"Grace Place for me was shelter in my own storm."
In Mathew 25:35-40 the Bible says,
"For I was hungry you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or when did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" The king will reply "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
This is the verse that comes to mind when I think of Grace Place. Grace Place for me was shelter in my own storm. A few years back I went through a very hard time. My now ex-husband was very abusive towards my three children and me. We were living in a camper with nowhere else to go and by the fall my children had been taken to foster care. I had no way to provide for them or myself. My husband was becoming more and more abusive and we were trying to get away from him but he would walk right through every restraining order that was put in place. This was the beginning of a series of court trials, newspaper articles, and a struggle to make sense of the mess.
My husband whom I was divorcing had family in Minnesota. But my family was in Montana and I could not leave until my children went to live with an aunt, the divorce was over, and the court scenes against my ex were completed. So I had nowhere to really go. I had gotten myself kicked out of the place I was staying by wallowing in my sorrows. I would stay with friends at night and then in the day I had nowhere to go because they all had jobs and lives of their own. I was more alone than I have ever been in my entire life.
Although I have always known God's presence and was raised in a very good Christian home in Montana I was not living a Godly life. Throughout all of the divorce and losing my children I did have a couple very good Christian friends but for all the rest I had Grace Place. Carla continuously gave me a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and though she was always working she was always available to pray. But the help from Grace Place did not stop there; you see my children had a place to stay, and Carla let me use my time productively in the thrift store that supports Grace Place and its ministry.
By letting me be there she provided me with a place to go. They fed me, gave me clothes, transportation, a place to visit my children, and even a place to put my talents to good use. Carla also helped me stay in touch with my mom. Of course my story has a lot more to it every story does, but it would take hours to write it all down.
My children now live in another state with an aunt and we talk on the phone and see each other once a year. The court room scenes are over with and my ex-husband is locked away and cannot hurt us anymore. My children are safe, happy, healthy, and best of all able to start healing and being kids. Of course they still have a hard time with memories but so do I; it is just part of the process. Now I am married to a wonderful Christian whom is the best husband a girl could ask for. He is the best father to our 20 month old daughter (who is a miracle in herself), and we have another girl due next month. We have a good stable home, a wonderful church family, and both of our families are close by for support.
People ask me how I can be happy when my children are so far away and so much has happened. That’s easy, through God’s grace. Sure I have my problems. I still deal with post-traumatic stress. But I have been given a fresh start. I don’t have to worry if my kids have a roof over their heads or food on their plates, I don’t have to worry if they’re safe.
I've also been blessed with my own non-profit ministry which I call Mommy Baskets. I use my experiences to help moms and families in hard times and I was given the opportunity to share my story with over 400 people. I don't think I would have been able to deal with what was happening or would have known to start a ministry in the midst of my pain if not for Grace Place. I know I could not have done all of that if not for the "faith powered fuel up" I got from Carla and everyone at Grace Place.
We often get stuck in our lives and think that nothing can happen. We plan our life from beginning to end. I never thought I would be the mom who had a drug history, lost her children, or was abused. No, I thought life would be perfect. But life is fragile. Everything we know can be lost in a second and the best place to be when it happens is in God’s arms, and the arms of people who care; like Carla and those at Grace Place.
I hope everyone who reads this will see just what an important place Carla is running. We need to support them and ministries like them. God placed us on earth to minister to others and worship Him. When we do, we are blessed more than we can comprehend. For those of us that don’t like big crowds, can’t go to other countries, or go door to door handing out tracks; supporting ministries like Grace Place is our way of silently saying to those who are hurting that God loves you and so do we.