This may open your eyes: It was a bright sunshiny day in Murfreesboro... Erica's brown hair streaked with gray lines was blowing in the wind as she described her troubled past and her current reality of being homeless to me.
However, her homeless situation is not that of her living under a bridge, nor is it of her feeling sorry for herself. She writes as a form of therapy. That being said, I asked that she write what I post under her photograph.
Mine is not the face of homelessness.
Neither are the faces of my children.
This is what I'd like to believe.
But according to the state of Tennessee -- and my children's school systems -- it's not the truth.
Because we -- my 16 yo son, 13 yo daughter, & my 7 yo daughter, along with our 3 cats -- reside with my parents (& my brother and his boxer), where we've been since July... six months after our world flipped upside down.
I'd like to share the details but I can't.
I have to protect my children.
They are my heart.
They are the reason I do everything I do.
And they know it.
I'm so grateful they know it.
In January 2015, I learned that my husband of 17 years had been making destructive choices. Choices that ruined our marriage and broke our family. Choices that destroyed life as I'd known it. Hopes and dreams, plans and expectations were dashed.
I moved in with my parents because it was the safest place for us. Other options given to me didn't offer the emotional, mental, financial security we needed. Squeezing 4 adults, 3 children, and 4 pets into a 3 br home is not ideal but we're making it work. It helps to know it's temporary. How temporary is still a mystery though.
I trust God has a place of our own in mind and when He deems the time to be perfect, He will provide it. Until then, I'll continue to work and we'll continue to live where we are... in stability and the beginning of healing. All four of us will continue our weekly therapy sessions; soon, we'll begin family counseling too. Our counselors are amazing. We are healing, step-by-tiny-step.
Until this year, I'd always been the lady with the heart to help others. I'd volunteered for ESTN and DOH. I'd donated clothing and toys to Club YES- Youth Empowerment Services. I'd given food to Greenhouse Ministries. I'd prayed for The Journey Home, Murfreesboro. I never imagined myself or my children needing to utilize some of the services these (& other) Middle TN/ Rutherford/ Murfreesboro organizations offered.
But here we are.
In between who we once were
And who we will become.
If you didn't know me... if you didn't see my picture or read this story... you'd never know that this face is simply a different kind of homeless.
One who somehow, in some way, will continue to move forward step-by-step with the help of others.
One who someday will be strong enough to hold another's hand, helping her to see her truth and walk forward in health and healing.
I look forward to that day.