Junk Mail- by Family Promise Coordinator Joy Mapes

I never thought I would be an undesirable renter. I thought I was doing what I needed to do. I went to college and graduated. I got a job. I paid my bills. The job I had was for a limited term only, so it eventually ended. I got another job, but it was also for a limited term and ended. I now have a new job. While I fervently believe God has been guiding me on a path to this current job, which is both a wonderful fit and a big stretch, this job is only part time, and the pay is less than I what I made at either of my previous jobs.

So I recently found myself searching for a more affordable apartment. Anyone who has searched for housing in Lawrence knows that is not an easy task. An amazing friend kindly and generously agreed to move into a 2-bedroom apartment so we could live together and share expenses. Still, the application process for that new apartment proved to me that in the eyes of the rental world, my part-time employment status makes me an undesirable renter. Without my roommate on the lease, they probably wouldn’t have rented to me without a co-signer. I may not have been able to lease an apartment at all.

These past few months of job and apartment searching have made real to me that homelessness truly can be only one job loss, one medical bill, one car breakdown away. Sure, my parents probably would have let me move back in with them if I hadn’t found an apartment, but some people don’t have parents who can take them in. Some people don’t have friends who can take them in. Some people just lose their jobs, and even after getting another one, still can’t afford a place to shelter themselves and their families. Even college graduates.

After a rather hectic week of moving, I look back and see how God has blessed me. Even things that are usually a nuisance – junk mail, so many unpacked boxes in my bedroom I had to sleep in the living room, cleaning the oven, paying an extra fee on the internet bill – are blessings. I have an address for mail delivery. I have stuff to put in boxes. I have a room where the boxes can go. I have a living room I can sleep in. I have a kitchen where I can bake fudge cakes that make messes in the oven. I have an apartment where I can receive utilities. The blessings go on and on, and when I stop to remember them, I realize I have no reason to complain. God took me from need and provided me with a home. That’s the same goal the families in Family Promise have. There are many ways they may have arrived at homelessness, but God can lead them to a home. I hope and pray God can use us to be the friends who help make that journey easier. Everyone should have a place where they can be blessed by junk mail.