Purposefully Homeless

(Please listen to Rachel’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)

My name is Rachel and God lead me out on a purposefully homeless journey, where I was without a home and without a job, trusting Him and depending on Him for over 17 months.

I guess, by no fault of my parents, but I had no idea what God was other than you know, my Savior. And to be a good Christian, you’re nice to people and you go to church, and you’re supposed to read the Bible. But I really didn’t, I didn’t have a grasp on that personal relationship, or how real He really is and how involved He really is.

In college, I followed my boyfriend to Washington State University and joined a sorority. When I traveled across the state to visit one of my sisters, in my house, she took me to a party. I had no context or partying outside of a safe, trusted environment. I was away from everybody and anyone I knew, and she disappeared. I ended up blacking out because this guy was coming on to me, and I was really nervous. Right? When you’re nervous, and you’re partying, you drink more. I ended up being raped by this guy. That was a trajectory shift.

Because I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, I didn’t know to turn to Him. And so I turned to everything that I knew at the time. So I drank more and I just went from relationship to relationship after that, and ended up being sexually abused more than once. A friend introduced me to fitness later that year. I found that it was kind of a eureka moment, where I found strength and control and empowerment through fitness. I thought, man, I have got to let every woman on earth know about strength training, because this is where you get your control back. That turned into personal training, and sports modeling, and putting all of my energy into building a brand of myself, for myself, for the good of building a platform to help women everywhere understand that fitness is your salvation, essentially. I didn’t know I was doing that at the time. But I built this business off of this idea that fitness was God. In every worldly sense, I was crushing it. I was making six figures a couple years out of college. Living in Seattle at the time, had my own personal training business, was training online. And doing all this traveling all over the country doing these jobs. And yet, I didn’t realize that I had been burying all of this trauma and all this pain. I was still living for myself. I’d go to church on Sundays, and then do whatever I wanted during the week. I was in a relationship that was definitely not godly.

Summer of 2011, something changed. There was no earthly reason why, but all of my streams of income just dried up at the same time. I remember deciding to yell at God, blaming Him for this. I started listing off all these things that I had done right, in my mind. Personal development courses, books, and applying all this knowledge, following up with clients and just doing everything in my power, that all the successful people did. And it always worked until that year. So I started listing off all these things, and the audible voice of God shook me and said, “You didn’t do any of that. I did that.”

I found myself on the floor. Because the whole room had shook. And I honestly thought, in that moment, that all of the people in my apartment building were going to come to my room and ask me what the heck I was doing. Because the whole building had to have shook. I even remember checking the newspaper to see if there was an earthquake, and there was nothing. But I found myself on the floor, completely struck by the fear of God. And it was not, it was not worldly fear. It was not the fear of punishment. It was this awe and wonder where I felt equal parts terror, terror and love. And in that moment, I felt so seen and so loved and so corrected. In next six months, I will cry talking about it every time, but He showed me that He was the opposite of what I had been believing that He was. I thought that this post-trauma God that I had been believing in was cross, you know, crossed arms, disgusted, disappointed dad, like, How could you? You’re disgusting. I don’t want anything to do with you. But He saw me as beautiful, and pure, and righteous, regardless of all the stuff that I had been through and had done and had done to me. I fell in love with Him.

So I got baptized that January and He started speaking to me about Los Angeles. So I said, “Okay, I’ll move.” And He provided a place to stay for free for a couple months and in a guest house in BelAir and then provided an apartment. Those are all individual stories of miraculous direction and provision. I thought that that’s how my relationship with God and my life was going to be from there on out. I thought it was just going to be a cake walk. Little did I know that He brought me into a safe apartment in Los Angeles to start stripping me of all this that I had been putting my security in that wasn’t Him.

For the next four years, He did provide for me, but He was teaching me how to trust Him as my provider and not myself. So He took away my business. He slowly but surely took away my clients and slowly but surely took away the consistent modeling and acting income, and there was always just enough. But I remember there being a time specifically where I was so broke. There were specific bills coming through the next day and I was like, “I don’t even have time to go get a job, let alone, make the income to pay this bill. I don’t see a way out. So God, you’re gonna have to be who You say You are.” I was in distress. I was just a face full of tears, snotty tears. And was like “Okay, I’m going to pick myself up, I’m going to go check the mail and get my mind off of this.” In my mailbox, there is a check from a settlement that I didn’t know I was a part of that paid off the entire bill. And $5 extra. And there was a package of coupons from the grocery store that I went to regularly and they were rewarding me for being a preferred customer. There was a free coupon for eggs and a free coupon for oats and a free coupon for unsweetened vanilla almond milk…like all of my exact personal staples, that their computers had been tracking, that gave me free, free coupons for all these things. So I, I was out of food, but He gave me exactly what I needed and the money for the bill. It wasn’t more than enough. But it was exactly enough. It was so awesome. Wow. That wasn’t the only time that He did something like that without the show specific and memorable. So He ended up just drawing me, drawing me deeper and deeper and deeper.

I wasn’t raised this kind of understanding of faith. I’m like, oh my gosh, I gotta go after this thing. There’s so much more. I want more. And if there’s more of Jesus, I want all of Him I can have.

At the end of 2016, the end of a four-year stripping–a really, really hard four years. I was in the middle of trying to get my business off the ground for the fifth year in a row now and He said, “Don’t work.” I had a charity boot camp, I was leading for free. I remember nobody came to it. That was the breaking point. The only person that came was the representative for the charity. It was beyond humbling. And so I took His word for it, I stopped working and I just went into my room and got face down and started learning how to pray really deep intercessory prayer and worshiping, hearing from Him and learning to recognize His voice in more clear ways and He started whispering the word “go.” I didn’t know what that meant. But there was a prophet visiting my church who gave a word for the year. Part of it was, “lighten your load, throw cargo overboard.” And then Holy Spirit started whispering things like, “Be prepared and be alert and get ready.” Like, okay, so I’m just gonna put all these things together and start getting rid of stuff. I sold my furniture that last month. And then I ended up giving a couch to a new friend who I’d just met. He was traveling around the country in his truck, sharing the gospel at AA meetings because Holy Spirit had saved him from drug addiction. He was about to commit suicide and Holy Spirit revealed himself to him and sent him out all around the country doing this. He just happened to be coming through my town that same three days. And the night that I let him stay in my place, I had my best friend and a couple people over just so I wasn’t alone in my place with him. He ended up sharing the story, and Holy Spirit shared with me that that’s what He wanted me to do while he was sharing his story. So I knew that I was leaving without a home in just a couple days. I sold my furniture and packed my car and October 1, I was purposefully homeless. For 17 months, I was traveling Spirit lead. I have a million testimonies in there of how He provided without a job. He gave me a car. He led me into this ministry of healing and supernatural gifts and signs and wonders. And oh my gosh, it was, Yeah, it was amazing.

Whenever I don’t know where to go, when I’m in a city that God leads me to, I go to a Starbucks because they have a public restrooms and free Wi Fi and cheap coffee. So I was at Starbucks looking for an Air BnB because I had a couple bucks to get one night somewhere. (A side note, all of my provision was miraculous–all of it. Because I didn’t have a job. People would randomly send me donations on Venmo, or the cash app, or PayPal or something saying like, “God just put you on my heart, I just want to bless you with this.” God has ways, so even if you don’t know how He’s going to do it, He always, always will. He’s got all the people. He’s got all the finances and all the people and He can speak to anyone anytime and provide for you.)

So, I went to Starbucks and it was kind of funny, because these two obviously homeless guys started hitting on me. I ended up telling my story, like whatever, I’ll just, you know, God uses everything. So this other friend of theirs walks in. He sits down and he is so attentive, and he has a sweeter spirit, you can just tell there was something different about this guy. He hears me mention Jesus and he goes, “Jesus? I’ve just been asking people about Jesus, and nobody’s been able to tell me about Him, will you tell me about Him?” Oh, my gosh, I can’t tell you how excited I was. I ended up going to grab a meal with this guy and hearing his story and sharing more of mine and sharing about Jesus. I just boldly asked him if he wanted to pray and ask Jesus, or and give his life to Jesus, and he did and he was just hands open, weeping. He was a heroin addict. He had lost custody of his child because of his addiction. He wanted to be a good dad. And I don’t know what came over me other than the Holy Spirit. I said, “If I were you, I would go down to the beach right now and get on my knees and just surrender.” And he had Facebook, so I got his information and a couple days later, he messaged me. He said, “I did exactly what you said, and I’ve never felt so much peace. And I’m in the mission now and going through their, their program. So I’m going to get back on my feet.” And he has Jesus now. It’s just amazing.

I had no clue what was going to happen, or how this was going to happen, or where I was going or what I was going to do. All I knew was that He was with me. He would just show me–like when I went out on these walks at night. Umm it was like, We don’t have the spirit of fear, like God is with me. I have nothing to fear. It was just little moments that are hard to like pinpoint, actually, because I didn’t know what they were preparing me for. But just little moments where I was hearing a noise or something and I would just worship through it, or like those walks and Jesus would just remind me like, “Yeah, you have not been given a spirit of fear.” Don’t just read the Word to get information and knowledge in your head. Go to the Word to learn Him–like Jesus, show me who You are. Show me what You’re about. Show me how much You love me and what are Your promises for me? And what can I lean on? And then you test those, when those things come up, it’s like okay, “Well, God, You said that You are my protector. You said that You’re my defender.” And when you are trusting in the Lord, you will not be put to shame. I think that because He led me into it. Like, I didn’t just choose–I’m going to adventure with God and give up all my things. Like it wasn’t a foolish, wasn’t a fool’s errand. I just knew, that I knew that I knew that He was leading me to do this. I didn’t know why, I didn’t know where, I didn’t know what, I didn’t know how. But I knew that He was doing it. And He gave me such a peace for the journey that even if I stressed out about like, I don’t have a place to say, I don’t have money for food. I don’t know where this is coming from. How is He going to do this? All those questions we asked in our flesh. Those are all like, all those are based in unbelief. But as far as fear, like I didn’t have, I didn’t have any fear in this. Like, He leads with peace. He leads with joy. Like, we learn along the road, right? And so He’s expanding the capacity for more as we go. I wasn’t raised with this kind of understanding of faith. This is all like, God spoke to me and then I started you know, hearing about people who had similar faith. That’s how it started. I’m like, oh my gosh, I gotta go after the thing. There’s, there’s so much more. I want more and if there’s more of Jesus, I want all of Him I can have. So, you know, He started speaking to me in new ways and revealing things and it’s just been mind blowing.

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