Moving Home: A Testimony

It’s been almost two years now, since I left New Hampshire in a van given to me by God and His angels, helping me to make it home to Olympia, Washington after The Car That Ran on Prayers was finally laid to rest in Manchester in late June 2017. I recently reflected on my Testimony about how God guided me home.

The Whisper: A Baby’s on the Way

The Spirit’s whisper was like a hope I dared not have…my daughter and her husband had been trying for years and wanted a baby so much, was the whisper I could feel just hope?

“The Spirit speaks words that we feel…”

Go Home, it said…Go back to where you came from…Go Home to Washington…There’s a baby on the way…you’ll hear around your birthday…Have a home established by October…

I shared the feeling with my daughter and my mother and perhaps a special friend along the way on a Fourth of July birthday…but for the most part I kept it quiet. After all, it was just a hope…right?

grandtwins celebrate their birthday in july

Rayden, a “grandtwin” and Grandma knocking heads

The hope of a grandchild via my daughter was not a substitute for my grandchildren already here. My twin granddaughters were celebrating their 9th birthday in mid-July and I wanted to be there. They had recently moved and the area they now lived in was not only familiar to me, but one I wouldn’t mind living in myself.

The girls were excited to see how much my puppy had grown in the six months since we’d been to the area and they loved the seashells from the coast of Florida, but questions remained about where I would live.

Priorities: Finding a Therapist

When I arrived in Olympia after a long road trip with some very special rest stops in places with names like Nauvoo and Kirtland, then with friends in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado then in Eastern Oregon, I was ready to settle down. Unfortunately, my hometown had been undergoing quite a bit of growth and there was no room at any proverbial Inn. The Pacific Northwest’s occupancy rate for low-income apartments was approaching 98%. There was nothing open.

One of my more memorable stops was a session at the Nauvoo temple ending around sunset

I stayed with a friend, then camped a bit. For a few of the hotter days, the dogs and I got a hotel room…but as I attended church with the Olympia 4th Ward, I prayed for God to tell me where I could find a therapist who was female, specialized in my rare condition AND was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although that may sound like a tall order, as a person with a severe mental disorder who also believes heavily in the principle of personal revelation, it is imperative that I have a therapist who understands the basic tenants of our church.

God listens to my prayers. A woman about my age or perhaps a couple of years older sat down next to me and I sparked up a conversation. Turned out she was the Stake Relief Society President and was giving a talk that day. I thought to myself, it’s always my luck to sit next to a Stake official…I had no idea who she was and who she knew. After her talk and Sacrament meeting coming to a close, we continued our conversation. For some reason, I shared with her my diagnosis and challenge of finding a therapist with that specialty.

Black Labrador dog looking out of a window of a blue tent into a mossy forest scene
Ruger Bear loved Camping in the Olympic Forest

The Relief Society President shared that her occupation was that of a therapist, and she personally and professionally was aware of a colleague who specialized in my disorder who was, in fact, also female and a church member. I asked for her contact information.

When I first called Dr. S, I was discouraged by the message that she was not taking new clients, but was impressed to leave a message with my details and diagnosis.

The next day, I received a call from her office asking for more information. They were able to schedule me an appointment in the next week. That appointment came quickly and I loved her.

Once Dr. S was on board, I asked her about her Ward…it turned out she belonged to the same one as my granddaughters! Seriously?!

Full Circle

Throughout this time, I kept going by an apartment complex I rented a unit in when I first moved out of my mom’s home as a young adult. I loved the units, having assigned parking spaces, a washer and dryer in each unit and a fireplace in each as well.

The vampire threat was high in Forks

Late in August, smoke from forest fires overwhelmed the area. My asthma was insane. I couldn’t breathe. I heard a whisper from Holy Spirit reminding me of a gift card I was given for my graduation a few months before. It seemed perfect, I just finished my final undergrad class on August 20th, I would take that gift card and follow the Holy Ghost’s suggestion of a short road trip around “The Loop” of the Olympia Peninsula and out of the smoke, before checking out the apartment complex at the beginning of September to see if there had been any notices for one-bedrooms becoming available.

Forks and the Dosewallips river were gorgeous. The dogs ran on the beach and I tried to plakate my anxiety. I shared time with friends on the Hood Canal, reminding me of a time long ago with my grandparents. All too soon, it was time to head back to find out if anyone was moving out of a one-bedroom apartment or if I was going to have to expand my searching.

I followed The Spirit’s promptings to the letter on that morning. I remember stopping for a few minutes and talking with the grandtwin’s other grandma…then telling her it was “time to go.”

When I walked into the office, my hopes were high. I was not disappointed. The next few days were full of anxious interactions, but by September 20th, I was holding a key in my hand.

But wait, I hadn’t even seen the apartment I applied for!

Housekeys, a concept I had not held in my hand in 7.5 years

On the afternoon of September 20th, 2017, exactly seven and a half years TO THE DAY from the day I became homeless, I held a key in my hand to an apartment.

I followed the assistant manager to the building. To my relief, she was going down the short staircase to the bottom apartment instead of up to either of the second or third floor. I wouldn’t know just how much of a blessing that was until a few months later when I became wheelchair-bound (but that’s another story…).

A Birthday Announcement

Now that I was in the northwest, visiting my daughter at her office was possible. Since her office was next to a physician of mine, it became easy and fun for a few months. During one of these visits, my daughter shared a secret that she and her husband would not make public until the week of my October birthday: They were expecting a baby. Finally.

Newborn infant laying in a baby warmer with a diaper and a cord clamp on a white baby blanket with blue and pink stripes
Jaina Anita Ellen, my 4th grandchild

I happened to be in Seattle visiting my brother, with my mom in late May 2018 when we got the call that my daughter was in labor and on the way to the hospital.

Their precious daughter, Jaina, would be born just after midnight, May 22nd, about a year and a few weeks after I first felt her presence in my personal revelation. The knowledge she was on her way allowed me to prepare myself to be a better grandma for all of my grandchildren.

Reflecting

Two years later, I am still blown away by the blessings showered upon me by God. I still listen to His promptings, and there are many. Few promptings are as profound as being rehomed after 7.5 years of homelessness, full-circle into my first home as an adult with the full mental health support I desperately required just in time for the birth of my fourth grandchild.

God is so good.

A mantle full of gratitude

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