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What Brought Me Here: Marlene's Story

Do you know what you brought me today?

When I was packing for my children and me to come to the shelter, I was half out of my mind. My hands and feet were moving not of their own accord but by the grace of the Holy Spirit. See, I asked the Lord to deliver me from my own home. I cried and begged for Him to help me leave for the sake of my children. I didn't know what to do or where to go until He opened the door of His Sheepfold for us to come in for shelter and safety.

Like many families that come here, we arrived in a state of frenzy. We did not know what to expect. We gathered a few belongings that we could and literally fled from the only home we knew. Some of us get here with just the clothes on our back. You can imagine how frightening it is for a mother to step into the unknown with her children in tow. The unknown seemed scarier than the chaos we needed to leave behind.

I remembered it was a rainy morning when we left our home. My heart was aching and I was trying to look brave and in control in front of my children. As soon as we walked into The Sheepfold house, my children and I felt God's presence. That is the first day you, my dear Sheepfold provider, fed us our first meal.

As we began to unwind from the hectic life we left behind, we started to settle in to life at The Sheepfold. The daily schedule and chores provided a consistency that was a comfort for me and my children. The Bible studies strengthened and grew my knowledge in the Lord. The guidance and love I received from the house managers kept me going when at times I felt I couldn't go on.

Living at The Sheepfold house is an eye-opener at how generously the Lord provides. In our Bible studies I learned that according to the Bible the women and children that are abandoned or neglected are considered widows and fatherless. I also discovered that when we turn to the Lord, He becomes our provider and a Father to our children and He is faithful and will never leave nor forsake us.

When I read Fran's book, she described what a sheepfold was. It was a shelter where the shepherds gathered the sheep at night to keep them safe from the weather and wild animals. The shepherds would lay their body across the door of the sheepfold to keep the animals from coming in and harming the sheep.

You dear Sheepfold provider, have also become one of the shepherds that help tend and guard the sheep. You have been God's hand and feet in providing for us. There are many times I have been surprised at how God has prompted you to bring us exactly what we needed or just what we wished for.

In addition to our basic daily needs like food, clothing and shelter, you have brought us the special touches that show us how thoughtful God can be in taking care of His sheep. My first week at the shelter, I was washing my face in the morning and was regretting that I didn't pack my face scrub. At lunch, the house manager surprised us with Valentine baskets and guess what was in mine?

Last Christmas the Women's Pastor at our church read a short book to us and it touched me to tears. I asked her what it was called but I forgot to write the title down. Ever since then I have been looking for this book and longing to read it again. On Easter, baskets were given to all the moms and kids. In my Easter basket there was a little book called "My Heart, Christ's Home." As soon as I held it in my hand
I knew it was the very book I have been wanting. It felt like God handed me this book Himself.

One day my daughter mentioned she wished we had those little peach cups we used to buy at home, that same week that exact peach cup she was missing was donated by one of you.

Sometimes we go to the store to just browse around. My kids were looking in the toy section and I was holding a musical duck up to my four-month old son and I was just enjoying seeing him laugh at the toy. The next day our house manager came back from a trip to The Sheepfold office and brought back the same toy for my son. My daughter who was with me the day before at the store couldn't stop smiling at my unbelief that God brought us the same toy the very next day.

There are other times we're blessed in such a fashion, but these things didn't just happen to me. A past resident visited the house one day and she shared a similar story. A car was donated while she was here and she was just overwhelmed at God's provision, but that's not the part of the story that blew me away. She mentioned there was a worship music album she had been wanting for so long and was saving up for. When she got in the car the previous owner left a CD in the player and can you believe it? It was the music CD she had been wanting.

There are many stories like this for women at The Sheepfold. God is good, and He is good all the time.

I wanted to thank you dear Sheepfold provider for the things you do and bring us every day. Thank you for volunteering your time to repair something or help clean one of the houses. Thank you for coming to Saturday nights to play with and teach our kids so that the moms may have time for group support. When you think of The Sheepfold and pick up that extra item at the store while you shop, chances are God is using you to bring one of us something specific. It may be just what we needed or just what we wished for.

May God bless you for your thoughtfulness and generosity, please know just how much you have done for so many women like me and our children. Thank you for allowing yourselves to be God's shepherds in His Sheepfold.

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