When I set out to join the Harvey Relief effort, my mind was on the work that needed to be done and not necessarily the people that needed the help. For many different reasons, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with “people”, but I’ve been praying for God to open my eyes to see people as He sees them. To see each person as special, that each person has value, and that each and every person is worth the outstretched hand; the extra mile.

On the first night in Houston, Holly began speaking about the reality the Williams family was and still is facing and I broke down. That night God began working in me the way He planned to during my trip. Over the next few days while serving in Houston, God laid out clearly and boldly that I didn’t just need Him in times of trial and tribulation. I found myself leaning on Him for strength, comfort, wisdom, and a heart for others. I was leaning on God when everything in my life was good, which is a weakness in my walk with the Lord. One of the biggest encouragements to me was the joy that was coming from this family who literally lost everything. Their faith in God was still so strong during this time of despair. It made me evaluate my own faith, and opened up deeper communications between God and I.

On the last day of the trip, there was a testimony given that touched me deep to my soul. I related with this person in so many ways, and to see his passion for the Lord was an encouragement and inspiration in itself. However, one particular part had me furious at God for even putting me in the same room with him. This person had committed an act that I was a victim of in my own life. I was confused, angry, and just all around upset. That is until he began making amends to EVERY victim (not just theirs) from EVERY perpetrator. God used this one person’s testimony to break the chains that I have been living under restraint for 20 years. God put this person in my life to show me that He loves everyone, not just who I think He should, and that we all can receive His grace. I thought I had freed myself from owning any faults in what happened to me. It wasn’t until this one incredible person gave their testimony that it truly sank in.

I set out on this trip to do physical labor. I left the trip with a renewed heart for people, a freed soul, and a calling from God to return to Houston to continue serving His people and to see how else He will transform me.