On August 25, 2023, Kimberly Steen found herself standing outside a homeless shelter in the scorching heat in Jacksonville, Florida.
“The beads of sweat on my back and face hardly register as I’m overwhelmed by a profound sense of peace.”
Twenty-four hours prior, she was at her ex-boyfriend’s house crying out to God and begging for forgiveness and deliverance from her situation.
She vividly still remembers that day. She heard sounds of what she thought were vehicles outside and suddenly started to panic and felt sweat setting in. She looked outside and was relieved it was just her neighbors.
“I glanced at the clock, which read 2:37PM, and remembered that he would not be home for a few more hours. I should have felt relief, but I didn’t: I just wanted to cry and throw up. How did I get to this place?”
She dreaded when her boyfriend came home, and the smallest noise triggered her anxiety, which was the constant state she lived in.
That day she started praying to God, unsure if He could understand a single word she was saying. She prayed and confessed the overwhelming and all-consuming weight she had on her chest. She couldn’t live another day with the weight of her guilt and shame.
After she stopped praying and crying out to God, her tears stopped. She could breathe, and all the shame, fear, and guilt that she carried for so long was gone. She found love, forgiveness, and grace.
“I sat there processing for a while and then heard two words ring loud and clear - get out.”
She immediately got off the couch and ran to find her backpack. She threw some clothes and belongings into the bag and ran to the front door.
“I stood there hesitating, feeling as if my shoes had been glued to the floor. It had been so long since I had ventured outside and been free of the control of my ex-boyfriend.”
She had been allowed to go to church, but that was the only time she was able to go outside and have human interactions. She took a deep breath, thanked God for stirring up the boldness in herself, and ran as fast and as far as she could.
She found some shade on that hot day and sat outside of a shoe store parking lot. Soon after, two female employees came outside to check on her. She told them she just ran away from her ex-boyfriend’s house and had nowhere to go. The ladies took her inside and prayed for her. One of the employees took Kimberly in and let her spend the night with her. She promised to take Kimberly to a women’s shelter the next day.
“The unknown of a new environment should have brought new waves of anxiety, but feeling sure of your steps within God’s will brings a whole new level of peace and confidence.”
“As I sit here almost two months after that initial overnight stay at Trinity Rescue Mission, I cannot help but be grateful when I reflect on that time of my life.”
Because of God’s grace, she never spent one night on the streets. She is forever grateful for the unfailing love and grace that God showed her. She has made progress at Trinity Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Center, and she is excited for what God has in store for her. She has no doubt that God’s deliverance of her from an unhealthy, suffocating relationship was for a greater purpose.
“God is not done with me yet.”