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Family Promise Blog

  • krissy034


Have you ever had days (or months!) where everything seems to pile up and you feel absolutely overwhelmed? Is your current situation making you feel utterly defeated? Like you, I can answer ‘yes’ to these and many other similar questions. But no matter what you may be facing right now, including experiencing homelessness, solace and strength can often be found by turning to a higher power.

As a Christian, one of my favorite Bible verses can be found in Psalms 46:1-2. I have turned to it in times of sorrow, confusion, anxiety, sadness, and pain. It reminds me that no matter what I am facing, a sovereign God is still present and sustaining.

No matter your religion or faith tradition, a belief and trust in a higher power can be a source of strength and peace. As life often proves to be chaotic, uncertain, and fraught with bad news – the belief that a higher power is ultimately in control can help remove some of the fear and frustration we experience.

Pew Research has shown that while many don’t consider themselves religious, 9 in 10 Americans do believe in a higher power or spiritual force. Something that they believe is controlling the universe. For me, it’s the God of the Bible. For others it may be another deity, nature, the sun or moon, or even the universe itself. In the simplest terms, it's a power greater than yourself.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find God or the higher power we long for, because we are looking with so little of ourselves. What I mean by this is that our souls have been pushed into the shallows. Whether from the constant assault on our attention, the pace of life, as well as loss, disappointment, and grief. Our soul may feel eroded. But this is precisely the place to start. When we feel most empty, it’s an opening to invite our higher power in to fill us.

It is this power greater than us ourselves that can also create a deeper connection to our humanity and increase our level of compassion. So not only can our faith bolster us when we’re going through challenging times, but it compels us to extend ourselves to give hope, aid, and comfort to those who may be suffering around us. What a beautiful duality. Our faith can restore us and spur us on to love and good works.

Whether we’re on the giving or the receiving end of love and compassion – the impact is great. Yet, our humanity is often expressed through very simple deeds. Sharing a cup of coffee and words of encouragement with a co-worker. Letting a sick relative know that you’re praying for them. Helping an elderly person off the bus. Volunteering at your local shelter. Mentoring a young person who’s gotten off course. The list is infinite.

Family Promise brings people of different faith groups together to help and serve others – creating an opportunity to live out their individual beliefs and make a difference. And while those belief systems may differ, we’re all capable of letting the light in. We’re all capable of benefiting those around us and the greater good. As you go about your days – may gestures of love and kindness find you, and may you offer them to others.

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  • Writer's pictureFamily Promise HCR

Family Promise- April 2022 Newsletter Written by Jeff Corby, Americhoice Federal Credit Union and Jean Keller-Thau, FPHCR Board President.

As April comes and goes, so does a start to a new season. Often when we think of a change in the season, we think of a change in our lives. Changes come in all shapes and forms. April showers feel like a washing away of all the stuff left over from the cold and snow that has just passed. With the washing clean of April showers, this time of year can be positive and transformative. It is an opportunity to wash away the negativity that the past year has brought and a chance to really focus on all of the positive aspects of our day-to-day interactions. Family Promise is an organization that strongly believes in renewal and second chances, facilitating positive change in the families we serve.

This month also brings us April Fool’s Day, giving each one of us a chance to add a little silliness and foolishness into our daily routines. With a little more laughter and a little less seriousness, there is time to take a moment to celebrate the fun and silliness that can impact others around us. Laughter has a way of reducing the stress of everyday life. Family Promise encourages all of our families and volunteers to really enjoy our moments together. We all have stressful and challenging times that can sap our energy. We want to instill and encourage work and play. The idea of work and play is crucial for our overall well-being. Finding joy in our lives is essential in managing our everyday anxieties and worries. By adding a little play and a bit of foolishness back into our routine, we can add more relaxation and enjoyment in our lives and others around us.

Throughout this past year, the pandemic has changed all of our routines and attitudes. One unexpected benefit has been the opportunity to focus on our families, relationships, friends, and personal needs. This provides a place for us to express joy for ourselves and others. By making a personal commitment to appreciate the small things that bring us happiness, we can make a lasting and positive impact on those around us. Take a moment to appreciate a little of the silliness around you, spread some joy to others, and be thankful for the joy you get from those in your life. As you’re taking the time to think about your experience of joy, we hope you enjoy some of the fun and silliness that our families here at Family Promise are experiencing!

Emilia Earhart once said, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees”. This is a powerful idea that kindness, joy, and fun make such an impact on those around us. As the cold winter season ends, let the April showers wash away the worries of the past. This will make room for kindness and joy to sprout in your everyday interactions and grow like wildflowers with all of the people around you!

When a family is displaced from their home, it can take a toll on many facets of their lives including financial, social, and on their physical and mental health. But one aspect that can often go overlooked is the strain it can put on the spouses or adult partners in that relationship.

Because money and other financial matters are the most common cause of conflict among couples, it only makes sense that when enduring the financial hardship of experiencing homelessness, a couple is even more prone to argue. One partner may not feel that the other is pulling their financial or emotional weight, and this can lead to bitterness and resentment. Other stressors can include living in cramped or group quarters or having to adhere to shelter or social services rules and restrictions.

When there is a shift or loss of control over the typical roles and routines that normally allow partner relationships to thrive, feelings of inadequacy can take root within either person. I feel humiliated that we’re in this situation. Have I let my partner down by allowing things to get this far? Why haven’t I figured out how to get us out of this situation? If a person feels emotionally distant from their partner in addition to already feeling separated from others due to their circumstances, it can negatively affect their well-being.

In the most extreme cases, the strain can even lead to abuse between partners. For example, in Los Angeles, a city with one of the highest displaced populations in the country, 34% of 18-24 year-olds experiencing homelessness have experienced some form of Intimate Partner Violence, which can be physical, sexual, or psychological.

A strained relationship naturally impacts the entire family. When two parents are going through a difficult patch, it not only affects them, but the children that rely on them, and increases their burden. But if parents are mindful of looming relationship stressors and are committed to managing them, they are taking the first important steps to limiting the damage they cause.

When experiencing homelessness, it’s all the more crucial for partners to remain supportive of one another. This can include the simple practice of placing the good of one’s partner or the relationship above one’s own personal needs.

It can mean reaching out to others for care and encouragement and enlisting the help of organizations like Family Promise. While many programs separate male and female partners for both privacy and safety reasons, Family Promise is committed to keeping families together when they are unsheltered. Something as simple as a father being able to stay with his family and kiss his wife and daughters goodnight can help reduce the stress of an already daunting experience. These things can provide both members of the relationship a much-needed source of support, and remind them they have someone in their corner.

Having (and being) a reliable and supportive partner can help prevent negative feelings and reactions from occurring, so it’s important for both partners to remember that they’re in it together! And, in the very best of cases, it can strengthen the relationship immeasurably. This will help to stay focused on combining their energies into finding housing and taking the steps to secure a better future for themselves and their families.

[1] Intimate Partner Violence Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Homelessness Policy Research Institute

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