Autumn found herself in miry clay with everything disrupted around her when her now ex-husband was arrested. In that moment, she decided to seek the Lord and surround herself with community. Through this, she experienced the Lord’s blessings and abundance. Come and listen to hear what God did in her life.

Toby: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed, where we share stories of how God has renewed and redeemed everyday people’s lives. Today is episode 22. You’ll hear Autumn share how she lost almost everything, but sought the Lord and not only lived, but is thriving. We hope this episode blesses you. 

Crystal: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed. Today we have a special guest. Her name is Autumn, and she’s a full-time single mom to two young adults, an executive technical support analyst. She has a personal coaching business, and she helps lead a ministry at church that supports families of incarcerated loved ones. 

Welcome Autumn. I’m so excited to have you and hear your story. 

Autumn: I’m so glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me. 

Crystal: So, to get started. I know that you had mentioned to me that it’s been three years since your husband was removed from your life. Which led to you also losing your house, your car, your job, your dog. Tell us a little bit about how all that happened. 

Autumn: Thank you. So great question. The beginning of 2018 was very rocky in our marriage. And in June of 2018, my ex my now ex-husband was arrested and taken to jail. In the months following I did lose just about everything I was fired from my job for attendance. I couldn’t keep up with the cost of maintaining the apartment that we had. Everything kind of fell apart and my entire life was shoved inside of a storage unit for a little while. About a year, almost a year. We were homeless. So, you know, during that time it was just a time of really seeking the Lord. Like what is this all supposed to mean? What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to stay in the marriage? Not stay in the marriage? There was so many questions that came up. 

I still take a moment sometimes and look back on it and I don’t understand how I got from there to here. It’s by His grace and His mercy that I’ve been able to do it one day at a time, one step at a time.

Crystal: Amen. Yes. Yeah. So, when all of this happened three years ago, were you walking closely with the Lord at that time? 

Autumn: No at that time, we were not walking closely with the Lord. We’ve been not going to church. We had very different views on the Lord at that time. Unfortunately, my ex had just lost his father and he was struggling in his faith. Our marriage, unfortunately, was not rooted in the Lord, in the Bible, in anything. 

There were so many aspects that we were not walking with the Lord at that time. And so, no, we were not. 

Crystal: Okay. Yeah.

So, tell me about how you came out out of all of this. I know that you’ve come a long way and things are turned around for you and God’s really done a work in your life. Tell me how all this happened. 

Autumn: First thing that I would say is that my community rallied around me in a way that I have never seen before. When I say that the members of my church really were the hands and feet of Jesus in so many different ways. Taking my kids and I in so that we didn’t ever leave. Not once in 10 months, did we ever have to sleep on the street or in our car. We always had a bed to lay heads in. We always had food. We always had clothes. 

Everything from food and clothes to a brand-new set of tires on the car that was eventually repossessed out of my possession. There’s so many ways in which the community really came together to support us. And during that time, I really, I decided that I was going to take my family back to the Lord. Right back to church. I was going to start getting rooted in community. I was gonna start walking with the Lord. And so I was, I was going to church. I was taking my kids to see the pastors at the church for some counseling and some guidance during that transitional time. I began serving at church on the host team, involving myself in life groups. I needed somebody to just tell me what to do. And I was willing to do it. And it was really that simple. 

Crystal: Yeah. So, it sounds like the community was being the church, like we’re called to do. And we don’t always see that nowadays that it’s so refreshing when we do. That’s great!

Autumn: Absolutely. 

Crystal: So, when all of this happened, did you just immediately go back to church or were you kind of involved a little bit? How did you get back into that community? 

Autumn: So, I had begun to seek out church environments prior to everything happening. 

I didn’t get really rooted until after the arrest. And the reason is because of the fact that my now ex-husband and I had such differing opinions on it. He. And I, we’re not aligned in any way, shape, or form at that period of time. And so, I had begun to seek out options. He was opposed to that he did not see a need for that at that time. 

I’m happy to say now that, it seems like him and his relationship with the Lord are being worked on. Right. I can’t speak to that portion of it. For me, I knew that. I mean, first of all, I don’t have any family here in Florida. My children and I are here by ourselves. We had moved our family out here, but we don’t have anybody close family here in Florida at all. So, I knew in that moment, either I needed to move somewhere else and leave Florida, which is where my kids and I really wanted to remain. Or I had to figure it out. 

The way that I figured it out was by leaning on the community and getting involved in the church. 

Crystal: Oh, that’s excellent. So maybe share a couple of examples of things that you’ve seen God do for you over the last couple of years. 

Autumn: In professional life, I stumbled after losing my job, I had been with the company that I had been with for a couple of years when everything happened. And when I lost that job, I was lost. 

You know, here I was, I was now a single mom, and I had this apartment, and I had this car, and I had these kids and this dog and everything. And now all of a sudden, I had no job to provide anything for anybody. It was a very disparaging time, but. What I was able to do is after I lost that job, I got a job with a company where I got one state license. Shortly thereafter, outside of work, I got another state license on my own. And then you know, started to really build myself back. Actually, this month, I’m celebrating three years with the company that I currently work with.

In that company, I’ve been able to advance myself in the last three years over $20,000 of income into a position where I have flexibility to be able to take care of my kids in a way that I’ve never been able to take care of my kids. 

Crystal: That’s awesome. 

Autumn: I work from home at this time, obviously, because of COVID, everybody was working from home, but our company has now been more willing to seek out or to, to talk about other options, right. Hybrid options. And so that’s something that I’m pushing for as a single mom being able to be here, pick up my kid from school and take her to work or make sure that she gets to her practices. It’s so valuable to me and me, I never wanted to be the work from home person, but now I can’t see it any other way. Honestly. 

It’s a blessing. It absolutely is. 

Crystal: Yeah, it sounds like, you lost your job, but God restored it with something even better, which He knew you needed. Yes, He’s good like that. That’s awesome. You said that you lost your home. And your car, what did God do for you in those areas? 

Autumn: In the car regard. We had two cars when he was arrested. And so, the first car was lost to a title loan. I let that one go because it needed repairs that I could not afford to do. Right. So, I let that one go. And the other one I was trying to make payments on that one was under his name. And I did not realize how close I was to repossession and that one was repossessed out from underneath me. 

The person that took my kids and I in for the longest period of time. Is one of my nearest and dearest friends now, obviously for obvious reasons.

But she was able to help me to get a car at that time. And that car did last for a little while. And then that car. Also broke down to the point where I couldn’t repair it. And one of the single moms in our group had a car sitting in front of her house that she wasn’t driving. And needed some slight repairs, but she gave me that car. 

Crystal: Wow. 

Autumn: Car was purchased for me, which I eventually was able to pay off and reach for that back. The next car was given to me outright. No, no money exchanged. She just said, if you can put a battery in it and you can drive it out of here, you can repair it. You can take it. 

Right. So, I had that car for a little while and then that car eventually, also. Broke down to the point of no repair. And I was able to recently get the car that I have now. I now carry a car payment with full car insurance, everything. Which to be honest with you without the job that I’ve been blessed with, I would not be able to do right. I’ve never been able to carry all of the bills, the car, everything in my name by myself. And so, this is truly a moment of becoming for me. I don’t know how else to say it. 

We, I was 19 when I met my ex. So, I was not living on my own for a very long period of time before we moved in together. And so, this is. This is truly a moment of adulting has happened here. 

Crystal: Yeah, that sounds like God’s really had His hand and everything and been watching over you and. Synching you up with the right people and all of that. And that’s awesome. That just shows that His eyes are on us. Just like His eyes are on the Sparrow. His eyes are on us, and He sees, and He knows everything that we need, and He takes care of us. That’s awesome. 

Autumn: He is a truly faithful God. 

Crystal: Amen. 

Autumn: The home. Let’s see, June of this year will be three years that we’ve been here. So, everything was about three years ago is when. 

I was able to pick up the pieces. Right. We, we started to build back. So, I got, when I got hired at the company that I’m at, I was still homeless. I was still staying with my, my SIS from church. And so, I got this place shortly after I started that job. And so, I’ve been here in this place. June of this year will be three years. It’s not much, small. I don’t have a room. My kids have the two bedrooms and so it is still kind of cramped, but the Lord has also shown me over this time kind of what to look forward to. 

Early last year when I was setting my goals, the Lord dropped it in my heart, that there would be a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a yard and a two-car garage. So that’s what I’m working towards right now. And I have set it. I’ve written it I’ve said it so many times that I can recite it in my sleep. It’s a, it’s a four bedroom. It’s a three bathroom. It’s a yard and a two-car garage. And actually, one of the things that I’ve been working on is to pray for them. Pastors teaching us to pray, listen and obey. Right? So, in praying and listening, then obeying, I’m listening that my goals need to become bigger. I was not in the past able to dream. I didn’t dream at all. Let alone big. 

Right. And that’s one of the things that I feel returning to myself now is the ability to, to really dream larger than ever before, and to see things that I’ve never seen in my future before. The thought of owning a home had never been something that we had talked about or worked towards. And now that’s at the top of my goals list. So, the ability for me now to be able to dream big and, and really see those things materialize. 

It’s phenomenal to watch the Lord’s work take place. 

Crystal: He’s brought you through. So many things and He’s used to people, in your community to help you along. And I have to imagine that He’s given you a burden to help others. And I know that you’re doing that already. And. I’d love to hear about exactly what you’re doing and, and how that all started for you. 

Autumn: Absolutely. That story is. It kind of took me by surprise. When it all happened. Our church was doing a training for our group leaders for our small groups. And so, I. I didn’t really feel qualified to be, here I was homeless just coming out of a nasty marriage, going through a divorce, all of these things that made me feel unqualified to even be included in a group leader training. Let alone co-leading a group. So, I got into the training. I went through the training successfully, got that taken care of, and then I was, co-leading a group for our single moms when COVID happened. And when COVID happened, and everybody was sent home, and everybody was going through this adjustment process that kind of fell to the wayside. We, we stopped meeting so much. Well, Also during that time, we were actually leading up to COVID. So, I guess it would have been late 2019. I was looking for support for my kids and I, and when it comes to prison ministries, there’s a lot of different organizations that go into the prisons and speak with the. Prisoners, the inmates, the people who are there in the system, there’s very little, if not, none support for the families, those of us who are left on the outside. 

Right here. I was a single mom with two. Kids. You know, fighting tooth and nail to get my feet back underneath the me and. Every. Time. I looked, there was no support that would meet what I was looking for. And in my church, absolutely the people in my church or my church took care of me in ways that were unimaginable. 

Right. But when it comes to say like support groups, somebody just to talk to somebody who’s also going through. What we were going through. There were very little resources available. So, when the, when the single moms group kind of started fizzling out, I talked to the leader, the director of our small groups at our church. And I said, okay, well, this is, what’s kind of on my mind. And she says, oh, well, guess what, there’s another woman here in our church. That I’d like to introduce you to, if it’s okay with you. I didn’t want to say anything about your story without asking you. She says, but. I think it would be really awesome to connect you guys. If you’re open for that. Can I do that? 

And wouldn’t, you know, that I had been serving alongside of her on the host team for a couple of months and had absolutely no idea that she and I were walking the same.

Crystal: Oh, wow. 

Autumn: So, I literally have goosebumps so, so much right now because it was absolutely one of those stories where you can look back at it now and you can absolutely see the hand of God in it. But in the midst of it, you sit, and you look and what about me? Do you really see me God? And it was in those moments where The miracles happen that I knew 100% that He saw every dirty little moment that had taken place in the marriage. Every moment, every choice that I had made that led up to what had happened. Every single little thing He had seen it and He had orchestrated it for specifically that time. 

And it was phenomenal the way that it all came to be. And then there was another person who joined the group. She’s not a member of our church, but there was another appointment that God made over an oil change. And that’s how she and I became good friends. And she’s now another member of our group and the group has been growing. It’s not, it’s not something that people are very open and public about. Right? This is one of those walks It’s a little bit more private and a little bit more intimidating to share with people around you. Right. It’s not easy to talk about. And so over time, our group is grown. We’re blessed to have some wonderful, wonderful people right now. It’s only women. 

We have not said that it’s exclusively for women. We are open to men coming as well. 

But we just get together and we talk about the struggles of having a loved one behind bars. It’s rough sometimes when you go weeks without hearing from them and you don’t know what’s happened.

And even though there’s a lot of bad history in the past between my ex-husband and me. There was a moment when God showed me that it’s up to me to show my children how to react to a situation such as this. And so, we choose not to talk about all the dirty things, that dark things, the bad things that happened. We choose to focus on love and forgiveness. 

And caring for him as an individual, as their father, as my ex-husband. You don’t spend 20 years with somebody and not still have some regard for them in your heart. It wouldn’t be Christian of me to say that I have any kind of hate towards him. 

It’s a hard thing to do, forgiveness. Especially when the grievances against you are so great but it’s also one of the greatest feelings to be able to look at a situation and just know that you’re at peace about it. And only God can provide that. 

Crystal: Absolutely. Yeah. He is the God of peace. So, if you had to share. A lesson or two that you’ve learned through this whole experience that maybe you could help others with. What would, what would that lesson or those lessons be? 

Autumn: Number one. 

Get deep in your relationship with Christ. 

Number one. I can even now, even on the surface, how good it seems. There’s still battles that I’m fighting. There’s still things that I deal with on a daily basis. And I can still to this day tell the difference when I do and do not talk to Him. 

When I wake up and I talked to Him or when I wake up and I get in the word, my day is different than when I’m not right. When I go days without being in The Word. I don’t feel the same peace that I do when I start my days, or I have the word or worship or a combination of both in my life.

Right. So, I would say number one, really, truly work on your relationship with Christ. That’s above and beyond the most important. 

Number two, get involved in the community. 

Right. Reach out. There’s somebody out there who can relate, even if they haven’t gone through the same thing that you’ve gone through. Somebody out there can relate. They know somebody who knows somebody. There’s resources out there. Sometimes they’re harder to find. 

I would say. Relationship with Christ. Grounded in the community. 

And really setting goals. Talk to the Lord about your goals. I drive down the road and talk to the Lord about my goals. 

Crystal: That’s awesome. 

Autumn: I’m so humbled and honored by the opportunity to speak with you. 

I shared with you how this, even this appointment here for me to speak with you was orchestrated. That I had already been looking into ways to kind of share my testimony a little bit more. When I saw the post about, about you looking for somebody to share their testimony. And this appointment here was orchestrated by the Lord and I’m just very grateful and honored. 

For the opportunity to come on and to join you. Thank you so 

Crystal: It’s a blessing. Thank you.

Do you want to close us out in prayer and just pray over anybody that’s maybe dealing with a similar situation or just maybe finding themselves at the end of their rope and looking for help, looking to God?

Autumn: Absolutely. I’d be happy to. 

Father God. I just want to thank you so much for every person under the sound of my voice. I want to thank you for speaking through me, Lord, because I know that it’s not, it’s not about me. It’s about you. And it’s about what you’ve done and about the people that you’ve placed in my life. And then the events that you’ve orchestrated. 

For anybody who’s out there right now who may be struggling. With any kind of situation. I would say. Lord comfort then. Hold them in your hands. Father and give them the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Crystal: Yes.

Autumn: Give them something tangible to hold on to Father, give them an experience, touch their heart in a way that they would only be able to attribute to you. And then guide them Father. Help them to get grounded in their community, help them to turn to you and prayer, Father. And help them to set goals. And to reach out. 

To others who have been there before, maybe going through that, somebody to partner with them and do life with them. 

Crystal: Yes. 

Autumn: I thank you so much, Father, for the opportunity to share my story. For the opportunity to live this life, Father, you surprise me, and you astound me at every. Turn. And I just asked that You rain those blessings down on every single person.

Crystal: Yeah. 

Autumn: We’re here as this. In the mighty name of Jesus. 

Crystal: Amen. 

Amen. Thank you so much. 

Today, you heard how God rebuilt Autumn’s life when she found herself in a horrible situation. She sought God and He heard her cries and answered her. He’s surrounded her family with people to love them, help them and point them to deeper relationship with Jesus. 

There is no situation that is too big, too hard, or too far gone for God. He loves to make things new and restore us. If we put our trust and hope in him, he’ll make sure we have what we need and more. 

If you feel like you are stuck at the end of your rope, hold on to Jesus. He will comfort you. He hears you. He loves you and He will help you. Call out to Him. Find a local group of followers of Jesus and do life with them. If you need prayer or support, I’d also be happy to pray and talk with you. 

If you have a story to share about how God has renewed and redeemed your life. I’d love to hear from you. Be blessed. 

Toby: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed, where we share stories of how God has renewed and redeemed everyday people’s lives. Today is episode 22. You’ll hear Autumn share how she lost almost everything, but sought the Lord and not only lived, but is thriving. We hope this episode blesses you. 

Crystal: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed. Today we have a special guest. Her name is Autumn, and she’s a full-time single mom to two young adults, an executive technical support analyst. She has a personal coaching business, and she helps lead a ministry at church that supports families of incarcerated loved ones. 

Welcome Autumn. I’m so excited to have you and hear your story. 

Autumn: I’m so glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me. 

Crystal: So, to get started. I know that you had mentioned to me that it’s been three years since your husband was removed from your life. Which led to you also losing your house, your car, your job, your dog. Tell us a little bit about how all that happened. 

Autumn: Thank you. So great question. The beginning of 2018 was very rocky in our marriage. And in June of 2018, my ex my now ex-husband was arrested and taken to jail. In the months following I did lose just about everything I was fired from my job for attendance. I couldn’t keep up with the cost of maintaining the apartment that we had. Everything kind of fell apart and my entire life was shoved inside of a storage unit for a little while. About a year, almost a year. We were homeless. So, you know, during that time it was just a time of really seeking the Lord. Like what is this all supposed to mean? What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to stay in the marriage? Not stay in the marriage? There was so many questions that came up. 

I still take a moment sometimes and look back on it and I don’t understand how I got from there to here. It’s by His grace and His mercy that I’ve been able to do it one day at a time, one step at a time.

Crystal: Amen. Yes. Yeah. So, when all of this happened three years ago, were you walking closely with the Lord at that time? 

Autumn: No at that time, we were not walking closely with the Lord. We’ve been not going to church. We had very different views on the Lord at that time. Unfortunately, my ex had just lost his father and he was struggling in his faith. Our marriage, unfortunately, was not rooted in the Lord, in the Bible, in anything. 

There were so many aspects that we were not walking with the Lord at that time. And so, no, we were not. 

Crystal: Okay. Yeah.

So, tell me about how you came out out of all of this. I know that you’ve come a long way and things are turned around for you and God’s really done a work in your life. Tell me how all this happened. 

Autumn: First thing that I would say is that my community rallied around me in a way that I have never seen before. When I say that the members of my church really were the hands and feet of Jesus in so many different ways. Taking my kids and I in so that we didn’t ever leave. Not once in 10 months, did we ever have to sleep on the street or in our car. We always had a bed to lay heads in. We always had food. We always had clothes. 

Everything from food and clothes to a brand-new set of tires on the car that was eventually repossessed out of my possession. There’s so many ways in which the community really came together to support us. And during that time, I really, I decided that I was going to take my family back to the Lord. Right back to church. I was going to start getting rooted in community. I was gonna start walking with the Lord. And so I was, I was going to church. I was taking my kids to see the pastors at the church for some counseling and some guidance during that transitional time. I began serving at church on the host team, involving myself in life groups. I needed somebody to just tell me what to do. And I was willing to do it. And it was really that simple. 

Crystal: Yeah. So, it sounds like the community was being the church, like we’re called to do. And we don’t always see that nowadays that it’s so refreshing when we do. That’s great!

Autumn: Absolutely. 

Crystal: So, when all of this happened, did you just immediately go back to church or were you kind of involved a little bit? How did you get back into that community? 

Autumn: So, I had begun to seek out church environments prior to everything happening. 

I didn’t get really rooted until after the arrest. And the reason is because of the fact that my now ex-husband and I had such differing opinions on it. He. And I, we’re not aligned in any way, shape, or form at that period of time. And so, I had begun to seek out options. He was opposed to that he did not see a need for that at that time. 

I’m happy to say now that, it seems like him and his relationship with the Lord are being worked on. Right. I can’t speak to that portion of it. For me, I knew that. I mean, first of all, I don’t have any family here in Florida. My children and I are here by ourselves. We had moved our family out here, but we don’t have anybody close family here in Florida at all. So, I knew in that moment, either I needed to move somewhere else and leave Florida, which is where my kids and I really wanted to remain. Or I had to figure it out. 

The way that I figured it out was by leaning on the community and getting involved in the church. 

Crystal: Oh, that’s excellent. So maybe share a couple of examples of things that you’ve seen God do for you over the last couple of years. 

Autumn: In professional life, I stumbled after losing my job, I had been with the company that I had been with for a couple of years when everything happened. And when I lost that job, I was lost. 

You know, here I was, I was now a single mom, and I had this apartment, and I had this car, and I had these kids and this dog and everything. And now all of a sudden, I had no job to provide anything for anybody. It was a very disparaging time, but. What I was able to do is after I lost that job, I got a job with a company where I got one state license. Shortly thereafter, outside of work, I got another state license on my own. And then you know, started to really build myself back. Actually, this month, I’m celebrating three years with the company that I currently work with.

In that company, I’ve been able to advance myself in the last three years over $20,000 of income into a position where I have flexibility to be able to take care of my kids in a way that I’ve never been able to take care of my kids. 

Crystal: That’s awesome. 

Autumn: I work from home at this time, obviously, because of COVID, everybody was working from home, but our company has now been more willing to seek out or to, to talk about other options, right. Hybrid options. And so that’s something that I’m pushing for as a single mom being able to be here, pick up my kid from school and take her to work or make sure that she gets to her practices. It’s so valuable to me and me, I never wanted to be the work from home person, but now I can’t see it any other way. Honestly. 

It’s a blessing. It absolutely is. 

Crystal: Yeah, it sounds like, you lost your job, but God restored it with something even better, which He knew you needed. Yes, He’s good like that. That’s awesome. You said that you lost your home. And your car, what did God do for you in those areas? 

Autumn: In the car regard. We had two cars when he was arrested. And so, the first car was lost to a title loan. I let that one go because it needed repairs that I could not afford to do. Right. So, I let that one go. And the other one I was trying to make payments on that one was under his name. And I did not realize how close I was to repossession and that one was repossessed out from underneath me. 

The person that took my kids and I in for the longest period of time. Is one of my nearest and dearest friends now, obviously for obvious reasons.

But she was able to help me to get a car at that time. And that car did last for a little while. And then that car. Also broke down to the point where I couldn’t repair it. And one of the single moms in our group had a car sitting in front of her house that she wasn’t driving. And needed some slight repairs, but she gave me that car. 

Crystal: Wow. 

Autumn: Car was purchased for me, which I eventually was able to pay off and reach for that back. The next car was given to me outright. No, no money exchanged. She just said, if you can put a battery in it and you can drive it out of here, you can repair it. You can take it. 

Right. So, I had that car for a little while and then that car eventually, also. Broke down to the point of no repair. And I was able to recently get the car that I have now. I now carry a car payment with full car insurance, everything. Which to be honest with you without the job that I’ve been blessed with, I would not be able to do right. I’ve never been able to carry all of the bills, the car, everything in my name by myself. And so, this is truly a moment of becoming for me. I don’t know how else to say it. 

We, I was 19 when I met my ex. So, I was not living on my own for a very long period of time before we moved in together. And so, this is. This is truly a moment of adulting has happened here. 

Crystal: Yeah, that sounds like God’s really had His hand and everything and been watching over you and. Synching you up with the right people and all of that. And that’s awesome. That just shows that His eyes are on us. Just like His eyes are on the Sparrow. His eyes are on us, and He sees, and He knows everything that we need, and He takes care of us. That’s awesome. 

Autumn: He is a truly faithful God. 

Crystal: Amen. 

Autumn: The home. Let’s see, June of this year will be three years that we’ve been here. So, everything was about three years ago is when. 

I was able to pick up the pieces. Right. We, we started to build back. So, I got, when I got hired at the company that I’m at, I was still homeless. I was still staying with my, my SIS from church. And so, I got this place shortly after I started that job. And so, I’ve been here in this place. June of this year will be three years. It’s not much, small. I don’t have a room. My kids have the two bedrooms and so it is still kind of cramped, but the Lord has also shown me over this time kind of what to look forward to. 

Early last year when I was setting my goals, the Lord dropped it in my heart, that there would be a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a yard and a two-car garage. So that’s what I’m working towards right now. And I have set it. I’ve written it I’ve said it so many times that I can recite it in my sleep. It’s a, it’s a four bedroom. It’s a three bathroom. It’s a yard and a two-car garage. And actually, one of the things that I’ve been working on is to pray for them. Pastors teaching us to pray, listen and obey. Right? So, in praying and listening, then obeying, I’m listening that my goals need to become bigger. I was not in the past able to dream. I didn’t dream at all. Let alone big. 

Right. And that’s one of the things that I feel returning to myself now is the ability to, to really dream larger than ever before, and to see things that I’ve never seen in my future before. The thought of owning a home had never been something that we had talked about or worked towards. And now that’s at the top of my goals list. So, the ability for me now to be able to dream big and, and really see those things materialize. 

It’s phenomenal to watch the Lord’s work take place. 

Crystal: He’s brought you through. So many things and He’s used to people, in your community to help you along. And I have to imagine that He’s given you a burden to help others. And I know that you’re doing that already. And. I’d love to hear about exactly what you’re doing and, and how that all started for you. 

Autumn: Absolutely. That story is. It kind of took me by surprise. When it all happened. Our church was doing a training for our group leaders for our small groups. And so, I. I didn’t really feel qualified to be, here I was homeless just coming out of a nasty marriage, going through a divorce, all of these things that made me feel unqualified to even be included in a group leader training. Let alone co-leading a group. So, I got into the training. I went through the training successfully, got that taken care of, and then I was, co-leading a group for our single moms when COVID happened. And when COVID happened, and everybody was sent home, and everybody was going through this adjustment process that kind of fell to the wayside. We, we stopped meeting so much. Well, Also during that time, we were actually leading up to COVID. So, I guess it would have been late 2019. I was looking for support for my kids and I, and when it comes to prison ministries, there’s a lot of different organizations that go into the prisons and speak with the. Prisoners, the inmates, the people who are there in the system, there’s very little, if not, none support for the families, those of us who are left on the outside. 

Right here. I was a single mom with two. Kids. You know, fighting tooth and nail to get my feet back underneath the me and. Every. Time. I looked, there was no support that would meet what I was looking for. And in my church, absolutely the people in my church or my church took care of me in ways that were unimaginable. 

Right. But when it comes to say like support groups, somebody just to talk to somebody who’s also going through. What we were going through. There were very little resources available. So, when the, when the single moms group kind of started fizzling out, I talked to the leader, the director of our small groups at our church. And I said, okay, well, this is, what’s kind of on my mind. And she says, oh, well, guess what, there’s another woman here in our church. That I’d like to introduce you to, if it’s okay with you. I didn’t want to say anything about your story without asking you. She says, but. I think it would be really awesome to connect you guys. If you’re open for that. Can I do that? 

And wouldn’t, you know, that I had been serving alongside of her on the host team for a couple of months and had absolutely no idea that she and I were walking the same.

Crystal: Oh, wow. 

Autumn: So, I literally have goosebumps so, so much right now because it was absolutely one of those stories where you can look back at it now and you can absolutely see the hand of God in it. But in the midst of it, you sit, and you look and what about me? Do you really see me God? And it was in those moments where The miracles happen that I knew 100% that He saw every dirty little moment that had taken place in the marriage. Every moment, every choice that I had made that led up to what had happened. Every single little thing He had seen it and He had orchestrated it for specifically that time. 

And it was phenomenal the way that it all came to be. And then there was another person who joined the group. She’s not a member of our church, but there was another appointment that God made over an oil change. And that’s how she and I became good friends. And she’s now another member of our group and the group has been growing. It’s not, it’s not something that people are very open and public about. Right? This is one of those walks It’s a little bit more private and a little bit more intimidating to share with people around you. Right. It’s not easy to talk about. And so over time, our group is grown. We’re blessed to have some wonderful, wonderful people right now. It’s only women. 

We have not said that it’s exclusively for women. We are open to men coming as well. 

But we just get together and we talk about the struggles of having a loved one behind bars. It’s rough sometimes when you go weeks without hearing from them and you don’t know what’s happened.

And even though there’s a lot of bad history in the past between my ex-husband and me. There was a moment when God showed me that it’s up to me to show my children how to react to a situation such as this. And so, we choose not to talk about all the dirty things, that dark things, the bad things that happened. We choose to focus on love and forgiveness. 

And caring for him as an individual, as their father, as my ex-husband. You don’t spend 20 years with somebody and not still have some regard for them in your heart. It wouldn’t be Christian of me to say that I have any kind of hate towards him. 

It’s a hard thing to do, forgiveness. Especially when the grievances against you are so great but it’s also one of the greatest feelings to be able to look at a situation and just know that you’re at peace about it. And only God can provide that. 

Crystal: Absolutely. Yeah. He is the God of peace. So, if you had to share. A lesson or two that you’ve learned through this whole experience that maybe you could help others with. What would, what would that lesson or those lessons be? 

Autumn: Number one. 

Get deep in your relationship with Christ. 

Number one. I can even now, even on the surface, how good it seems. There’s still battles that I’m fighting. There’s still things that I deal with on a daily basis. And I can still to this day tell the difference when I do and do not talk to Him. 

When I wake up and I talked to Him or when I wake up and I get in the word, my day is different than when I’m not right. When I go days without being in The Word. I don’t feel the same peace that I do when I start my days, or I have the word or worship or a combination of both in my life.

Right. So, I would say number one, really, truly work on your relationship with Christ. That’s above and beyond the most important. 

Number two, get involved in the community. 

Right. Reach out. There’s somebody out there who can relate, even if they haven’t gone through the same thing that you’ve gone through. Somebody out there can relate. They know somebody who knows somebody. There’s resources out there. Sometimes they’re harder to find. 

I would say. Relationship with Christ. Grounded in the community. 

And really setting goals. Talk to the Lord about your goals. I drive down the road and talk to the Lord about my goals. 

Crystal: That’s awesome. 

Autumn: I’m so humbled and honored by the opportunity to speak with you. 

I shared with you how this, even this appointment here for me to speak with you was orchestrated. That I had already been looking into ways to kind of share my testimony a little bit more. When I saw the post about, about you looking for somebody to share their testimony. And this appointment here was orchestrated by the Lord and I’m just very grateful and honored. 

For the opportunity to come on and to join you. Thank you so 

Crystal: It’s a blessing. Thank you.

Do you want to close us out in prayer and just pray over anybody that’s maybe dealing with a similar situation or just maybe finding themselves at the end of their rope and looking for help, looking to God?

Autumn: Absolutely. I’d be happy to. 

Father God. I just want to thank you so much for every person under the sound of my voice. I want to thank you for speaking through me, Lord, because I know that it’s not, it’s not about me. It’s about you. And it’s about what you’ve done and about the people that you’ve placed in my life. And then the events that you’ve orchestrated. 

For anybody who’s out there right now who may be struggling. With any kind of situation. I would say. Lord comfort then. Hold them in your hands. Father and give them the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Crystal: Yes.

Autumn: Give them something tangible to hold on to Father, give them an experience, touch their heart in a way that they would only be able to attribute to you. And then guide them Father. Help them to get grounded in their community, help them to turn to you and prayer, Father. And help them to set goals. And to reach out. 

To others who have been there before, maybe going through that, somebody to partner with them and do life with them. 

Crystal: Yes. 

Autumn: I thank you so much, Father, for the opportunity to share my story. For the opportunity to live this life, Father, you surprise me, and you astound me at every. Turn. And I just asked that You rain those blessings down on every single person.

Crystal: Yeah. 

Autumn: We’re here as this. In the mighty name of Jesus. 

Crystal: Amen. 

Amen. Thank you so much. 

Today, you heard how God rebuilt Autumn’s life when she found herself in a horrible situation. She sought God and He heard her cries and answered her. He’s surrounded her family with people to love them, help them and point them to deeper relationship with Jesus. 

There is no situation that is too big, too hard, or too far gone for God. He loves to make things new and restore us. If we put our trust and hope in him, he’ll make sure we have what we need and more. 

If you feel like you are stuck at the end of your rope, hold on to Jesus. He will comfort you. He hears you. He loves you and He will help you. Call out to Him. Find a local group of followers of Jesus and do life with them. If you need prayer or support, I’d also be happy to pray and talk with you. 

If you have a story to share about how God has renewed and redeemed your life. I’d love to hear from you. Be blessed.