Many families won’t have gifts or decorations or special treats during the holidays. Some won’t even have a home to live in.
Instead of searching for Black Friday deals on toys or gadgets they’ll be searching for a place to pitch up a tent or a vacant room in someone’s home if they can tolerate it.
Some families will be forced to camp outdoors in frigid temperatures or sleep in their cars because their homes are plagued by unsafe levels of mold and other airborne contaminants.
Some families will have to sleep in their backyards because their home contains high levels of Stachybotrys and other biotoxins and they have no safe place to go to.
It’s a struggle endured by many but understood by few.
But I get it.
I know firsthand how it feels to lose your sense of security.
To leave what was your home without money, and while struggling with health issues.
To drive down the highway in a car full of people and not have any idea where you will lay your head down that night.
To pray silently amidst tears that you wipe quickly from your face because you don’t want your children to grasp the gravity of the situation. You don’t want them to see that you are utterly and completely broken and in despair because you just can’t provide a solution. So you wipe your tears while sobbing silently.
I get it, and my heart breaks for those families who are enduring these hardships.
I remember the first time we were left without a home for the summer. It was because the home we had lived in for years was being sold last minute by our landlord. It was our safe home and had tested free from toxic mold several times so we stayed there for as long as we could but then we had to leave.
At the time we were caring for my mother in law who was visiting for six months from overseas and was struggling with some malnutrition and dehydration due to the turmoil in her country of birth. After a few weeks of treatment, my mother in law was doing remarkably well and then we were faced with the reality that we would not have a home to live in anymore.
I remember her look of panic and all of the questions from each member of the family. “Where will we sleep tonight? How will we cook dinner? Mommy are we going to be homeless? What about our pets, where will they live?”
That first season of hidden homelessness was crazy but beautiful at the same time.
Each week we had no idea where we were going to live so we kept praying week after week for God to give us ideas on what we could do.
During those weeks we were blessed to have a few people donate points for hotel stays.
We had to move several times from moldy hotel rooms and we did couch surfing until we found a place that seemed OK.
But things weren’t OK.
Fast forward and we were without a home again, but this time the season of hidden homelessness lasted much longer.
This time we didn’t have donated points so we ended up charging over $12,000 on credit cards for food and temporary stays at a local Inn.
It would take several articles for me to effectively explain everything we have endured during these seasons of life especially the effects on our health and on how we live our daily life.
I share some of what has happened to our family because I want other families to know that they aren’t alone in their suffering. I also want to raise awareness about what is going on under everyone’s noses in the USA and all over the world. Hidden homelessness is a big problem that often goes unreported and people don’t understand why it happens. It can happen for many reasons, one of them being mold.
“Families who end up homeless are not so visible,” says Joel John Roberts, CEO of PATH, a network of agencies in Southern California that provides services and advocacy for the homeless. “We are seeing more and more families hidden in small motel rooms.” “I don’t think many people, when they think of poor families in America, think of a five- or six-person family living in one room with no kitchen,” Source
I know for many of us our main goal during the holidays will be surviving the season with little to nothing, while battling hidden homelessness, failed health and financial hardship. I know many moms and dads will cry themselves to sleep at night.
I know that uninformed people will say hurtful things because they don’t understand the complexities surrounding your situation.
I know it will seem like you just can’t catch a break and you will feel like you’re drowning while bystanders walk past you.
I know the pain and the struggle dear heart.
Sadly I know them all too well.
But I want to leave you with this.
All of the struggles, the pain, the sadness and frustration are creating a solid foundation so you can be used greatly one day. Your life matters and it has a purpose far beyond what you could ever know or understand.
From personal experience, I can say that the amount of people I’ve been able to help as a direct result of my suffering has been astronomical. Over the years I’ve been blessed by being able to embrace and cry with moms who are hurting and encourage families through their journey. If I’d never gotten sick or experienced all of the things I’ve experienced in life I’d probably have little compassion to offer and my ability to help those around me who are suffering would be minimal.
So don’t lose heart. Take a deep breath and release all those things that you cannot fix, to the master fixer of all things, the creator of heaven and earth.
Lastly, something that has comforted me greatly is knowing that on the very first Christmas, witnessed over 2000 years ago, baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were also homeless. So we aren’t bad parents after all. (humor intended)
Chemical Free Gal
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
How I survived Toxic Mold
What Does It Feel Like To Get Sick From Mold/Chemicals and How Can Friends and Family Offer Support
My Experience & Using Diet to Combat the Health Effects of Mold Exposure