In every family, there are certain days more memorable than others. Our special day is October 11. In 2011, on this day, our homeless journey began with an act of unprecedented betrayal. To honor the anniversary, we are posting an excerpt from our book about this seminal event in our wilderness.
So far, our trials and hardships were greater than what we believed any family could handle. This was a significant overestimation. Just how far God would allow satan to test us would blow our understanding of faith right out of the box. We were about to experience the crucifixion.
October 11th dawned bright and clear; with few clouds in the sky. Nervously, we stepped out from the bedrooms, not knowing what to expect. As the morning sun rose in the sky, no one appeared. Believing Gavin was bluffing, a false sense of calm descended over us.
The cabin was chilly, so the decision was made to chop some firewood for the woodstove. In an unusual move, we all left the cabin at the same time. Milo and Patches joined us, running around the field, while Wanda and I found a spot with dead wood, and I started chopping. Meanwhile, Ida and Fanny scoured the woods for more sticks and fallen branches.
Though occupied by our work, we noticed Crystal drive up to the cabin. Ida and Fanny went to see what Crystal was up to. Once inside, Crystal had locked all the doors. As Ida and Fanny approached, this Judas in women’s clothing stood there wagging her finger at them; like an angry school teacher. Our daughters returned and shared what happened. This betrayal hit us like a freight train. Gavin soon followed in his truck. He sent his wife before him, to do what he was too afraid to do himself. Gavin, for all of his strong hard words, really was a coward.
Clad only in light clothing, we sat chilled in the woods trying to comprehend what was unfolding. The police arrived and joined the debacle. Gavin called them to enforce his cruel eviction. Being out of the cabin beforehand, spared us from any legal entanglement. With words dripping with condescension and pity, the officers shared tempting offers of a “hot drink at the police station.” Their insistence that “it was obvious we had made some bad decisions” only fueled our outrage. Though sobbing at the painful betrayal and treachery, our resolve had not weakened. Giving credence to island gossip and rumors by being hauled away in some police car, was not going to happen on our watch. If we had to leave, we would move God’s way and not man’s. As a family, we rejected their pithy overture with force. The lead of the Lord had led to this place. We would not betray our God for these people; even if they wore a badge. Satan had made a mistake.
Facing stiff resistance, the police left us alone. Before they left, Wanda demanded that Gavin and Crystal produce our blankets and her purse; with the hard drive and Bible inside. The cool fall day and the shock of betrayal, caused us to shiver uncontrollably. With gratuitous cruelty, Crystal refused to even give us our own blankets. This will always stand out as the archetype of what Judas was; a devious betrayer devoid of love. Once the police convinced her otherwise, Crystal relented. They gave us back the blankets and Wanda’s purse. As this was happening, we saw Gavin drive away. All that remained of what we owned in the world was in the back of his truck. Bitter tears filled our eyes, as we saw our last 2 beloved birds being ripped away. These pitiless thieves stole everything that we had left; including our daughter’s ID and passports. Stripped of everything, we had nothing left.
With no shelter and few belongings, we stumbled across the open field with Milo and Patches. Although there was a road and a highway nearby, we wanted no one to follow us or to know where we were. We left behind the now locked and empty cabin. The clouds swirled about in turmoil, mirroring what was happening to us on the ground. Despite the tears and confusion, we were inured to hardship, so we continued to press forward. As we walked, Ida saw a vision of a giant angel planting a cross at each place we stopped. God was giving us a picture that this day marked the beginning of our crucifixion. It was to last 40 months with 82 moves.
The wilderness is a place that begins with betrayal and ends in forgiveness. Through the years God has taught us what ‘self’ is like within every person. By showing us the complete evil of ‘self’ in others we could see this beast within ourselves. From there we repented and were healed. We have forgiven our betrayers and pray they find the peace they lack. Today we are firmly grounded in faith because of what happened. What once was the anniversary of pain and misery is a now a celebration of freedom.
Not every wilderness will be as brutal as ours but each person must recognize their own betraying ‘self’ nature before they can exit. The whole point of the wilderness is to teach us how to repent and grow in faith. If we cannot learn to lean on our Beloved in this barren place where else will we learn? We pray you find the path of faith that will please our Father.
Homer and Wanda