a house, but those plans fell through. Reality was becoming brutal; I was going to be homeless. That was until my aunt gave me the chance to stay with her. I spent the last three holidays of 2013 with my aunt and her family. After those three months, I knew I needed to try this whole "find my own place" once again. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED living with my aunt. But, as a 23 year old, it wasn't settling well with my pride. So, I set out to sign my first ever lease at an apartment complex.
January 2014; I have moved into my first apartment with three other roommates (one whom I've done ministry work with for years). For the next five months, I would struggle a schedule working two jobs, and trying to find a way to pay for my room monthly, as well as a new car payment that came up due to my previous car finally biting the dust. I was making enough money to maintain my living, but I was irresponsible in my spending. Any chance I got, I was splurging on anything and everything unnecessary. It finally took it's toll on me when in May, I tried to end my life. There were many other things that were reasons for this, but finances were one of the main things. I just could not catch a break. So, a week and a half later, I moved into a house where a friend of mine graciously gave me a room.
June 2014; I'm laying in a bed in a house that's only about five years old. From the houses I've lived in before, nothing compared to the house I was living in now. I had a flashback from when I was a kid, riding around Buttermilk Road at Christmas time, and seeing Woodland Forrest's brick wall, thinking "I'm going to live there one day." And, it became my reality.
While this is probably the longest blog I've posted, I say it all to say this; I am finding where I belong. It has taken a year of being on my own- completely away from any family- to realize where I belong. It hurts not to be under the same roof as my mom or dad, but there comes a moment in life where you have to move forward. Granted, it took me a few more years than most, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have parents who believed in me and pushed me to be the best person I could be. Yes, I still struggle financially. Yes, I am homesick. Yes, I am only human. But, in this experience, I have realized that every stressful moment was a moment taken from God. It was a moment where I realized that joy was there all along; I just had to take hold of it.
Never give up. God isn't done with you. It may take you a year to find out who you are and what you are doing with your life, but in the end, it's worth it.