Salvation Army shelter provides a new beginning

Ivy D. Gibson | Photo courtesy Ivy D. Gibson

Ivy D. Gibson | Photo courtesy Ivy D. Gibson

Stay at a Salvation Army Shelter provides direction, hope and, a new beginning

By Ivy D. Gibson – 

I’ve been presented with many things in life that have taken me places I thought I would never go, see, or consider. A shelter was one of them. Coming from a hard working middle-class single parent home, I was always taught to be humble and not let my pride get in front of me. Well, I did, and soon began to see my life turn upside down.

In the midst of pride, I also was coping with an addiction to alcohol. As you can imagine, those two things do not mix. I began to turn against my family, friends and jobs for my own selfish ways. Life became miserable, unbearable and lonely. So one day, at the point of no return, after losing everything I had worked so hard for, I asked God to lead me to a place where I could regain my strength, faith and focus back.

That prayer was the start of a new beginning with The Salvation Army. With no place to go, no food to eat, and the sun beaming down on me and the last of my possessions, I dragged my things, battered and torn, to a Salvation Army shelter.

Without humility intact, I came face to face with my pride. The process of getting into a shelter was something out of the ordinary and scary. What would I do? I began to tremble and shake as I walked into this abyss of unknown with people I would never consider my type of crowd. I began to notice the staff, all with smiles, arms out giving hugs, directing everyone inside. Just to see a smile and receive a hug from anyone was a feeling I cannot explain.

I met a wonderful lady, willing to help me get a bus ticket home to Denver. It was quite funny at that time for me because we made a deal with each other—in order for me to receive a bus ticket, she would pray over me for safe travels. Secondly, I had to stay two nights and help serve meals to the guys coming in. Two nights in a shelter out of the extreme conditions for a lifetime of happiness was something I could do. I shook hands with her and off I went, relieved to be serving and cleaning in a cool air conditioned building.

I boarded the bus to Denver, but had to wonder why God was putting me on this journey.

My fiancé later drove me to the Harbor Light Center—a place for me to get on my feet and back into society. There I was, looking at the shield that brought me all the way home, facing the cross that protected me from all the harm, bitterness of the world and indecisiveness I brought upon myself.

I jumped in, knowing I had to believe there was help and apply it. The winter months would be coming soon and I knew I didn’t want to struggle with the elements of Mother Nature. I had found a warm, welcoming, helpful environment. Harbor Light provided me with housing, rehabilitation, worship, work therapy and a sense of commonality. No one is above anyone, and thanks to The Salvation Army and the Harbor Light Center I am moving forward and learning that with God anything can be accomplished.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14 NLT).

Without it I cannot imagine where I would be.

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