"Home Is Now A Haven." - [ Kate's Story ]

“Oppressive”, “DARK”, “cave-like”, “packed with crap”, “tiny” all words I wrote in my journal describing where I live. I would turn the corner onto our road and immediately get a horrible pit in my stomach dreading going into this house.” My kids refused to ask friends over because it was embarrassing and “really yulky”.

Needless to say, my family did not have a “HOME.”

For the past ½ decade we have lived in a battle zone. Obviously it took a long time to arrive at that spot but there we were in a horrifying house that was a serious blow in the battle of my marriage. While I was working hard to find an affordable, comfortable house for our family to rent, my husband signed a lease to an OLD, cigarette-smell-infested-house that was too small, extremely dark and a huge “step down” from the house that we had just lost. It was only supposed to be for a year (at least in my mind), but here we are 5 years later in the horrifying cave that is where we sleep but don’t live.

My Home Was A Hell

June 20, 2015 my husband moved out and into a yearlong residential discipleship program for people stuck in addiction. He’d been drunk for 3 weeks straight and it almost killed him. He finally recognized it and it scared him enough to do something. My teenage daughter moved out the day before feeling she was hated and not safe. She is a casualty of the horrifying hell that we lived in.

This past year was a different kind of hell. Two tween boys, no income with barely the ability to function like an adult human being. I shook constantly and learned to breathe my way through extreme panic attacks. Yet in all of it I can say God was There. He brought people that were able to help me understand and manage finances and He provided the ability to pay my bills, get school supplies, uniforms and even an amazing Christmas for my children. He was faithful!

And yet I still worried, lived in fear and questioned. He gave me a wonderful friend who would call at 6am each day and read scripture with me from the One Year Bible and then pray. She often, as did a few precious others, reminded me that God wasn’t finished with us yet. I watched Him bring blessing after blessing to us just when needed it deep in the darkness. Through that 11 months He was faithful and built my trust in Him to provide.

When my husband came home from the program and started looking for a job, I was expecting new hope, healing and life. I started looking for a viable living space with a budget larger than our previous– after all with all the money saved on his former “lives” and a fresh job opportunity that looked more lucrative, I had hope for a better life. But that “sure opportunity” didn’t materialize and we in no way could afford to move out of this dark, oppressive box. I felt kicked in the gut and punished by God. All that for nothing new.

God Told Me To Make A Home

And as I prayed in my deep disappointment I believe God was saying “Make a Home. I want you to know that it’s not Renew Ministry that gave you hope, health and new Good life. It’s Me. I AM. The difference is because of ME. Not that ministry.” MAKE A HOME.

I had no idea what that meant. I know that decorating does not make a Home. Home is belonging, safety, a place where you feel loved and you love. A place you want to be. It’s not paint and nice stuff. But I also know those things can set the stage. Paint, and furnishings and “stuff” can affect your feelings and HOME has to do with feelings. I just didn’t know anything else – no clue how to get to that place.

The Day I Met Kaysie

Over and over I kept hearing God say “MAKE A HOME”, “Make a Home.” I shared that with a friend and she said “I have a friend, Kaysie….” and nothing will be the same.

God shows up in a petite brunette with a beautiful smile and sweet kindness.

So we emailed and texted and a number of weeks later Kaysie came to my house.


Everybody in my family ran from our house. Nobody wanted to be here. Ever. Me included. So when Kaysie came over there was clutter everywhere. It was dirty and humiliating, however, I hadn’t the emotional energy to even try. Yet she was so very gracious!

She listened to my story and wasn’t disgusted by my (disgusting) house. She shared her story and totally made a place of hospitality* for me in my own home. We walked from room to room and she asked questions and we exchanged ideas. In my living room she gave comments and ideas and suggested moving a piece of furniture which of course, in my mind, would not work because it was too large and there was not enough space to do that without it being just too cramped.

“Well let’s just see…” She moved it and said “….with a lamp on here…can you see it?”

BAM! It totally looked established, grounded, finished, and decorated like a Real House!

That was it. I trusted her completely.

Well, mostly. She wanted to exchange a piece of current furniture with another, completely different style and again, in my mind, far too large for the space. But I would humor her. (giggle)

Home Starts To Become A Haven

Thanksgiving was approaching and my daughter had agreed to come spend it with us. I was so excited and really wanted to make the space work, to show we are moving on, we’re making progress to an actual Home. “Kaysie, I want to have this, this and this in place… is that possible within two and a half weeks?” I texted.

I totally expecting her to laugh me off as expecting too much. But she didn’t.

She set a time to come over to paint and solicited the help of a couple of other people. But that day fell through so we tried the next week. (tick-tock only one week until Thanksgiving). She told me someone had donated all the paint and she and her friends would be there Wednesday! (Whatever anyone says, in my world painting in not “inexpensive” – that paint was a huge gift!)

She showed up about 9:30am and her friends came about 11am. There was no way we were gonna get the whole room painted that day. She was so positive we would. Approximately 2:15pm I had to go get my kids from school. “There’s no way…” I thought.

When I walked into the house about an hour later everything was painted, curtains hung and furniture in place! PLUS she’d brought me a new piece of furniture that fit beautifully and totally “made” the room! Art and slipcovers came a few days later.


I LOVE IT! It feels like a “real, adult, like other people’s room.” (aka not oppressive, dark and we-don’t-really-want-to-be-here look) Not embarrassing.

That particular week my husband and I were having a lot of difficulty. (Just because he completed the program and came home doesn’t mean all the problems are solved.) My fear was the room would be associated with all the animosity and difficulty of the week thereby defeating the purpose of decorating.

However, he said to me and another person, “This is the most cohesive look of any place we have ever lived. I really enjoy sitting there in the morning with my coffee having devotions and I want to come home and relax in there.” BAM! Blessing!! That was exactly the purpose of the paint, curtains and slipcovers.

THIS Is Home Now

Wanting to be someplace because its beauty and ambiance draw peace and comfort to your soul – THAT is HOME.

Each afternoon and evening we sit, the boys, my husband and I. We sit and talk and laugh and watch TV and play games and enjoy our Home. It reminds me that we are healing, and one day I hope that our entire family, including my daughter, will enjoy living in this Home.

It’s not a new house… but it is a new Place. We’ve begun our HOME and like my friend so faithfully has reminded me through this past year, “God isn’t finished with you all yet.”

THANK YOU, Jesus! And thank you Kaysie.

*– that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.
— Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen