Two Dollars and Fifty Three Cents

Pregnant, Homeless, Alone, is not what you want to hear when someone is talking about you. It’s one thing to be in the situation, but reality hits when you hear someone else say it. It settles in as really being your life.

When she walked out the door that day, she was frightened. She kept checking her pocket to recount, hoping that by some miracle the amount had increased. Two dollars and fifty three cents was all that she had to her name. She had lived in the house of horror long enough, and with a child coming she knew she couldn’t stay. She was controlled by a man who could not love her the way that she needed to be loved. Yet, it wasn’t until she knew she would have a child that she had the courage to finally leave. She was his prisoner. She had aged out of the foster care system, and with no family to protect her, she was perfect to become his prey. He wooed her in with his kind words, made her feel love in his strong compassionate arms, until those same arms became the source of many firm holds, and his hands were the sources of her many bruises. Her journal tells the tale.

4:15pm. I stared at the clock remembering the moment I decided to run away from your father. You were born after I left him. Life from so much death. I sat up from the bed in the hospital and stared at your tiny face emulating beauty. I swear to you he will never hurt your face the way he hurt mine. He will never destroy your spirit the way he tried to destroy mine.

87 days. We traveled with you in my womb with nowhere to go and no family to call. I had two dollars and fifty three cents to my name. You were growing and my body was swelling in fear of what was to come for us.

What will we do now?

Here. You are here in the world and we can’t leave because we have no place to go. I pulled my hair aside as my eyes welled up with tears. I heard the nurses whispering in the background – “She has a lot of baggage – lots of hard dynamics here.”

I slumped over. Would they take you from me? What am I to do as a homeless woman with you?  

I began to deep throat sob and rocked you back and forth until we both fell asleep.  What do you do when you have nowhere to go? What do you do when you’re just “a lot to handle?” All I ever wanted for you was to give you what I never had.

Welcome Home. As my eyes fluttered awake the next morning after nightmares of what our life could be like, a nurse told me that she had heard about a place called Acres of Hope which changed the lives of homeless mothers. With zero options and life of the streets still pending, I was willing to go anywhere so I could keep you.

They discharged us from the hospital and a church got me into short term placement in a hotel while we waited to see if we could go to Acres of Hope. Praise God we were accepted. I slowly walked into, what they told me, was a home for us, that we could live in for two years while we changed our lives. I closed the door behind me and with my back to the wall fell to the ground. I began to sob with you in my arms, tears collecting on your face – this, this was joy. I carefully traced the carpet with my hands. I couldn’t believe I had a safe place to sleep. I had a place to put you to sleep. Nothing else mattered in this moment.

10am. I was greeted by a kind woman who put her arms around me and told me I was safe within this space. She smiled and told me she had prayed for the both of us and that on the most practical of levels, God knew this is where we were supposed to be.

I had never known love and support like this. I didn’t know how to thank them as I knew I could never repay them. But this I learned during the first few weeks: there is a radical thing called grace. I saw it in the eyes of each of the people who worked at Acres of Hope. 

Lives are being transformed at Acres of Hope. Women and children find safety and the tools they need to break their cycle of homelessness and the many roots attached to such a state of being. To be a part of making a difference in the lives of Acres of Hope families,

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