A few weeks ago, an email from our son-in-law landed in my inbox. It was a request for help for a family needing a temporary place to stay.
We knew the family through our daughter, Meghan and her husband Nathan, because the two of them befriended them several years ago and have somewhat "adopted" them along the way.
A single mom and her three kids, struggling to make ends meet, had simply come up short and had no place to go. Could anyone help them?
Tom and I looked at each other. I was behind on a writing deadline. He was behind on his work. Every minute of each day felt spoken for already...and yet somehow we both knew this was something we were supposed to do.
We said yes to the "interruption."
The mom, Toni (name has been changed), works weekend nights. She has always been willing to take difficult jobs, even those with low pay and poor hours, to support her family. A country girl from Arkansas, she dreams of one day having a house for her family.
The oldest daughter, age 16, is sweet and helps her mom as much as she can. She was born with Spina Bifida, something I'm just now learning about. It's a birth defect that brings a host of side issues: learning challenges and balance problems are a couple of them.
The boy is eleven. He follows his favorite sports teams (Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys) and likes math and science.
The youngest girl is ten. She is a born actress, and loves to read books aloud with great expression! She simply sparkles.
Our "empty nest" has become home to four extra people this month, but already we've seen this "interruption" become a huge opportunity for miracles.
A home, within walking distance of ours, went up for lease on the very day we gave up looking for an apartment for her. It is within Toni's price range, and has enough room for everyone! She will be able to move in next week.
That was the first miracle.
The next miracle happened when we found assistance through a local charity organization that helps families get back on their feet. We left our initial meeting with them with a trunk load of groceries, a bag of much-needed clothing, and an offer to help find furnishings to get settled.
Now, we are experiencing the third miracle.
Toni will have just enough resources to maintain her new house once she is in, but the start-up costs of moving in are not possible without help.
She is in need of furniture, clothing, a computer, dishes...everything a family needs to begin a new life. In addition, there are deposits due on utilities that make this an extra challenge.
I sent a quick email out to my local friends, and Meghan shared the need with her friends last week...and many of our friends have begun to donate items and money to cover the costs. We are so excited for our dear little family!
Today, I thought I'd share the story here.
Our eyes have been opened to the very real struggle families face, when things like job loss and medical bills force you out of your home.
When the only jobs available have such low pay that you have to work weekend nights to make a tiny bit more per hour.
When your kids don't have the basic necessities that every parent wants to provide, like toothpaste and shampoo and extra changes of clothes.
This "interruption" has become our opportunity, not only to bless this one family with provisions, but to make a real difference in their lives. The kids are so delightful and have such a bright future....all they need is a little bit of help to get back on their feet.
If you would like to help in any way, we have set up a GoFundMe account to take donations.
There is no pressure to give whatsoever. I simply put it out there for anyone who feels a tug on their heart to do a little something. Our goal is $1500, but I'd love to go above and beyond so that she has a small cushion for emergencies. As of this morning, we are almost half way there!
UPDATE: We reached our $1500 goal! WOW!!!! THANK YOU!! But don't stop giving, if you feel led to give. The needs are great, from car repair to shoes, so I've changed the GoFundMe goal to $2,500, simply to encourage people to continue to donate. None of it will go to waste.
Toni and her kids will move into their new house on Nov. 1! We would love to have it filled with enough furniture, beds, and a full pantry that they will feel loved and cared for. I know God is watching over them, and I'm so grateful for each bit of help along the way. If you're in the Dallas area and have household items you would like to donate, just drop me a quick email.
If nothing else, I'd love your prayers today! It's going to be a busy, full week of preparation...another OPPORTUNITY for something great to happen!