Psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

The word of God for the people of God…Thanks be to God. If you are a United Methodist, you have probably heard this phrase in church nearly every week. It’s one I think about alot.

Me being a person that was lost in the world of addiction for 30 years, I know that there was a long period in my life when I was thankful for the wrong things. I had to learn the hard way that I needed to make a change, spending time in prison twice because of drugs.

When I finally decided to turn things around, God provided chess and a local pastor named Rick Bussey to help me do it. Rick and I became friends while I was still struggling with addiction and he stuck with me through all of my trials. When I got out of prison the second time, Rick and I shared a devotion on the telephone every morning for a couple of years. That kept my mind straight and my focus on God. Chess gave me something to do instead of chasing drugs. This January will be 4 years clean and sober for me and Haywood Street played a big part in that.

About a year and a half into my journey, Jody Halstead, former Program Manager of Haywood Street Respite, took a chance on me. She took me on as a companion at the Respite. I think I might have been the first full-time companion in Respite. On Wednesdays, I would take Respite friends to get a haricut, or to the cothing closet, the Welcome Table, or whatever they wanted to do. When friends in Respite wanted to go to church with me, I considered it my pay. All that started around September or October 2014. Soon I started coming on other days and doing some overnights.

In Spring of 2015, Jody sent me over to the Sanctuary to help Dell because he was going out of town. After Pastor Brian asked me to do the welcome and announcements, I really started to find my fulfillment. I also started arranging the flowers, which I still enjoy doing today. It’s kind of therapeutic.

Over time I’ve gotten involved in more stuff and some days everything is not peaches and cream. But usually when the day is over and I have unwound, I am thankful and overwhelmed with joy from the day’s activities. As you can see, I now have all the right things to be thankful for. ¬†Thanks be to God.