When my son went into rehab at Union Gospel Mission on Cordova in the downtown east side of Vancouver he joined a church called Coastal Church where he was taken under the congregation’s protective wings. He found himself and God. He was baptized in English Bay one year and I was baptized a year later with him in the ocean right by my side, it was one of the most memorable days of my life.
When he was in the depths of his drug use and crime, he was lost to himself and to me. I had always been able to kiss it better, make the pain go away but this time I was lost and beside myself with fear, grief and helplessness. My family had told me to wash my hands of him and forget I ever had him, and that I had “ruined” him by “loving him too much”; which of course was impossible but i didn’t know how to help him. He would disappear for weeks at a time and I would be calling his friends trying to find him, but I couldn’t get through to him, I knew he was hurting deep inside from his dad not being in his life, being teased at school and I felt I had failed him also. I would go to work but wasn’t able to even think of anything but Kris, I was consumed with worry to the point of not being able to function.
Then a girl I worked with suggested I try praying. Now, I had very little exposure to religion prior to meeting JC, aside from my paternal grandmother who tried to give me an introduction to God, no one in my family was a believer. When I met JC and found out he had been raised by very Christian parents I was reminded of my grandma and I soaked up any info I could off of him and his parents. I said I believed in God, and JC and I said Grace and discussed the Bible, but when the girl at work suggested I pray my immediate thought was, “You obviously don’t understand the severity of the situation, this is requires more than a prayer”. I finally was desperate enough to try anything, including prayer. The girl at work helped me come up with a prayer that went something like this.
Please God take care of Kris, let him feel my love in all certainty no matter where he is. Please help him see he is deserving of happiness and love. Please lead him down the right path to people who can help him and show him how special he is and please God keep him safe and healthy. one last thing, please God bring him back to me and let me have another chance at being his mother, if you do I will do better somehow. In your son’s name Amen.
I photocopied it and taped it every where I might have an anxiety attack, my computer at work, the bathroom mirror, the fridge; it became my mantra and eventually…….it helped.
Weeks went by and then Kris showed up at my door dirty, tired and hungry. I washed his clothes, he had a shower and I fed him then he told me how he had gone to Union Gospel Mission in Mission for dinner. At UGM if you want dinner you have to listen to a sermon first and a few nights prior he had heard a man speak and something he said stuck with Kris. He talked to the man and a few days later that he decided to go into rehab. The man was able to get him into rehab in two days, any time I had tried to get him into rehab it had been a 6 week waiting period and by the time the bed was available Kris was gone again. He stayed with me for two days and I drove him to UGM, the man was there to send him off. Kris did awesome, the people at UGM loved him and Coastal Church made him their “poster boy”, Coastal Church has a wealthy congregation and pride themselves on accepting any one into their church, prostitutes, drug addicts, criminals come as you are. Kris blossomed there with men to emulate, and the praise and encouragement he kept wanting to please, they made him accountable, he took his GED, and was top in Canada, then he did a year of discipleship before he was accepted at Alberta Bible College and went to study Theology. Every time I attended church I was greeted by people telling me what a wonderful son I had. One of the members of the congregation gave him an apartment to live in for a small percentage of what he made in a month. Kris wanted black leather everything and I had thought he was being picky to not just take a used couch I offered him, but he told me that God wants us to ask for what we want and to be specific. He said that he had cut out pictures of the black leather couch he wanted and the tables etc. A woman member of the church, who set up apartments for out-of-town businessmen furnished the apartment with black leather everything out of an apartment she was hired to redecorate; she had no idea that Kris wanted leather. He had tattoos that another member of the church covered with professional tattoos and another member paid to have some others lazered off. A dentist that went to the church fixed his teeth, another paid for his education, he got a brand new top of the line bike from someone else, he traveled doing missionary work in Cambodia. He came into his own, his eyes have always been like a mood ring; grey if he was sad and the bluest blue when he was happy and his eyes were blue. My prayers had been answered. His church family was able to do more for him than I ever could have and they believed in him. He always knew i loved him and believed in him but I was his mother, he needed to hear it from people who didn’t have to love him.
The whole time JC and I were together we had miracles happen over and over, I have written about the house at Hatzic where we both felt the spirit of the daughter who had died, we had amazing people come into our life and it seemed there was always someone trying to save JC. It was a large part of why I stayed with him as long as I did. I realize now that some of what happened was him manipulating the situation but there were genuine miracles that happened in our lives and times God stepped in that JC totally ignored. I had a very strong feeling God was trying to show him the way and he was fighting it tooth and nail.
My faith became stronger and stronger as time went on, mainly because I didn’t know what to do about JC and my relationship, I would pray for a sign that I should stay or leave; and as I am sure you know, a “sign” many times a sign can be interpreted the way you want to interpret it. One thing for sure, every time we split my prayers would be answered and I always did better when JC was not in my life, yet I would go back. My life would get better, I would get strong again and i would let him back into my life and within a few months my life would be falling apart again.
The first time JC strangled me, we were driving down the road on our way home from picking up a scrap car, he was driving and had badgered me for days about owing him $2000 for repairs on my Prelude, I had paid him back and he had agreed I had paid him even though I didn’t think I owed him and it wasn’t a week later and he was riding me again about owing him money. I was a nervous wreck and crying, he kept harping on me and I grabbed his leg and said I didn’t owe him, didn’t he remember I had paid? and without a word he slammed on the brakes and had his hands around my throat. Instinctively I grabbed his wrists and tried to pull his hands off my throat but he was far too strong. I stopped struggling, I remember thinking that he was going to feel so bad when he realized he had killed me, I wondered what he would tell my son Kris, then my body went limp and everything went black. I came too coughing and gasping for air and he continued the drive home. He went in and got on the computer right away and I tried to talk to him, he was just cold, his eyes icy blue and filled with loathing. I finally went to bed and cried. I don’t know how much time had passed when I felt a pair of strong hands holding my head, one on each side of my head and I felt a calmness come over me and a feeling that everything was going to be ok. I opened my eyes expecting to see JC but there was no one there, I got up and went to him and asked if he had just been in the bedroom holding my head and he looked at me like I was crazy.
Every time we split I left with nothing but my clothes. One time I went to live with my brother who had promised me work but then it didn’t pan out. I needed to make money and all I could think of was all the stuff I had painted over the previous couple of years. I had never tried to sell any of my art pieces and I was scared to death to approach shop owners about buying it but I was flat broke. I had enough money to get to Fort Langley, a tourist town that has antique and boutique shops lining the streets. When I got there I prayed that I would make $40, enough for gas to get home and some groceries.
I got there about 3 and went into almost every shop, losing my courage every time and walking out without approaching any one. I had given up and was heading out-of-town but I kept telling myself, “you won’t make it home without buying more gas.” I drove past the last antique shop on the edge of town and saw a woman hauling furniture back into her shop. It had been a sunny day and she must have had her wares on display outside and was now, at 4:50 packing it up for the day. I drove about a block and turned around. As I parked she looked up from what she was doing, she didn’t look happy to see a customer that late in the day and I thought to myself, “She’ll be even more unhappy when she finds out I want to sell her something.” I approached as I felt my cheeks getting hot. I told asked her if she would be willing to look at some of my art pieces and she said sure. Long story short she bought $40 worth and told me she was going on a month’s vacation but when she got back she wanted to see more of my stuff. I thanked her and went on my way.
I didn’t go back after a month, I was back with JC and didn’t have a car any more, besides I was too afraid to go back. It was almost a year later that JC and I were semi split again and I needed money desperately so I called the woman’s shop. She was off work that day but the woman who answered the phone told me to call Shirley’s cell phone. She didn’t sound happy to come to the shop on her day off but after a few minutes she told me to meet her there at 3 o’clock. All the way there I prayed to make $100, not $20, not $80, I had to have $100, I prayed non stop all the way there. Shirley liked my stuff and in the end bought $100 worth. She hesitated when she went to get the cash and then she looked at me with a strange look and said,” I would hesitate to say this to any one else but I have a feeling you will understand what I am about to tell you.”
She came and sat down on a bench in front of me and said, “You prayed on the way here didn’t you?” I nodded, she went on, “I didn’t really want to come down here today on my day off but God spoke to me and told me, “this woman really needs the money, go and spend $100.” I said yes that is what I prayed for and she smiled and nodded, “I knew it.” when she counted out the money she said, “$50 from me and $50 from God, we both think you have talent.”
Shirley became a good friend, every time I took product to her we would sit and discuss God and big and small miracles that had happened in her life and were starting to happen in mine.
I started listening for that tiny voice, and it seemed everywhere I went I met Christian people who shared with me, my faith grew daily because almost daily I experienced a miracle of some sort. I had left JC and didn’t have a job, nor furniture but I had income tax money to pay rent. The place I rented was owned by a man with a scrapyard and I was only there a couple of weeks when the owner offered me a job driving the delivery truck. After ten months of driving for him I was to be laid off and I decided I wanted my own truck to do landscaping, deliveries, anything but haul scrap metal. I had no money, a horrendous credit rating and soon no job. I looked everywhere for a truck, tried every way I could think of to get a truck but even those car lots that advertise, “Every one drives, we turn no one down” turned me down for a truck loan.
I was about to give up when I saw a cute GMC 1 ton with a flat deck on it parked on the side of the road with a for sale sign in the window. I stopped and immediately called the number. The man, Rene’ said he would be right there with the keys to let me have a look at it. He told me he had parked it there not even an hour earlier and I was the 4th call he’d had on it. I told him my situation, that I was losing my job and wanted my own truck. I offered him to trade my Eagle talon for the truck but he had enough vehicles so I thanked him anyway and headed home. I prayed for God to some how get me that truck and then I let it go. I must have told him where I worked because 1/2 way through the day he called me.
Rene – You really want that truck don’t you.
Me- Yes I do but like I said I don’t have any money.
Rene’ – I was talking to the wife about it last night, and well we don’t really need the money right now; maybe we can work something out.
Me – What did you have in mind?
Rene’- How much money do you have right now?
Me- Only about $100
Rene’ – Write up an IOU and come to my house tonight with your $100.
I went that night with $100 and a promise to pay the balance within a year and left with a signed transfer and tax form and the keys to the 1 ton.
A stranger, signed over his $4000 truck on a promise and a prayer.
And so began the Lady Witha Truck.
Miracles DO happen, even when it doesn’t seem possible, that is why they are called miracles. Believe in the power of prayer, no matter how bleak your situation may seem; nothing lasts forever, not good nor bad.
I want to share more about the miracles that have happened in my life but now it is very late and I am going to bed.
wishing everyone happiness and everyday miracles