Monday, September 28, 2009

Survival

"I preached to gangs on the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx - and miracles began to happen." David Wilkerson

     Living on the streets taught me how to survive.  I learned to fight - to get my needs met.

     I rarely had money. When I did - I spent most of it on drugs. A few social workers went to bat for me - arranged to get me bus tickets, food and even clothes. And there was a guy who worked in the kitchen of this Greek restaurant. I'd go see him usually after suppertime. He always had packages of leftover food for me and bones for my dog. When it got really cold out, I went to this downtown shop and the owners let me sleep in the back of their store.

     Surviving. I got really good at it. I figured things out - how to live - how to get by....How to fight for what I needed.

    But there were things about living on the street that was too hard - things that nearly broke me - the creeps, the jerks, the slimy individuals who wanted to take advantage of anyone vulnerable. I felt like prey to them - an animal being stalked - I kept my distance but sometimes, in my naivity, I trusted the sleekness of their words......

     I used to go to this downtown Christian bookstore to shoot up.Their bathroom was clean and they never hasseled me. They were kind and always let me use their washroom. I wonder if they prayed for me. I bet they did. 
     A social worker helped me get off the streets. She set me up in my own apartment. She even managed to furnish it.  One night I sat on the coach in that apartment wanting to shoot up. I was already pretty stoned.  I accidently dropped the lit match. Within seconds the sofa became engulfed in flames. It spread rapidly through that little apartment including all around the doorway. 

     I sat on the floor stunned - listening to the crackling sounds of the flames and the popping and crashing as things broke from the intense heat. I kept coughing from the overwhelming black smoke filling the room, but I didn't move. I didn't try to get out.  I heard a clear voice tell me he knew and I knew so burn baby burn. I kept asking him to tell me what I knew but he just kept repeating he knew and I knew so burn baby burn. 
     Later - I found out that whole apartment had been gutted by the fire. Completely destroyed. The apartment below and the ones next door were not touched by the flames at all.  

     Survival. The streets taught me that. Grace. That's what God taught me. I lived because of His grace. I survived the streets, the fire and so many other horrible things. His grace. It went so far down to pull me out. 
     Survival. I learned to fight on the street. Grace. He taught me love.

16 comments:

Just Be Real said...

Oh wow Sarah. Was the hand of God ever on you and continues to be on you!!

Never argue that you are not being used of God, you are dear one!!!

You are an incredible survivor and one that has an amazing story to tell!! I am so honored to know you and learn more of you in your writings that are so very encouraging and truly a blessings. Blessings.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Sarah,
I Love You.
Vicki

Tracy said...

It's obvious that God spared you and kept you during those times.

Aren't you so glad that He's teaching you about His grace?! I know I am.

Anonymous Drifter said...

You've survived such a rough experience. God must be watching over you. *hugs*

Andrea said...

I praise GOD for the many miracles you have shared with us. He clearly made a way...preparing you through the hardships and storms of your life for a greater purpose. He never gave up on you.
I thank GOD for all the people HE placed in your path to show you HIS love.
Blessings, andrea

PS: I keep getting dumped off...I suppose the enemy did not want me to say these words to you. I refused to give up. LOVE YOU! Keep up the good fight.

Susan said...

Sarah, after reading this, I wish we could just sit and talk.
Grace is so much sweeter when you've fought to survive through so much. To lay back in His loving arms and TRUST, takes on so much deeper meaning.
Love this post. I'm so glad I came across your blog.

RCUBEs said...

Your stories just showed how much God had protected you. You might not be aware at that time, but it seemed like He brought so many of His angels to help you out [like the social worker, the restaurant's owners, the guy who worked in that Greek restaurant [I love Greek foods! :)]...Until you were in that verge of losing everything in that fire...but His hands rescued you...His grace comforted you. And now, you are one of His angels now being used by the Lord to help out others out here. Blessings to you sister and may the Lord continue to guide you, protect you, comfort you and strengthen you. To God be the glory!

Marsha said...

How did you get out of the fire?

speck of dust said...

Wow!

Deborah Ann said...

Wow, you have so much to be thankful for. Not just that God reached down and took hold of you, but now you have a beautiful testimony to share, and so much more than the rest of us to be grateful for.

Blessings!

nannykim said...

Grace--what a powerful word!

Margie said...

Dear Sarah
You are truly remarkable and you have touched my heart so deeply.

Many blessings to you!

Finally Free said...

Dearest Sarah,

You are teaching me about Grace as I read your blog. I am praying that God uses me to touch people that were where you were. It is so powerful reading how God was with you in your darkest times.

I want to encourage you as you prepare to speak. Your testimony will set people free. I feel His Spirit coming through your writings.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Blessings,
Tammy

Marsha said...

You've come a long way since then, haven't you?

You can try emailing me again if you like, anytime.

If not that's good too.

Just please do keep writing.

Epiphany said...

I smiled when I read the bit about the people in the bookshop praying and you said "I bet they did". I bet they did too. Thank God!!! xxx

Lisa Marie said...

Every story you tell amazes me how much God was there with you, even though you didn't know it. I am reading this amazing book on grace right now and your post reminds me of a lot of things I have read. Bless you.