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Transcript of Kinda Like Grace 1P - kinda like grace A HOMELESS MAN, A BROKEN WOMAN, AND THE DECISION THAT MADE...

  • kinda like

    grace

    Kinda Like Grace_1P.indd 3 11/19/18 11:33 AM

  • kinda like

    grace A HOMELESS MAN, A BROKEN WOMAN, AND

    THE DECISION THAT MADE THEM FAMILY

    GINGER SPROUSE

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  • © 2019 Ginger Sprouse

    All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means— electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other— except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

    Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Nelson Books and Thomas Nelson are registered trademarks of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.

    Thomas Nelson titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund- raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e- mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

    Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.Zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®

    Scripture quotations marked esv are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture quotations marked the message are from The Message. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Scripture quotations marked nlt are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

    Any Internet addresses, phone numbers, or company or product information printed in this book are offered as a resource and are not intended in any way to be or to imply an endorsement by Thomas Nelson, nor does Thomas Nelson vouch for the existence, content, or services of these sites, phone numbers, companies, or products beyond the life of this book.

    ISBN 978-1-4002-0788-6 (HC)

    ISBN 978-1-4002-0789-3 (eBook)

    ISBN 978-1-4002-1607-9 (ITPE)

    Library of Congress Cataloging- in- Publication Data

    ISBN 978-1-4002-0788-6

    Printed in the United States of America

    19 20 21 22 23 LSC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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  • This book is dedicated to my beloved husband Dean, who has taken every step of this journey with me. You

    are my best friend. All that has been accomplished was truly done by the gracious hand of God, and we got to watch them unfold together! God is so good!

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  • Contents

    Prologue

    Chapter 1: Victor

    Chapter 2: Noticing

    Chapter 3: Some Soul Searching

    Chapter 4: Ginger’s Story: Expectations

    Chapter 5: Ginger’s Story: Dangerous Dreams

    Chapter 6: Ginger’s Story: Utter Rebellion

    Chapter 7: Stopping Changes Everything

    Chapter 8: A Friendship Is Born

    Chapter 9: Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to Me

    Chapter 10: What Now?

    Chapter 11: New Year and Good- Bye Corner

    Chapter 12: You Don’t Scare Me

    Chapter 13: Coming Home

    Chapter 14: Mother Hubbard

    Chapter 15: The Past Makes an Appearance

    Chapter 16: Looking in the Mirror

    Epilogue

    Afterword

    Acknowledgments

    About the Author

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  • xi

    Prologue

    Victor is a sweetheart. In all the time I have known him, I have

    never heard him utter an unkind word. A big kid in a grown

    man’s body, he is kind, warm, and funny. He refuses to believe

    anything but the good about everyone he meets. He has an excep-

    tional innocence about him that, frankly, scares me at times.

    Despite the fact that he is a grown man, he needs help. A lot of

    help. Depending on the day, he calls me his secretary, his driver,

    his agent, or his mom. After living on the streets of Clear Lake,

    Texas, he knows he needs help navigating life.

    He has been a fixture in my town for many years. Anyone

    who drove by the shopping center at the intersection of Nasa

    Road 1 and El Camino Real saw him. They would talk about

    “the guy on the corner” with a perplexed tone and wonder about

    him. Street people in our town were the exception more than

    the rule, so Victor was an odd sight in our upscale suburban

    neighborhood, just two blocks from Space Center Houston.

    Depending on the day, he would engage in any number of

    behaviors, from dancing and singing to standing stock still and

    staring at the sky. He would also traverse the corner in a tight

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  • xii

    PROLOGUE

    circle, tapping the light pole rhythmically and then walk away,

    only to rush back to tap it again and again and again. He was

    obviously homeless, but he never seemed to ask for anything. He

    never held a sign or bothered anyone in the passing cars. He just

    minded his own business, in this spot he claimed as his own, and

    spent his days dancing to his own tune, rain or shine. Some said

    he lived nearby; others said they saw him in different parts of

    town over the course of many months. I had seen him regularly

    for three years, although I heard he had been living in the area

    for eight or more.

    I could not tell you what made that particular day different

    from any other. It was nothing special. Had I known then what

    I know now, about the road I was to traverse with this man, I

    cannot say with certainty that I would have stopped.

    :

    As strange as it feels to me, many people the world over know

    me as that lady who met a homeless man at a busy intersection in

    Texas and invited him to live with her family. It makes me cringe

    when people say to me, “you’re an angel,” even when said in

    utter sincerity and admiration. No, I’m not an angel. I don’t want

    anyone to pat me on the back and give me all the reasons why I

    should accept the moniker proudly. I want to be honest and tell

    them that I was a pretty messed- up person at one time.

    When my two children were young, the quest for perfec-

    tion landed me on the bottom of a nasty, lonely, dark pit. And

    I had no one to blame for the ugly wreck I had made of my life

    except myself. In the months following my separation from my

    then husband, Ben, instead of being in my warm bed in our cozy

    farmhouse, with my little ones tucked in safely upstairs, I was

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  • xiii

    PROLOGUE

    alone, living in a sterile apartment in the middle of the city, sleep-

    ing on a hard bed with scratchy sheets, with my head throbbing

    along with my heart.

    It was 2009, and I was turning forty. I hesitate to say I was

    having a midlife crisis because that sounds like an excuse, and

    many of us have used it as an excuse to sin. I know I did back

    then. But I don’t do excuses. Not anymore. Today I sit here and

    acknowledge that I’m a person who has always had an aversion

    to learning from someone else’s mistakes, always preferring to

    make my own.

    Funny how with age comes a new way of looking at life.

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  • 1

    C H A P T E R 1

    Victor

    It’s 2017, and I’m hiding out in my garage “office” in suburban

    Houston. I don’t mean a pretty garage- turned- office from the

    TV show Fixer Upper. I’m referring to a garage office where my

    desk is my second husband’s dusty worktable, and the light is a

    bare bulb hanging from a cord in the ceiling somewhere above

    my head. An old Folgers coffee can has found a new purpose as

    my pencil holder, and my view is of my black Jeep and a color-

    ful multitude of dried- up spray paint cans lining the shelves like

    soldiers. My giant hulk of a dog, Max, sits under my feet, regard-

    ing me solemnly as he idly gnaws on his favorite tattered blue

    Frisbee. He too is lost in thought, likely wondering how much

    longer he has to wait until playtime, while I’m thinking about the

    last few years and how it came to be that I’m here, hiding out in

    my dusty garage with a meditative dog for a companion.

    I’m reflecting on all the bad decisions piled up high like the

    boxes and baskets on the shelves surrounding me. I can say that

    I possess no self-