What do you say to your two children when your car has just become your home? At 21 years old, Jennifer had two young boys, worked two part-time jobs while attending college, and she could not afford life. An opportunity to rent a trailer for her family to live in fell through and her car became their home. At the time, Jennifer recalls she did not want to let others know life had parked her in a tough spot. She remembers at the time stopping by a friend’s house explaining that she and the boys had a long day at the park and asking if it would it be OK for the boys to bathe. She kept a cooler in the back of the car with food and drinks and she says the boys thought it was “cool” to stay at the park until dark. “I did the best I could to make it work,” she recalls. Jennifer finally found a trailer she could afford and the family of three moved in until the landlord sold it, forcing them to move again. The loss of their home came soon after Jennifer’s fiancé had died in a car accident just three months before they were to be married.
Jennifer finally found a place that she could afford but struggled to accept its poor condition. Her goal was to keep her boys in school with their friends and allow her oldest son to graduate with his class. It was a better option than the car. Jennifer says for the past nine years she has called this rental “the house we live in” because it never seemed like home. While the boys are now adults, Jennifer’s friends, church members, and co-workers have continued to pray with her to find a home. Meanwhile, Jennifer worked to build strong credit and financial habits. The hot real estate market and cash buyers gobbled up everything she could afford though. “I decided I was finished looking for a house and the only way I would ever have a home would be if it landed in my lap,” she says. During those difficult days, Jennifer would remember the refrain from Miranda Lambert’s song, “The House that Built Me.”
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
Then, a church member and mentor told her about Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program with a 0% APR mortgage making the home affordable and she decided to apply. Her future home just dropped into her lap.
“My choices haven’t always led me in the right direction, but God seems to always carry me when I can’t even crawl; speak for me when I’ve lost my voice from screaming inside; but more than anything, He has always been my provider when I wanted to throw my hands up and say, ‘I give.’”
Jennifer has lived in Dickson County most of her life. She graduated from the Nashville State Community College with an associate degree in pre-engineering. She has worked as an administrative assistant for the State of Tennessee for four years. “I have prayed since I was a very young girl for a house to become our home. I am so excited about this next chapter in my life and ‘thank you’ doesn’t even come close to expressing how much this means to me to have a home.”
Dickson Habitat Dedicates Its 33rd Home