2023 October #1
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
When things are going smoothly in our lives, it’s easy to be thankful. During those times, we probably wear a smile on our face for no particular reason, and we may even nod greetings to strangers we pass in the grocery store.
Life is good.
But, when tragedy or trauma or unexpected bad news comes our way, things can turn sour pretty quickly. All of a sudden, we can’t see the rainbows through the downpours of the storm.
Life does not feel so good anymore…
Do we lash out at everyone around us?
Do we hide ourselves away from the world?
Do we ignore the circumstance and pretend it didn’t happen?
Do we choose to focus on the “blue sky and sunshine” that we hope will come soon?
There are a variety of ways for how people deal with hardships. But, deal with them, we must…and being grateful for God’s direction during the challenge is important, as well.
However, being thankful during the rough times of life doesn’t always come easy. But, it is possible. Here’s a story from one of our female guests:
“I heard our leader say that perhaps God needed us to lose everything, and remove us from everything, so He
can heal us. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. But, I wrote it down and thought about it a lot.
I wound up at Joy Junction because I was running from an abusive husband. After 30 years of abuse, and
almost not surviving the last beating, I knew I had no other choice but to run. I felt broken and lost. I had no
idea who I was anymore. I felt like an empty shell.
I had planned to kill myself because I was so afraid of the unknown…of what was going to happen to me next. I felt old and used up.
I could not see a future for myself.
So, I packed a backpack, hid a razor inside it, and stuffed some money in one of the pockets. I got on a bus and rode mile after mile, headed anywhere that was far away from my husband. I had planned to end my life at one of the stops the bus made, but I wasn’t sure which stop that would be.
When the bus stopped in Albuquerque, I got off to look around, before purchasing my next ticket. Some young man ran by and stole my backpack. There went my money and my razor blade. I felt defeated. I was very tired and cold by that time, so I tried to find out where I could stay, and someone told me to contact Joy Junction.
I’ve joined the Christ in Power Program and am learning every day what it means to “lose everything and have everything removed” in order for us to focus on letting God heal us. I believe the young man who stole my backpack was used by God to cause me to look for help, which led me to Joy Junction – a safe place to heal.
Many times I’ve heard it said that we [residents] ended up here in the shelter because of the poor choices we’ve made in our lives. I strongly beg to differ. I did not “end up” here. I BEGAN here.
I’m so thankful God directed me to Joy Junction!”
There are all kinds of reasons why people find themselves in a homeless position. Sometimes, it is because of their unwise life decisions. But, sometimes, it’s not.
Either way, it’s a hard place to be in. Our hearts hurt for each one of them. Every day of the year, we witness the relief on the faces of families and individuals who are so thankful to have a safe place to live during a very difficult time in their lives.
We truly want to help them along their journey, which includes encouraging them and lifting their spirits.
So, during the autumn season, when we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s a good time for us to show them that they are important and that we care for them – no matter what circumstance brought them to us.
It is a true pleasure to be able to provide a special holiday meal, complete with turkey, all the fixings, and pie with coffee, for anyone who is homeless or hungry so they can celebrate Thanksgiving. We plan to host this holiday feast at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which will provide seating for hundreds of people.
When all the people show up to enjoy our annual feast meal, our goal is to show them that we have a heart to serve. We want them to be encouraged by that. We hope it reassures them that we really do care. Each one of them matters to us. We hope they feel that.
The Thanksgiving holiday feast event gives us the opportunity to reach out and touch someone’s life in a heartfelt way. Being thankful is a choice. We want to make that a favorable option for those who come to us for help.