These are the words of Fran Lundquist, the Founder of The Sheepfold.
As I look back over the years, I remember it seemed as though my life was over after the painful loss of my family and my home. But out of those ashes, God has given me twenty of the most heart-warming, fulfilling years anyone could hope to have.
God has a plan for each of our lives and even when we think our life is over, it's often just the beginning of a new one.
Twenty-five years of marriage had ended in divorce for unpleasant and painful reasons. My husband and five children were gone. My beloved 18 year old son had killed himself.
People avoided me because of the nature of the problems. Loneliness and an overwhelming sense of failure haunted my every waking moment. I dreaded walking the hallways of the family home, now with all the doors closed like silent sentinels of my seeming failures as a wife and mother.
Everything I had lived for were gone, except for one thing – my unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. I was too emotional to be able to read the Bible. I could only lie on the floor with my face pressed against the pages, now soggy with tears.
But when I began to think and feel again, God began to comfort me. As I became stronger, I began to want to comfort other women who were alone. I began to pray for women and children who had no one to help them and nowhere to go.
One year went by, then another as I continued to carry the desire to help wounded women and children in my heart. I soon realized God had turned that desire into a calling on my life.
It was when I attended a seminar that the calling was activated. The speaker exhorted those who felt God was calling them to do something, but were not sure what to do. We were to take time when we returned home to get alone, kneel beside our bed with pen and paper in hand, ask God what He wanted us to do, write it down and then do it!
As I knelt before Him, God revealed the vision of The Sheepfold. Beginning with the sale of what had been the family home; putting that money as a down payment on the first shelter; and instruction that I was to trust God to supply all the needs. He would make the mortgage payments and I was not to try to raise the funds. He gave me the assurance there would be continued growth of the ministry.
After finding the home that would be the first shelter, only a miracle could close the escrow when the purchaser (me) had just enough money for the down payment, no money for payments, and couldn't qualify for a loan. But God is a miracle working God.
I lived in the original shelter in Tustin with many, many women and children for over three years and learned how to manage a shelter and a ministry. I learned a lot of things, including how to set rules, mix authority with love, teach women how to clean house, form a non-profit corporation, maintain a mailing list, write a newsletter, keep books, live with strangers, teach the Bible, teach each woman and child to accept Jesus and to live by faith in God.
In the dark of night as I lay in bed, exhausted from the seemingly endless needs of frightened, hurting, displaced women and children, the presence of Jesus seemed to be there, filling me with faith and joy and the knowledge that I would get up early the next morning and do the very same thing again. He made it possible to continue day after day, year after year. He still meets with me in the precious night hours.