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Barely Making It in North Carolina

Jennifer Calvin & Wesley Overhults

Sometimes, we believe that we are indestructible, invincible, and totally independent. We think we know more than our parents or teachers; and we don’t want anyone telling us what to do, how to live, how to act, or what to say. God has blessed each of us with faith. Sometimes, for our faith to grow, we have to endure situations that teach us how much we need God. We learn from experience how to trust God, to have faith, and to turn to God when we are in need.

peanut butter2 iStock_000001528092_LargeWhen I was twenty-two, I lived in North Carolina. I had a son who was about to turn one and another due to be born. My sons’ father was not working and seldom home. Our rent was past due. The electricity had been turned off. I was washing laundry in cold water in the bathtub and hanging it out to dry on the line. Our food consisted of one jar of peanut butter. I had used the baby’s last diaper.

I was on the verge of eviction and starvation, but for some reason I did not realize that I was in such dire straits. I needed God, but I kept hanging in there as if I could handle everything on my own. I don’t know if my stubbornness to survive or my naiveté kept me from seeing what was happening. I certainly could not comprehend how awesome and faithful God was, but I was about to find out.

I read my Bible every night by candlelight—one chapter a night so I would not use up the little bit of candle I had left. God had been a part of my life since I was very young. I knew about God, but I had never realized the power that God could have in my life. I needed to hit rock bottom before I could understand what God was all about.

groceries2-1418669112725-fb499fb61127One day, a woman I did not know knocked on my door. She introduced herself as a friend of the landlord. Even though the landlord thought I was a wonderful tenant, he was about to evict me for not paying the rent. The woman offered me a place to stay, in a one-room cabin, with no rent to pay for three months. She also took me to the grocery store and bought diapers for my baby and some food for us to eat.

I knew that God was speaking to me through her, that God had sent an angel to help when I was barely making it. God was my refuge and help in my time of need; and in return, I promised always to help others who were in need. To this day, 25 years later, I continue to help homeless people and others who are barely making it.

—Jennifer Calvin

 

DIG DEEPER

Working at a grocery store, I see people who don’t have enough money to buy food. It warms my heart to see the person behind them in line offer to pay for their groceries. Every time, I remember the parable of the Good Samaritan, who saw someone in trouble and helped him without a second thought. Good Samaritans still help others, not for money or fame, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. They donate to charities, pay other people’s grocery or utility bills, help however and whenever they can. Jesus wants us to make a difference in the lives of others, particularly those who are less fortunate.

How can you make a difference in someone’s life this week?

—Wesley Overhults

—from devozine (November/December 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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