Faith Reflection Shared by Jennifer Peterson
The following Faith Reflection was shared with MICAH from Jennifer Peterson. She is a Cottage Grove City Council member where she is actively pursuing bringing affordable rental housing to her community, and is also a Case Manager at Community Resource Center. Jennifer also continues to be an active advocate on the matter of homelessness through non-profit boards, organizations, and committees.
I really do feel incredibly blessed to be working here. It is completely a God thing that I am able to be here working in the Community Resource Center (CRC)! A long time ago, I was in the very same situation as many of the guests in the CRC. It was back in the early 90's. I was a divorcing single mom of 4 kids (under the age of 7) who was leaving a violent marriage and seeking housing. I was given support from a housing program in Mpls that was mainly supported by many area churches, businesses and foundations, as well as some government funding. These were people who didn't know me and my family, but yet cared enough about us that they gave their time, talent and treasure to help us get stable and back on our feet.
Part of the housing program was that the mom's had to be actively pursuing a better life. For me that meant going to college. I went to St. Kate's and was able to get it fully funded without loans, through grants and scholarships. I earned an AAS in Occupational Therapy in 2 yrs, graduating in 92. Back then in my prayers I used to complain to God about the situation I was in and would ask why did God let this happen to us. It was a very tough time in my life, I prayed for the strength to get through this time and to come out on the other end stronger, wiser and more faithful. Sometimes it felt like I was all alone in the struggle, but mostly I felt great support from the case workers, child advocates, family therapists, support groups, church volunteers, my college professors and many more. The housing program and all those that supported me back then were answers to my prayers. I made a promise to God back then that if He got me through this, somehow I would be on the giving end of the story. That experience in life was key to my growth in my faith and spirituality, and personal confidence.
Over the years since then, I have been able to look back and understand that those tests, stumbling blocks and struggles I went through weren't really that at all. They were lessons, stepping stones and blessings! They taught me so much about myself and others. Important things like: how to be more tolerant, more understanding, more compassionate, more merciful, more giving, more kind, more faithful, less self-centered, less judgmental, less critical and other things. These were things that I don't know that I could have learned elsewhere or in a different way.
So this job is the answer to my prayers from almost 25 years ago! This job IS the promise that I made to God, just as He promised to me in Jeremiah 29: 11-13, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart