I knew nothing about Debra when I got in her car that night. I found out that the car had been given to her for free. I found out that it didn’t have enough gas to get home and neither of us had any money. I found out that if you’re driving in the middle of nowhere at 2 a.m. and you pray hard enough, angels will push you to the closest open gas station, and a friend will just happen to pull up behind you and fill up your tank. I found out that she’d been an exotic dancer during a tumultuous time in her life, that she’d had a baby by her best friend (whom she was still quietly in love with), and that she became a Christian after her daughter was born (who was now a year and a half). I also found out that if you’re a struggling, working mom, and you trust God with everything, it’s amazing how He will provide.
Once I paid Debra rent and put some money in my savings account, there was nothing left; no grocery money, no gas money, nothing. After eating the last refried bean sandwich, we were out of food and had to choose between buying the gas to get to work, or buying groceries. We went to work. When we got there, a banquet was wrapping up and there were trays and trays of unopened veggies, croissant sandwiches, fruit and cheese. We refused to look beggarly, but when the hostesses asked us if we wanted to take it all home, we crammed as many trays as would fit in the trunk of the car. We laughed and praised God all the way home and we feasted for a good couple of weeks.
The entire time I stayed at Debra’s was like that; a sweet simplicity of living, of trusting God for everything, and learning what is truly necessary in life. I liked it there, it was peaceful, and though we didn’t ever really become friends (she had a very reserved personality), I think we quietly enjoyed each other’s company. But I told her that I’d only put her out temporarily, and my inter-office ad for a place to rent yielded an offer from another family. So, after a few weeks at Debra’s, I was moving into yet another place, and another entirely bizarre situation that had a purpose all its own.