I was clearly falling short. Obviously. I was 23. I had the stigma of being an addict in recovery. I was in a toxic relationship…and now I’m in a “homeless shelter” with no presents for Christmas…and no idea how to make dinner.
I don’t remember if it was the first night we moved in to Hillcrest Hope or the second but it couldn’t have been any longer than that: It was dark, it was cold, and there was a knock at the door. I assumed it was my case manager (because…who else?) and I assumed that I’d done something wrong, because surely she would be at her home with her family by this time and surely there had been a mistake because the apartment they’d given me was entirely too nice…
When I opened the door, I was in shock. There were people that I’d never met, people I’d never seen before in my life, holding presents. Beautifully wrapped gifts. The people didn’t stay. They prayed with me…for me, for us, and they left.
It was real-life Santa.
There were gifts for my daughter and there were gifts for me.
I was unbelievably and overwhelmingly grateful…because those things were mine. And I couldn’t figure out what I’d done to deserve this from these people that didn’t know me. But didn’t they know? Didn’t they know about the mistakes that I’d made? Didn’t they know that I’d failed? Didn’t they know that I wasn’t a Christian? Didn’t they know?…
And I sat on the floor with the wrapping paper all around us and I cried…
I held my child and I cried and we rocked back and forth on the floor.
I saw God that night. I felt His love…and it, to this day, is one of the most indescribable feelings I’ve ever experienced.
Indescribable. That’s a funny word. It’s true, though. I have so many words but, for this night…for the feeling of this night…I don’t have the words. I completely believe that the words don’t exist.
We are thankful to our graduate for sharing these words of transparency about a love that is indescribable, a love that is radiated through the efforts and community that make up Hillcrest Hope.