You scared me when you drove in the center of the roadway. It never happened, but oncoming traffic could have hit us if you weren’t paying attention.

You scared me when we were coming into my apartment complex one night. The parking lot was almost completely full. You were about to turn into a reserved spot. I just wanted to save you the trouble of pulling in and then having to pull out. So I told you it was a reserved spot. You got so mad. You told me I was disrespecting you. When I was just trying to be helpful.

You scared me when we were at the Formula 1 race and I was picking up your trash as we were leaving. And you told me to put it back down on the ground. You said something to the effect of that’s what the workers get paid to do – pick up trash.

I didn’t feel good about that. But I didn’t want to get into a fight about it with you. So I put it back down. Because I had so many thoughts and emotions about your attitude in the moment. So confused. My brain always like a calculator. Trying to add up what all of this meant. Overwhelmed by what it meant. Because I wanted to be your friend, but I really disliked your attitude about this. But do you cut off a friendship over someone leaving trash on the ground?

All of this is swirling in my head. When your best friend who was with us silently leaned down, picked up your trash you had told me to put down, turned around, and walked away. That spoke volumes. I knew right then and felt bad about second-guessing myself. Felt ashamed that I hadn’t done the same.

It was somewhere in the same three days of that Formula 1 race that we went to Whataburger after being in Austin. And you were so obsessed with keeping your car clean after a muddy day at the track that you took off your shoes and maybe even drove barefoot. Which was whatever – questionable in terms of safety. But I guess that’s mainly on you if you want your foot mangled in an accident.

The part that made me feel unsafe was when you went inside the restaurant barefoot. I had no room to judge. But it was the jarring dichotomy. Of driving a Mercedes you were so freaking obsessed with keeping clean, but then going into Whataburger barefoot – like even most homeless people wear shoes. And I wasn’t even embarrassed for me so much as just worried for you.

That was something I went back to whenever our friendship got too intense and you started to pull away. Putting me down even to my face in order to justify it to yourself. One of your favorites was to throw it back at me that I wasn’t “normal”. That you were going to go spend time with “normal” people instead. I.e. people that don’t challenge you. And I’d always remind myself of that time you went into Whataburger barefoot. Yeah, the “normal” boat sailed away a long time ago for you, buddy. Not in a mean way. But just like facts, bro.

You didn’t want to see it. And I don’t blame you. But just like with me, from birth we both missed the “normal” bus. Nothing about our lives or upbringings set us up for the acceptance of others that is absolutely normal to crave. Especially when you’ve been walking a lonely journey for a long time. Good intentions and loving Jesus got us a long way, but both of us were very tired. So I couldn’t blame you.

You called me on New Year’s Eve. We were sitting together on the phone for quite awhile before midnight. And you were telling me how badly you wanted to be with someone on New Year’s Eve next year.

Those were the times that were so weird. Having you that close but knowing we were miles away. Not only physically but otherwise. Spending all this time with you, at your request mostly towards the end.

As I was already pulling away long before I put my foot down. Because despite the risk I’m taking by putting myself out here like this, I knew all along that you were never committed.

The hard part though is that you would invest. You would spend a lot of time and even money on me. So it was very confusing. Not to mention telling me we could get married if I lost weight.

I was scared I’d lose you if I asked for more, for better. So I never did until the end. It lasted so long because I didn’t hold you accountable. I just took whatever you were in the mood to give. Made do with whatever crumbs were tossed my way. Story of my life, right?

But it felt like there was potential that I didn’t want to crush. Like when I’d tell you that I needed to work and you’d just come over and take a nap on my couch until I was done. You could take a nap anywhere. Why come to my house? To be with me, close to me, when I couldn’t even be there for you?

Those are the times I thought maybe we had something. Maybe there was a future.

Same when I told you I needed to do schoolwork one day. And you suggested we take a drive to New Braunfels. That I could study as you drove. And then we could be in Landa Park while I finished. And you took another nap on the picnic table bench as I worked away for a long time.

Why, Jonathan?! You could have been doing anything else. With anyone else. But you chose to be there next to me – even in silence as I worked away. Why?!

Just to waste time? Just because you had nothing else better to do?

Or did at least a part of you like me and enjoy my company? Did at least a part of you genuinely care?

I never knew what to do. Hot one day, and then inevitably cold the next. You were always back and forth. It got to the point where I started shutting down just to protect my heart. Because the minute I started to trust you and maybe what was being built, you’d feel scared and run away. Leave me alone. Make me feel like the bad guy, the desperate fat loser you were enduring. And I put up with it because I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. That you could and would eventually see deeper than just the surface.

And it was even more difficult because whenever anyone else would talk down to me or treat me badly, you’d sit and talk with me for however many hours it took to get me to the point where I would value and stand up for myself. I was able to put up so many good boundaries with your help. But I never imagined or wanted to use what you taught me to put up boundaries with you!

That was such a difficult thing to accept and do. My favorite person. Had become the one who could hurt me the most. And you’d helped me get to the point where I could even say no to you. The last thing I wanted to do.

I’d go back and forth all the time. Every day. My little calculator mind trying to decide what to do. How much hope was left. Praying, asking God for help. But there was some disconnect in my mind. I was missing something in my logic and it was keeping me in limbo.

That’s where ironically our Bible study and your best friend gave me the answer. We were all there one day. Sitting in the group with the people we had invited to study with us. Me silently torn about what to do. And as if out of nowhere, your best friend’s words cut like a knife through all my confusion over you: “perfect love casts out fear”.

Immediately I knew. And the answer was crystal clear. The reason I was scared to commit to you, the reason I wouldn’t lose the weight, was because your love wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t safe enough. So, and this is more the point, the problem wasn’t me. It wasn’t that I was making things difficult. It wasn’t that I was too broken. No, the problem was your love wasn’t enough.

From that moment on I had clarity. Even if I wished things worked out differently. No longer was I confused.

And it’s totally okay if you didn’t want me. That was never the issue. The problem was at one point you called me your best friend. And you said we could get married. But then you’d disrespect me. And hurt me. That was the problem. That you never wanted to face. Or take accountability for.

I finally had to release you. Stop holding you hostage to my values. When you were clearly fine with bulldozing me over while at the same time telling me not to let anyone else treat me the same. That was such a difficult thing to wrap my mind around.

I finally had to realize I didn’t like that part of you. As much as I wished differently. Reality, as you liked so much to remind me, was undeniable unless I wanted to continue torturing myself by trying to make a home in the endless dissonance between your words and your actions.

And I don’t even blame you. Anymore. You truly were doing your best given the examples you had. I believe that.

And I know loneliness all too well. So I enjoyed your company as much as you enjoyed mine. When it was good for both of us. Maybe just for a time?

I don’t know. I feel like God brought us together for so many different things.

Did I try to overstay what our time together was intended for? Is that all we were? Just stepping stones for each other?

You are gone. You have been gone for a long time. So the verdict seems to be staunchly in.

But, why this book? Is this just the eulogy I need to write before God will let me move on?

Twenty Dollar Bill

Before I moved to Washington, I was so broke. I had a job but it wasn’t paying enough. And I really know it sounds to most like bullshit when I say that no matter what I did it was like everything fell apart or every door closed.

I could throw out a dozen guesses as to why. Including that I probably never would have moved to Washington in the first place if everything had been going well in Texas. And looking back I think there were reasons I needed to be up there.

But ya’ll are going to judge if you want to judge. Condemn if you want to condemn. Even though ya’ll never knew the half of it until now. And even then I’m not giving everything that happened because it would take too long.

But, it’s not like I’m not painfully well-aware of how these stories are often being received. Just so we have that clear before I proceed.

I’m only doing it in the hope that the people who need hope will somehow read it. That’s who I write for. For the person I frequently am and have been for most of my life. Needing REAL hope. Not just empty platitudes.


And so I was in my apartment in San Antonio and I was running out of money. To the point where I had already dug in all the couch cushions and looked under my car seats. Know what I’m talking about? Ever been that broke?

I mean I’m about to get really real with y’all. There was one week where all I could afford was a box of pancake mix, a bag of pinto beans, and a $1 bottle of hot sauce. Yeah, that week sucked.

But it was better than the week when I went into the grocery store and didn’t have enough money for a $0.31 bunch of cilantro for my pinto beans. And I really wanted the cilantro. That was another tough one. I couldn’t believe I really didn’t even have $0.31.

Oh, but it got worse. There was another week where I didn’t have any money at all. But I had a little gas left in the car. So I drove over to the grocery store that had all the samples. And I would walk around and put things into my basket that I knew I couldn’t buy just so I could walk down every aisle and take a sample from every station. Then try to go back through the other way when I put everything back. Double-dip before walking out the door empty-handed. And that’s all I ate for the day. Still so hungry.

Know how desperate I got one day? And I don’t think I’ve hardly told anyone this before. But I was so desperate that I went to the park across the street and tried to see if I could eat the berries that fell from the trees. But they tasted awful and I was afraid they had little bugs that would make me sick. So I decided to go hungry instead.

But George Müller was a hero of mine. Taking care of abandoned kids. And I always loved the story about how he sat all the kids down to eat even though there wasn’t any food in the orphanage or any money to buy some.

And as they sat and thanked God for what would happen, a baker knocked on the door and donated some bread. And then a “random” milk truck broke down outside and the milkman knocked and offered to give them the milk for free so he could reduce the weight on his truck in order to repair it.

Imagine sitting there with a room full of hungry kids that you trusted God to provide for. And you have no strength of your own to feed them. And then out of nowhere comes food and milk right when they needed it!? That’s my God!

And that’s why I believe. Because those are true stories that actually happened to people like you and me. Too random to be just a coincidence. Mathematically improbable.

But not only Müller in the past. Also the preacher at Calvary Chapel. Several stories but one that I remembered especially. When Ron said he was walking across the grocery store parking lot one day a long time ago when he and his wife didn’t have any money. And he was praying and talking to God when out of nowhere some money blew across the parking lot and landed right in front of him. So he could go inside the store and get something to eat.

And so as I was in my apartment, I cried out to God and asked God to do for me like God did for Ron and Paula. I reminded God, and really was only reminding myself, that this was totally easy for God. If He split the oceans for the Israelites and raised Jesus from the dead then surely He could provide for little ‘ol me.

And it wasn’t witchcraft. I need to clarify that. The prayer was for me. The prayer wasn’t needed to twist God’s arm, per se. I had to come to the place where there was none of my own strength left in order to heal things in me, from my past. God wasn’t playing games with me or being tricky. This wasn’t punishment. Although believe me, there was hella temptation to think so. To go there in my psyche. But too many other great things have happened in the past for me to feel abandoned and stricken. Because all of this was happening not too long after the conference in Mississippi – just to name one of many examples.

So I did the only thing I knew to do. And I prayed like I have done in so many situations before. “God, I am Your kid. Please help me. I need money for food and to go do my laundry.”

And then I went outside to sit in my car. Probably to go to the grocery store and see if at least there were any samples I could get to settle my stomach for a few minutes.

And guess what?! I kid you not. As God is my witness, there was a $20 bill laying right by the front driver’s-side wheel of my vehicle! Right there on the ground. Just like with Pastor Ron. In a busy apartment complex with people coming and going all the time.

Wow! God showed off for me again! I was able to go buy myself some food and do my laundry. Just in time.


We were hanging out all the time. And you were sending me long emails about your thoughts as you were studying the Bible. I used to love waking up to those.

And then we’d talk about things you shared as you drove us along all the hill country backroads. Almost always up towards Blanco and then to the west. Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Hunt, etc. My favorite times. Made even better when we’d hash out theological stuff along the way. Not just for merely intellectual belly-gazing. But because what we were wrestling with had significant real-world implications and applications.

And at the end of those talks I always felt so lucky to have them. But also wished so many more people could hear them. I thought so many could benefit from what we discussed.

And to be able to ask the hard questions was what I thought was missing from a lot of churches that would prefer to dismiss them and demand adherence to the rhetoric. As if, and I used to be in this camp, Jesus wasn’t enough. As if it depended on us. To change people. Yeah, I knew that angle intimately. And how much an alternative was needed. I even hoped that could be us one day. For many if God saw fit. But in the meantime, just for those we loved. Because that’s all I could conceptualize with our limited strength – even as we both were scrappy warriors in our own rights.

Which was also what I loved about you – not one to back down from a good fight. I remember you told me many stories about going up against bigger foes in order to do the right thing. One time at school when you were a kid. Another time to protect your younger brother. Another time with at least one corrupt religious and educational organization. All required you to put your neck on the line. And you didn’t back down when many others would have. A lot like me at times I guess. When it would have been easier at least socially for us tonjust go with the flow. But even though we grew up and lived metaphorical worlds apart, somehow God seemed to bring us together at least with that in common.

(Even though we both loved and believed in God, we didn’t always get it right. Clearly.)

So I was living at Doña Rosa’s house at the time. And she barely spoke any English and I barely spoke any Spanish. But somehow through gestures, charades, people translating for us, and the few words we knew from the others’ language, we made it work. She would cook me amazing Peruvian food and sing “Un Dia a La Vez” as she cleaned the house. Over and over all those months I lived with her.

But for several reasons, including her son eventually staying in the living room some days, it wasn’t the right place to invite people over for the Bible study that you said you’d be happy to do with me when I asked. One where we could invite people we knew. Especially those who loved God but didn’t have a church community.

So over and over I’d pray for a place of my own as I worked and went to school. Multiple times a day even. As the desire was so heavy on my heart.

Until one day when my mother called out of the blue. And told me she was moving to Georgia after she got married. Offering to give me so much of her furnishings since she was going to be moving into her husband’s house that was already established.

Now I want to be clear in order to prove yet again the point of how God shows off. It wasn’t just that my mother offered me a few pieces of furniture. No, she wanted to give me so many things that I had to start turning stuff down over and over. That’s our God!

Mind you, I lost EVERYTHING when I left Manna House. All the furniture I brought, most of my kitchen stuff. I brought those personal items with me to Manna House and I put them to use there in God’s name. So I was fine with leaving them for that reason. I didn’t want to be petty and go back and pick through everything to take what was technically mine. Even though the fabulous bed my ex made for me was one of the items that had huge significant and sentimental value. And also the most comfortable chair she and I bought together as part of a pair. That still meant a lot to me. I left it all behind.

So I had NOTHING when I left Manna House except basically clothes, papers, books, and a few family keepsakes. Only what fit in my tiny car at the time.

And yet I wanted a place for a Bible study with you. Where we could invite other people who needed hope.

And God heard my prayer loud and clear! I had just asked for a place. And not only did He get me a corner third-floor unit that looked out over my favorite park. At an affordable price in a complex I always wanted to live in.

But also my mother, without even knowing what my desire or prayer had been, suddenly decided to pack up after over twenty years in Texas – and with a beautiful house that she had painstakingly furnished very comfortably over all that time. Working away and driving her little pickup to go find tons of deals on high-quality items. And now she was offering it all to me for FREE exactly when I needed it.

And it was EVERYTHING I needed. I mean I went from having literally nothing. Not even a fork or a spoon. To having every possible kitchen thing you could need. From silverware to cups to pans to cake decorating items. And gobs of recipe books to match. Down to every linen I needed. From towels, to sheets, to quilts and throw pillows. Not to mention a bed, sofas, armchairs, and even decorations. I think the only thing I needed to buy was a pot holder. Amazing!

And that would have been enough. But then of her own free will she offered to hire the movers and have them load and unload everything. Two and a half hours away. And up three flights of stairs to my apartment.

All without any charge to me. That’s what happens when God shows off!

And so that was my answer to prayer. As us trying to meet in Starbucks for the start of our Bible study. With Julie as our first attendee, wasn’t really that great for what at least I envisioned. Too much noise. Not enough space.

And then all of a sudden there I was with a full apartment of stuff. And able to cook dinners for our studies. Julie joining us first. Such good conversations.

And then… others.


Maybe this should be the lesson for me. I’ve been housesitting a bunch lately. And I’m here tonight after a really shitty week. And this cat is just sprawled out on me. Cool as a cucumber. Belly up, cute bean toes. Purring, even snoring.

That’s what we were born to be like. As kids. There was a time, even when it was all the way back, where we didn’t worry about bills. Where we just woke up and looked forward to what we could explore and get into.

These pets remind me of that. Laid back. Not a care in the world about tomorrow. Just completely in the moment. They trust me to bring the food tomorrow. To refill the water bowl. Etc.

I wish I could be like that with God.

I’m headed that way not by intellectual choice but rather total exhaustion. Some of us are Peters. Some of us take a really long time to give up on our own strength.

Albeit, well-meaning. Glorifying words like “independent”, “self-sufficient”, “responsible”, “self-reliant”, “resourceful”, etc. Also code words for “I never had anybody I could really always trust or count on except my damn self”.

Yesterday I had a tire blow out on the freeway. It was very bad timing. And what should have been a simple fix is going to turn into quite an ordeal. The entire wheel needs to be replaced and it won’t get here for six days. I called the Kia dealership and they said there was only one wheel over 200 miles away. So frustrating.

So of course the condemnation comes raining down.

Even though yesterday was just like any other day. All I did was go to work.

But our minds are wired to seek safety. So we try to fix stuff. And so we try to find something we did wrong in order to gain some control over the situation. In order to prevent this from happening again.

But I think back to Jesus. How Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And then the VERY NEXT VERSE is: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” BY THE SPIRIT!

That’s proof alone that we have no idea what we are doing or talking about half the time in religious circles. All attempting to earn the favor God in order to try to avoid pain. But the Spirit led Jesus into a wilderness of hunger immediately after God said He was well-pleased with Jesus.

And I think abuse for the sake of is a total crock of bullshit. Mostly preached by wolves seeking sheep to fleece. So, no – not everything that happens is for your martyrdom that you cling to in order to avoid facing your desires and disappointments. I’m not signing up for abuse in the name of Jesus anymore.

But I think the main point is we can’t even judge ourselves. And certainly not God. That is eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to go down that road, it will lead not to God judging you – other than to put things back in order. But rather, you will suffer under your own condemnation. Like a crazy person. An insufferable tyrant against yourself first. In that dying, the Life in you will appear almost snuffed out, an ember.

Or you can choose, even now, the abundant Life these creatures model for us. Resting. In our Father’s heart. Not as a schoolmarm sent to whip the last bit of non-conformity and unique individuality out of you. Not pathological submissiveness for the sake of total control in order to pacify my fears and insecurities. No, that’s not Love.

No, real rest. Where you look up in your heart. Where you listen to what you really want. And you say, I say, “I can’t do this, God. I don’t have this. I’m Your kid. I’m not strong enough. I’m tired. I can’t do this anymore. I need You to take over or it’s not going to get done.”

And you know you don’t have to beg for it. What Good Father would give His child a snake or a stone if he asked for a piece of bread? Not my words. He said everything He has is ours to partake of.

Help me see it, Lord. Please help me, Jesus. I believe but please help my unbelief.

I was in Tacoma at the weekly hotel. And thankfully right away was able to score a job at Century 21. Finally in real estate. Finally I could start my new life, right? Start over and move on without you. In a different state. Whole new group of people.

But I was already low on cash. Living almost day by day. And being at the job for nine hours a day didn’t leave much time to hustle food deliveries after work in order to earn money to live on in the meantime.

The dominos started to fall when I couldn’t afford the weekly motel. I then found some cheap decent Airbnbs to stay in on a nightly basis.

One had folks upstairs that smoked hella marijuana. But the house was really cool. Total hippie vibes.

Another was near University Place. Run by a gay couple who were super welcoming and nice. One of the best Airbnbs I’ve ever stayed at. Felt like 5-star service for less than $50/night.

Another was filled to the brim with antiques and artwork. But my favorite part was Sprinkles the dog. 🙂 The owner was overseas and had left his dog alone with the Airbnb guests. Having his next-door neighbor come over and feed the dog. But I know pets and they are super social! They aren’t generally meant to be left alone. So I tiptoed through the house until I found the dog – sitting so obediently but also scared on a bed in an off-limits room. I asked the owner if I could make friends with the dog and he gave me the green light.

First night the dog would let me get close but was still shut down. Second night the dog let me pet it. Third night the dog followed me downstairs for treats. Fourth night the dog was sleeping with me in my bed. And fifth night the dog was waiting for me when I came back from work. 🙂

Even though it was a dog, that meant a lot. Because animals are sometimes better judges of character than we are. They keep it simple. And so I wasn’t a piece of shit – because I had won over Sprinkles. Who could care less what I looked like as long as I brought goodness to her life. Which apparently isn’t enough for most humans.

But as much as I wanted to stay there, I was falling further and further behind even though I was working two jobs.

And eventually the money ran out. I couldn’t afford a place to stay at night if I also wanted to eat and have gas to get to work. And keep my cell phone and insurance.

So I was really homeless this time. Sleeping in my car at night in Tacoma. And then going to my Century 21 job where I was the front desk lady. I.e. trying really hard to not look homeless while being the face for a company that is finding people homes. The painful irony was unfortunately not at all lost on me.

And then working as many hours as I could after work delivering food. Food that I couldn’t afford. When I was so hungry. That also was hours of pain. Being so hungry and not able to eat all this food I was delivering.

At one point I was so broke that I had to ration myself to one Taco Bell $1 burrito for lunch. And one $1 Taco Bell burrito for dinner. Over and over. Day after day. And that shit gets old real quick. I can’t even look at those things anymore without feeling like I want to gag.

But thank God for flashy real estate agents. Because someone was always bringing in food for the office or putting on catered events. And on those days I would be so happy when there were leftovers that I could eat on for a few meals. Trying as inconspicuously as possible to somehow save them for myself and not let them get thrown out.

Bathing is another thing. If there is one thing sexual trauma will do to you, is sometimes make you obsessive about hygiene. (Even as I realize in others it has the exact opposite effect.) But for me, especially until I realized why, cleanliness and not wanting to stink was maybe one of my top priorities. Even over eating.

So this was also extremely stressful. How do you stay clean when you are sleeping in your car? Without climate control to keep you from sweating. Well, thankfully I found a public restroom that by some miracle had hot water. And could be locked from the inside.

So as soon as the sun started peeking up over the horizon, since I really couldn’t sleep anyway because it was so cold, I’d head over to that restroom and change and give myself a bird bath of sorts in the morning. The hot water was really so fantastic.

But eventually I overcharged one of my credit cards just so I could get at least the first month of a Planet Fitness membership so I could go shower there every morning before work. Trying again not to look homeless as I never had any energy to even try to fake like I was there to work out.

Because let me tell you, I consider it an enormous blessing that thus far I always had a car to sleep in at least. Because that was bad enough. I don’t know how people can literally sleep on cold pavement. Because the cold nights would make me feel like I was losing my mind. I would be in tears and feelings suicidal constantly because I could only fall asleep from exhaustion for about twenty minutes before the bitter cold would seep all the way down into my bones and hurt my skin so much.

Then I’d wake up just dreading everything and hoping maybe some time went by. But then fruitlessly looking at the clock just to see that I had hours to go before the sun would come up again.

Often on my lunch breaks I’d just crash in the car and sleep in the sun instead of eating. Just to get enough rest to keep my eyes open and my brain from completely going off the rails at work for a few more hours. Which is the catch-22. Because you need the job in order to be able to get out of homelessness. But the homelessness is making it almost impossible for you to keep the job.

And that’s where I was one night when I just reached desperation. And cried out to God. “I can’t do this anymore, Lord. I don’t want to lose this job but I can’t go on like this!”

That’s when I felt Spirit specifically remind me, “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.”


“But what am I supposed to do with that, God? That was the disciples. Not me.”

Or was it? Isn’t this the same God now as back then? Isn’t my God the same God as Peter’s God? And we lift these people up, but they were just the same as you and I. Just regular guys. That’s specifically why Jesus chose them. Versus the pompous religious leaders that most can’t relate to.

So the idea came into my head, because God mercifully knows my pride, to ring up local churches and ask if there was anyone that had a room for rent in exchange for some kind of work I could do.

And so I sat there in my car that night and I looked up local churches in Tacoma. First I looked up the big huge church that I drove by multiple times when I was delivering food. I mean on the level of what you could call a cathedral. Then I reached out to a local Calvary Chapel fellowship since that was what I was used to. And maybe some others. And to save you the suspense, I don’t think any of them even responded.

But as I was looking for more churches that night, all of a sudden the thought occurred to me that I had sought churches along the lines of my new spiritual beliefs in Seattle, but not in Tacoma. Because Tacoma was never in my plans. So it never occurred to me.

So immediately I Googled “Baxter Kruger Tacoma” because that name is unique enough that it will usually quickly pull up like-minded folks. And to my great and happy surprise – finally – there was a church nearby with similar beliefs! One of the members had written the most welcoming invitation on their website and immediately my heart was filled with cautious hope! “Please let this not be a trick, Lord.”

The crazy thing about it is that it was in Port Orchard. Which I had never heard of before. And was a Nazarene church – which I had never been to and knew nothing about. So again, none of it made any sense on paper. But, God. And if they were vibing with Baxter then they were good enough for me. More than good enough.

So I reached out and sent them an email. But I still tried to maintain sone dignity so I didn’t fangirl too much. I just acknowledged their beliefs, touched on my situation, and asked if anyone had a room for rent in exchange for work.

Not even maybe fifteen minutes later, the pastor’s wife called me. And she sounded like she cared. Which made my tired soul cry with hope. I hated my situation, but maybe this meant things would start to change for the better.

She asked if she could give my number to one of their church members. Of course I said yes. And later would find out the lady she gave my number to was the same one who wrote the beautiful invitation on their website. The one that had spoken to my heart. How cool is that?!

So the lady she gave my phone number to called me almost immediately. And asked if I could meet them tomorrow at a pizza place. I said yes, hoping and praying they’d pay for the pizza since I didn’t have enough to contribute.

The next day I was so nervous. I hated being in this position. I would much prefer to be the giver than the receiver. I despised the shame of my lack of funds. But I showed up with as much humility and dignity that I could muster while wearing my “Never Give Up” shirt. The pastor was there with his wife. And then Kathy, the lady they gave my number to, the one who was also the invitation writer.

And it started out basically like, “Tell us what’s going on.” And so I recounted how I basically had a faith crisis which led to my eyes and ears being open to consider a more beautiful way. That I subsequently was so happy about that I wouldn’t back down and ended up losing my entire church community.

I didn’t even bother bringing up you; which was the maybe deeper wound to my heart. But I figured the church stuff was enough. And it was. They had each other but had also experienced significant rejection. Someone later told me the congregation had been much bigger but many had left because they had not been happy with the current teaching. Because it was different than what they were used to.

So immediately I was drawn to and my heart went out to these people and especially this pastor for being so strong and courageous in the face of what I am sure was immense heartbreak and frustration.

And I am not speaking for them when I say this, but from my perspective that night over pizza, I wondered if the thought crossed their mind as I was talking: “She’s saying all the right things. Why is she homeless?”

Whatever happened in their minds, this meeting was my first light in Washington. And even if I went back to sleeping in my car, I felt refreshed. I felt hope again. Maybe I’d finally start over and be in a community again.

Well, the pastor and his wife said goodbye. And thank God someone paid for my pizza. Which I was desperately trying not to scarf down even though I was painfully hungry.

And so I was there with Kathy at the table. And I was expecting her to say goodbye but she, with so much class, waited until I was alone with her in order to save me embarrassment. And she asked me what she could do to help me that night. She offered to get me a hotel room. And I said if she wouldn’t mind, she could get me a much cheaper Airbnb room that had a cute little dog named Sprinkles. 🙂

By the grace of God, she trusted me with her credit card information in my Airbnb app and booked me a the room so I had a warm place to sleep and shower for the night. I was so grateful!


Yesterday was so frustrating. I intended to end the day in San Antonio. And knowing the circumstances, that wasn’t too much to ask for. But everything didn’t work out like I expected. And I ended up clear across the State in Dallas. But I didn’t freak out… too much. Because this is the life I’ve been living going on almost five years now.

Ever since I heard William Paul Young tell his stories about “living in the grace of each day”. Real things that happened to him. That you can’t figure out unless you factor God in.

And so I prayed and asked God for that life. Specifically to have stories like Paul. And here we are five years later. Not only day by day, but also hour by hour. Minute by minute.

Again, not at all as punishment. But whew, hang on for the ride! This life is FULL of adventure! And FULL of God!

So there I was in Friday Harbor with friends from Calvary Chapel San Antonio. And again, I think okay maybe God wants me on the island instead of in Seattle? Makes some sense since my friends are already there.

So after my friend takes me around the island, I immediately jump into applying for jobs on the island and looking for somewhere to live there. And there isn’t very much industry on the island, so I applied for pretty much anything and everything I thought I could do. And surprisingly received an interview almost immediately.

I went to the interview all gung-ho. Maybe this job would be the one and I could finally get my career going. It was with what I might as an uninformed person refer to as more of an artisanal manufacturer. Which of course was not what I wanted to do. But at this point I was homeless and jobless so I needed money ASAP. Just like my momma taught me, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

The best part was that the job was literally right down the street from where my friends lived. So that seemed like maybe a blessing from God.

But when I went in for the interview, the owner gave me the creeps. Bad vibes. And then the employee that he had showing me around talked about how the company was in the middle of lawsuits against them. What are the odds? The manager from the last job was also bad vibes and then the commercial real estate research company I was employed by prior to Washington had gone under because of lawsuits.

So of course I was hesitant to accept the position. And I think I asked for time to go back and think on it. I didn’t want to end up in another bad situation just out of desperation. Right, Lord?

So I went back to my friend’s house. And mind you, she had invited me several times to stay with them. Was very enthusiastic about me staying there. We had just come off spending a whole nice day together. I had given her my Dyson vacuum since I wasn’t sure when I’d have my own place again. And I thought everything was fine.

I had even kept my mouth completely shut about the change in my spiritual beliefs because I specifically didn’t want that to cause division between us.

But when I returned from the interview, we started talking as I was telling her how it went. And telling her my reservations about accepting the offer. When seemingly out of nowhere she mentioned that when she first knew me, I was so uber-religious that I was basically annoying. In that I would initiate prayer basically over everything. I think she specifically mentioned prayer of meals. And how I wasn’t basically being an annoying religious person anymore. She could see I had changed. Even though I was specifically avoiding talking about my changed beliefs.

Well, I tried to keep it light. I responded by saying that I still talk to God all the time. Probably even more so than before. But I explained that now I see it as more of an ongoing conversation in the sense of as if there was someone beside you all the time.

In other words, I see myself as God’s kid. And even though I don’t see God, I feel like what good parent would leave their helpless kid alone in this crazy world? So why wouldn’t God be there with me 24/7/365 also?

So prayer isn’t formal for me like it was before. Now I just talk to God as if Trinity is always there. Very casual.

And I know how I phrased that last sentence might bother some people. And maybe that’s what bothered my friend. Because the next thing I know, after what I thought was a good day, she is telling me that having me in her house is like having someone do cocaine at her dining room table!?!

And I’m thinking, “What?!?! Just because I don’t pray out loud anymore!?”

Because she intimated that basically she had turned into the religious person I used to be. In some ways. And so now she could see I was wrong for abandoning the way I used to be. Even though she previously found it annoying.

Talk about feeling like you can’t win for anything. So my religious friends now think I’ve lost it. But then my non-religious friends think I am too religious.

So frustrating and sometimes disheartening. IF I take it to my ego. IF I choose to focus on what is happening in front of me. Versus the bigger picture. Which I think looked more like a change really was so evident in me even without words that I think it scared her. I think she saw a freedom that maybe she wanted deep down. And she didn’t know how to handle the dissonance between her feelings and the spiritual narrative she knew. So instead of sitting through that and all it meant, the easiest thing to do was make me out to be bad and push me away. That way she could go back to her life that fit nice enough into a predictable box.

And I can’t blame her. EVERY SINGLE THING about my life has been turned upside down since this journey started for me. And I was raised without any real roots. I have no hometown. I have no established community or church or even really family that I grew up with. We moved all the time. New people and new places all the time. And the impact of my entire world changing has been really difficult even for me. One who is probably more comfortable with change than most.

I remember one time there was a preacher’s wife who accused me of “sowing division” or something like that in the church. Because I was sharing what had been happening in me. And I looked her straight in her eyes and I said, “Have you even read anything that I’ve written about this?” And she said no.

So she was judging me based off of what other people were saying about me. Having never even given me a chance. To hear me out.

I was really sad about that. But immediately after that conversation, I talked to God and basically asked, “What is up, Lord? Why is she being like that?” Because this is someone that was not a shrinking violet. Someone that I loved and respected very much.

And I felt like God said back to me, “Did you see the look in her eyes? She is terrified. You are challenging everything she knows. The ramifications are too much for her to consider right now.”

That’s what God does. Gives you empathy for those that have the ability to hurt you the deepest. I couldn’t even be mad. Even though I was very sad and very disappointed. But God just poured compassion in my heart for these people.

My friend in Friday Harbor, this preacher’s wife, and even another female I once considered a best friend. She did the same. I tried to talk about what was going on with me. Someone who previously gave me so much grace. But she was also so entrenched in this community that not long after I started sharing she told me she didn’t want to hear anymore. That she knew everything she needed to know. And then eventually said I was with the “antichrist” and I think warned people about me.

It’s just fear. Because you will absolutely lose everything and everyone related to your old life if you start to change. It has felt soul crushing. One of the most difficult things I have ever been through. Even as I never want to go back to where I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually before.

So my friend in Friday Harbor saying having me at her house was like letting someone do cocaine at her table was a shock to say the least. And just like with the previous property management position, I knew things would get worse and God would send more “plagues” if I didn’t get my butt out of “Egypt”. So without getting into a knock down drag out fight about things, I turned down the job I had applied for on the island and told my friend that I would leave the next morning since I had to buy a ticket and wait for the ferry departure.

She didn’t fight me at all. She offered to take me to the first ferry in the morning and that was it. Never saw her again while I lived up there.

And so now again I am homeless. Can’t get any traction for shit. What are you doing, God?! I know I’m Your kid and that You love me!

So I looked for a cheap place to stay until I could figure something out. And let me assure you, there is no cheap decent housing in the greater Seattle area! But the cheapest I found was an only slightly scary weekly hotel in Tacoma.

Now let me preface the rest of this story by saying that when I drove through Tacoma on my first trip to the PNW, I am pretty sure I said to myself, “I would never want to live here.” But God has jokes, eh? 😆

And so there I was in Tacoma. At this hotel where the pot smoke permeated the entire building, people were fighting outside, and there wasn’t even any electronic locks. It was so old that they just gave us literal room keys. On top of charging like $30-45 a week just to park in the hotel parking lot.

But on the first day I woke up to this gorgeous view of the bay with the mountain in the background. And at night I would sit at the window and watch the planes fly into Sea-Tac. Which was both amazingly beautiful but also painful because all I wanted to do was show it to you.

As far as deserts go, it wasn’t half bad. I actually still really miss that view.

But what are you doing, God?! Why can’t I get any traction?

Yesterday after I was expressing my frustration to God about all my plans being upended, Spirit gave me insight into why everything changed. It was better for me to be in Dallas today due to business. More work. Everything made sense.

But what about the rest of my life, God? I have all these stories, but am I just wandering around lost or are You up to something? Will any of this ever come together to make any sense?

What Now?

I am really fed up with thinking about the subject matter of this third book. I risk being so vulnerable and I wonder if I’m kicking myself by doing so. But we’re already this far in. And it doesn’t feel like my life is going to be able to move on until I finish. So, here’s more.


I’m so frustrated today. I had a completely realistic plan for the day. And as per usual, not even the most simple things went according to plan.

It hasn’t always been like this. There have been periods of my life where it seemed more predictable. All I had to do was put in the work. Plug and play. Plan and then execute.

But for especially the past five years, it seems like every freaking thing that can go wrong, has. And on days like today, ten hours of driving, I just get tired of this journey. Tired of all this adventure that I know I prayed for.

And I would really like to sleep now, but this story about Washington has been coming to mind the past few days. So again, not chronological with the other posts. But it seems to want to be written.


Sojourner invited me to the Northwest School of Theology conference. It was going to be held in Bend, Oregon.

Ironically my paternal grandmother only took me, by myself, on one trip with her my entire life. And that was a trip to Oregon that included a stop in Bend. Decades before. So odd. You wonder sometimes if that was a God thing.

But anyway, so I went to the conference in Oregon. Visited my cousin for the first time as adults. And her family. Always had wanted to meet them all.

And then on that trip, I also made it up to Friday Harbor to see friends from Calvary Chapel San Antonio.

Even spent my birthday up in Oregon. And it was absolutely one of the best almost two weeks of my life in many ways. The Pacific Northwest was so beautiful that I literally cried when I had to get on the plane and come back to Texas.


And this next part of the story probably deserves more explanation than I want to give right now. But suffice to say that my job as a commercial real estate field researcher had unexpectedly abruptly ended months before when the company went out of business a few days before Christmas. And that really was a huge blow to me. Because I had a certain narrative planned out for my life and then it was clear that there was nothing left. No going back. No way to salvage the story I had been telling myself. That had been giving me hope for so long.

All I was left with was a lot of space and emptiness. And nothing I did seemed to fill the space and give me a life back. I was just left reeling. No direction because I didn’t have a way to resolve what I had wanted with what was really happening. And I couldn’t ever get going long enough to have anything to look forward to. In the sense of relationships, education, and career.

And so in the midst of my losing everything. CCSA first, then friends, then you, then my job, then my career, then my health, and eventually even my apartment.

The only thing that seemed to be thriving was my spiritual life. That was definitely on fire. More than ever before in my life. And without my help. Truly just feeling completely in the flow. In Spirit.


So when I came back from the conference, since I was losing everything in Texas, on a whim I decided to see if there were any jobs available in Washington or Oregon. And like so many times before, it felt like God rolled out the red carpet for me. Because within the first hour of looking for a job in the Pacific Northwest, I found a property manager position that provided housing. So I sent my resume over and was hired within twenty-four hours. And then scheduled to start within almost a week.

It felt like answered prayers. Finally I’d be able to move on from you and start a new life in a new place. Granted I thought of you everywhere there, but at least there were no memories of people I loved around every corner like in specifically San Antonio.

That was my plan at least.


Even Julie paid for Pam to go on the trip with me since Julie couldn’t go and she didn’t want me to be alone. And thank God for her and Pam, because I wouldn’t have made it doing all the driving on my own.

And then my brother was a long-haul truck driver at the time. And he told me exactly where to stop and what roads to take to get to Seattle. If I had followed Google’s directions, it would have been probably a bad trip. But my brother’s knowledge was spot on. Pretty perfect. Again, it felt like confirmation that this move was ordained.

Even I had never driven mountains before. And I was really scared because I was driving an automatic versus a manual. But Pam’s brother was familiar with the mountains and he walked me through how to drive it so I didn’t burn up my brakes. Even though they were smoking after coming out of the Eisenhower tunnel and making it to the bottom. Again, Pam’s brother helping us seemed like additional confirmation.

And so Pam and I rolled into Seattle less than I think two weeks from when I had arrived back from my initial visit. Ready to start a new life without you. Ready to move on.


But almost immediately everything started to turn sour. When I rolled up to the property, I could tell it wasn’t what was represented to me in the pictures provided by the owner when I accepted the position. Turns out the pictures represented only a very small corner of the property that had been renovated in the sense of putting lipstick on a pig.

And instead of dealing with the owner like I had initially been doing, she handed me off to the property manager. Who I was almost certain was addicted to some kind of stimulant.

Then one of my neighbors at the property was smoking marijuana. And the addicted manager tried to get the owner to think it was me that was smoking the place up. As my apartment was right above the office. And I don’t really care what other people do, but I have never smoked a day in my life. So it was so odd that I was being grilled and accused of this by two of my superiors. Especially when it was totally obvious to me that the manager was not functioning well at all due to her addiction. Talk about projecting. Looking back, I wonder if she setup the whole thing – even the smoking part – just to get rid of me. As I wouldn’t have condoned the party vibe she was running the place in. And under.


I was literally only there a week, but it felt like a lifetime. During the course of that week, the cops were on premises almost every day. On the last day, four times. Even involving a chase.

And someone told me some famous serial killer had murdered people around the river that ran behind the place. I mean I knew nothing of all this when I took the gig. And God could have given me a heads up. But no, I am confident He gave me the job to get me up there. But all along had no intention of me staying.

Because I was ready to grin and bear it like a good girl. Just muscle through it. Starting over without you. Without everyone in Texas.

But there are some things I can’t do. And children being hurt is my limit.


That last day started out weird. I couldn’t get my body going at all. I slept for hours and hours and hours before work. As my job consisted of being on call overnight.

And then shortly after I went on call, I heard the neighbor and his woman arguing next door.

This was too reminiscent of childhood when I’d lay on my bedroom floor and watch under the door as my parents argued and fought for hours. So already I was on edge.

But then I started hearing what sounded like furniture being thrown around. The fight escalating into physical violence. And I knew there was a kid in that apartment so I couldn’t just turn a blind eye.


There have been so many reports of innocent bystanders getting killed by the aggressor in a domestic violence incident when trying to intervene. One happened in San Antonio. Where a Good Samaritan was murdered when trying to help a domestic violence victim in the middle of an assault.

And on more than one occasion, I had witnessed assaults in progress when driving a taxi. Even helped a woman escape an abusive marriage in a dramatic story that I can tell another time.

And another time when I pulled up on a lesbian couple outside of a club where one partner was literally full on punching the other in the face. That time I shined my headlights on them and slammed on the car horn as loud as I could until the one stopped punching the other and the rest of the people in the area were paying attention to what was going on.


But those were all strangers. And this was literally my next-door neighbor. So the risk for my safety was immensely higher. But there was a kid in the apartment so I couldn’t just wait and see. Therefore I called 911 and reported it.

Then I did what I thought I should do and notified the manager. Well, long story short, her response was to tell me NOT to call the cops. Because it turned out the couple was arguing about her! Because she had been hanging out with the man and the woman was unhappy about it. Obviously.

Well, I told her that the cops had already been called. And so I stayed in my apartment now even more scared. Because surely she was going to tell them who was the snitch that sent the police.

I listened with urgency and waited for the cops to arrive. I could hear the conversation as the woman who was probably being beaten up answered the door and completely denied everything. She denied any violence was happening or that the man had even been there.

The cops even asked to talk to the kid. And he wisely denied anything. Without knowing if he’d he safe if he disclosed.

And so at least the fighting stopped for the night, but I didn’t feel good about this at all. And I had a feeling it was going to get worse if I tried to stay. As I like to put it, sometimes it’s like God says to me, “You can leave Egypt now, or I can send you as many plagues as it takes to get you running out of here.”

But where do I go? Well, the thought came to mind of my friend from CCSA in Friday Harbor. She had told me multiple times that I was welcome to visit when I moved up there. So in the middle of the night I called her and asked her if I could stay at her place until I figured out what to do next. Thankfully she welcomed me right away. Told me which ferry to catch in the morning.


And so right away I started packing everything up. But I was still scared of the man next door. I think the manager had come and picked him up and hidden him before the cops arrived. But she obviously returned him because I could now hear him again on the other side of the wall again.

So I tried to wait as long as I could and prepared all my stuff at the front door so I could move it as quickly and quietly as possible. But eventually I had to finally step out or else I wouldn’t make it to the ferry on time. So I opened the door a bit and peeked out.

There he was. Staring right at me! Smoking a cigarette. Looking smug as fuck. Knowing damn well he got away with his violence and wanting me to know it.

He was a huge man. Much taller, stronger, and bigger than me. So I was petrified. If he even halfway tried he could easily have overpowered me. But now that I opened the door, I had to do my best to face this demon like all the others I’ve faced before.

And so I acted as nonplussed as I could while also every hair on my body stood on edge. And I started loading my things to the car. He stayed out there smoking right in front of my door the whole time! Menacingly.

At one point he laughed and said, “Leaving already?”

Again, doing my best to appear unafraid I cooly replied, “Yeah, this is way too much damn drama for me.”

To which he smirked and replied, “You have NO idea ALL that is going on here.”

That was all I needed to hear to confirm all my suspicions.

I think his only other comment was to say that I was like the seventh or eleventh manager just that year!!! So obviously the problem wasn’t me. I was healthy to leave ASAP.


But why, Lord? Why did you roll out the red carpet for me to just come to this? Isn’t my life already hard enough?

The challenge is to not let our circumstances convince us that we’re being punished or abandoned.

But homelessness will REALLY give you a run for your money in that respect. Pun intended.

And so there I was again. After all God had blessed me with over the years prior: He allowed me to be homeless again.

What should I do now?