For most of my life, I never would have imagined I would be the director of a nonprofit helping our homeless neighbors get back on their feet. Twelve years ago, my seemingly ideal life and marriage ended in divorce. I was depressed, angry and resentful. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Consumed by all I had lost, I made a choice that has guided my life ever since. I chose to give my life to God. I let go of all my attempts at control. I prayed (and still do) every morning for God to help me see that this is His show, and to just let me do my part. That is when I began seeing a homeless man selling a paper on the street corner near my house. I must have driven past him 50 times before I finally stopped and started buying papers, then throwing them in my back seat. Finally, while cleaning out my car one day, I actually read the paper, The Contributor. I learned The Contributor allows homeless individuals to buy the paper for 50 cents and sell it for $2 plus tips, and that 70% of them work their way into housing. I learned about the lives of our unhoused neighbors: Mary, addicted to crack when she got out of prison but now clean for ten years because she found purpose in selling the paper. Mario, who lost his job as a cameraman for a local TV station after a heart attack, says The Contributor helped him get on his feet and start a lawn mowing business. As I read, I realized this was an opportunity for God to help me do my part. I volunteered with the organization and eventually became its director. In working with the homeless, I’ve been inspired by men and women who are materially poor, but possess a rich faith in God. I’ve had the chance to love individuals so traumatized by past experiences that they are difficult to love, but Christ didn’t ask us to just love the nice ones. In now leading this effort, I rely on Christ and His ability to show me how to love more perfectly. There is so much in life that we can’t control, but when we are willing to let go and fully trust in a loving God, He will help us find purpose through serving His children.
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