Often times, things do not go as expected. Shawanda and her family were introduced to us by Safe Haven Family Shelter, and what a wonderful introduction that was. As Shawanda shared with the team how she ended up in Nashville, we found ourselves wanting to know more.
Living in Georgia, Shawanda spent the time she was not at work helping those less fortunate. “Me and my children would find people in need and help them out of the back of our car if we had to.” She often volunteered or found employment that was based on her passion for helping anyone. Her faith in God has been a great motivator in everything she does, and everywhere she goes. Despite a list of things that she didn’t expect to happen, divorce, a low budget, a client stealing her car, she continued to encourage those around her and thank God for the blessings in her life.
Shawanda said that she became curious about Nashville 3 years ago – a time when it didn’t make sense to pick up and move. Somehow she knew she would eventually move, so she started to look up the city and learn about life in Nashville. Unsure about her curiosity she went on with her daily life. One event after another would lead her to leaving behind a place she once called home, all of her belongings, and the security of what was familiar. She was headed to that city with her three children and the faith that God , “would not just open doors, but fling the doors wide open!”
The living room of our cabin turned into a platform on which Shawanda stood and encouraged an entire group of encouragers. Shawanda went from being a case manager with Goodwill for the homeless to living in a homeless shelter, from having a brand new car to having a car stolen. They went from a city they called home to a place they didn’t know, to standing in front of a group of anonymous people like they were old friends quoting, “I see the work of [God’s] hands,” from “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave. “I know I am here for a reason, and now I can tell the people I am helping, ‘I have been where you are.’”
There was a quiet moment before she went out to receive the car that she spent alone with her three beautiful children. It was mostly unspoken, but she interacted with her family with a sense of gratitude and great humility without even seeing the car! Because all that mattered in that moment was, all of this was for a purpose, that she is about to move into a new house, and drive away in a new car. The doors had indeed been flung open wide! It was evident things went exactly as she expected!