You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them. -Psalm 10:18
Let me preface by saying that at one point in my life, I was where you are right now. I fled my home with my one-year-old daughter to a domestic violence shelter in order to escape abuse and unrelenting oppression. So it is with a heavy heart that I write this, fully understanding just how much pain you are experiencing. I pray that I will be able to bring some hope to a seemingly hopeless situation.
1. You are not alone — you and many others before you have walked through the doors of a shelter. It is okay to need help.
2. Do not let your circumstances become your identity. You do not have to be a statistic- you have every power to change your circumstances.
3. Always remember, you are not a case number – you are a person. Just because you may need temporary help, does not mean you shouldn’t be treated with respect. (Keep in mind respect does work two ways – you will have to give it in order to receive it).
4. Be grateful — No, you are not living in a luxury hotel in LA, but you do have a roof over your head and *semi-edible* food in your belly.
5. Stay focused and don’t get too comfortable. Believe it or not, some people actually end up liking living in a shelter. I do understand it’s better than being on the streets and if you’re like me, you’ll think it is certainly better than living with an abuser. But remind yourself that a shelter should only be viewed as a “stepping stone” towards getting you on your own feet.
6. Your dreams still matter—with enough drive and determination they are still very possible to achieve. Believe in yourself, and make it happen.
7. Stay away from drama. (I am speaking from personal experience here.) There will be other people living with you who will try to bring you down, intimidate you or even try to start a fight with you. Walk away and stay centered within yourself knowing you won’t ever see that person again once you leave. If you get caught up in a fight, you could end up getting blamed and possibly thrown out even if it wasn’t your fault to begin with. Just walk away.
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. -2 Timothy 2:23-24
8. Stay faithful. Put your trust in a force greater than you. Alone we can do so little, but with God we can overcome literally anything. He is for us-HE IS NOT AGAINST US! He makes us brave to face triumphs with vigor. Hope is right around the corner- do not give up!
9. You are one of the strongest people on this earth! You are fighting against odds that many people will never truly understand. The strength to get through this is already within you. All you have to do is find it in Christ. You will be redeemed.
10. Harness your emotions so they don’t overtake you – I know you feel angry, I know you feel sad, I KNOW YOU ARE SCARED; but you can channel that energy into changing your life into something that will glorify God and bring you to a place where you find peace.
11. If no one has ever told you this before, I will:
YOU ARE LOVED.
God loves you so much that he gave His life for you. Rest in knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you.
Lastly, I just want to say that I think you are amazing. I think the battle you face is going to make an amazing story one day when you look back on all you have overcome. I cannot wait for you to tell the world how you made it out from the darkness and into the light. May God be with you, and may the Lord be especially close to the children without a home. Please keep their innocence. May their parents find the strength to fight for freedom for the sake of their children who are helpless without them.
© Caitlin De Naples TheRevivalExperience, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caitlin De Naples and TheRevivalExperience with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.