I grew up in church but never had a true relationship with God. I spent many years searching for anything to fill this void I had in my heart but everything left me feeling empty — nothing offered lasting satisfaction. At Renew I found exactly what would fill the void I had in my heart, something that would never disappoint me: a relationship with God. During my time at Renew I learned how to cultivate that relationship with God through reading His word, listening to His voice, and being surrounded with people who were doing the same things.
If you had been a fly on my wall during last couple of weeks, you would have heard a lot of “Can you believe this?! Did you see what God did? Did this really just happen?“
I feel like I arrive at the end of each day more amazed at the Lord’s provision and faithfulness than the day before. He is taking humble efforts and multiplying them into something I never dreamed would happen.
Crystal is a ray of sunshine with a generous smile. She has overcome so much hardship with a sturdy positivity, including a physical handicap after getting hit by a car at 16 years old and then raising a daughter at a young age. In an attempt to find a fresh start for her, her daughter, and grandson, she left their home in Florida and made it to Cleveland, TN, until their car broke down which left them homeless.
After being in a turbulent relationship that was going nowhere good, I ended up in a discipleship program in Chattanooga, TN. During one of my attempts to “fix” the relationship, I ended up renting out my condo and moving in with my boyfriend at the time. When things got bad, I lost everything I had in storage and was without a home.
While I was in Renew, the loss really didn’t hit me until I completed the program and moved out. It was then that I really had to face the reality that I had nothing at this point — no furniture and no home of my own.
My house felt drab and depressing and I didn’t want to invite people in. I had tried unsuccessfully to make my house cozy and inviting for years, but my strong aversion to clutter made it difficult for me to buy all the decorative pieces that really bring a room together.
Then Kaysie came to the rescue.
There are many days that I sit here at this table and wonder, “I can’t believe I get to do this… I can’t believe I get invited into homes with the mission to transform them into havens. I can’t believe I get to paint and recreate old furniture while my baby naps or plays in the same room. I can’t believe people actually buy my completed projects. I can’t believe I get to serve recovering women by renewing their spaces…”
I guess it’s all hard for me to believe because this ministry wasn’t in my ten-year plan — it wasn’t even on my radar until a life-long dream of mine was burned to the ground a couple of years ago.
I was living day-to-day in survival mode. The desire I once had to create my house into a home was squashed by a bigger desire to get high just to feel like I could function through the day. Our house was simply a place where we would eat, sleep and do the necessary things in life. It was full of mismatched furniture and chaos. It was dark and heavy because I was dark and heavy. It lacked purpose, joy and security for my family and anyone else who entered.
“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.”