Tuesday, March 18

Some years ago, before I was a Christian, before I became the wife of Leveille, mother of Eden and Indra and the daughter in law of Lucinda –I know that’s how most people know me- I was the single mother of Max and struggling.  I had just begun my faith journey, was newly entering the St Stephens community and was two years into being the sole provider for a small child.

I had the fortune and misfortune to be bought out of my one year lease in the apartment that we lived in in Dorchester, and found myself in-between homes with enough money from the buy out to put a down payment on a fixer upper condo in Salem.  I like many folks took a gamble when I signed the docs and the bank bought me a home.

 The condo had three bedrooms but only two were usable.  The floors were rotted and in some places you could see into the basement.  Using all the funds and help I could wrangle, the condo became inhabitable for Max and I.  We had a working shower(!) in the bathroom and solid new floors.  The third bedroom we left alone because we didn’t have the cash to put up new walls and it wasn’t safe to live in.

Fast forward 6 months later and things were beyond tough. My childcare costs had doubled, and making ends meet every month when factoring in the astronomical costs of heating oil, I was falling further and further behind.  One day at St. Stephen’s, I literally bumped into a man I hadn’t spoken to much before. We got to talking and sharing about our lives.  I typically hold my cards pretty close but something in my heart loosened my tongue and I poured out my fears of losing my home and control over my life.

This man shared his story as well.  He told me about his own struggles and his conviction that his faith, and his church community saved his life. He told me about his two beautiful daughters and how much he loved them.  He told me about the ways he was putting his life in order, one step at a time so that he could create a real home for them.

My new friend offered to come over to my house and fix the walls in my third bedroom so that I could find a tenant who would pay rent and contribute toward the heating bills.  Sometimes people offer to do kind things and mean to do them but just don’t get around to it.  Not this kind person.  He was over my house within a few days and the walls were repaired –in some cases entirely replaced- and painted within a weeks time. I advertised and had a tenant move in by the beginning of the following month.  My mortgage was paid. There wasn’t an interruption in my heat.  Marty Splaine was the man who reached out his hand to me and pulled me out of the waters.  He taught me that being able to ask for help and then accepting that help is just as important as giving.

My faith journey began when I was working out of St. Stephen’s as the ECCO organizer and continues to this day.  Meeting Marty came at a time when the only thing I could do was pray that God would help me sort through the mess that I was in.  God answered my prayers through his child and my brother in Christ Marty and I will never forget that answered prayer.

— Carly McClain