“Poor folk don’t care how it looks. As long as it works, that’s all that matters,” said Janet, single mother to two adult children and grandmother to four.

That kind of thinking, along with her faith in God, has brought self-proclaimed country girl Janet through many difficulties, both personally and with her home. 

She’s filled cracks in her ceiling with spray sealant and even created a makeshift awning on the front of her home to keep her front door and entryway from completely breaking down.

“In the entryway, there was a hole where it had rotted away. It had a particle board, so when it got wet, it just deteriorated,” Janet said. “I got all the materials for $25 and put it together.”

And her get-it-done attitude doesn’t stop there – Janet has been through a lot.

Her young daughter went missing. At the same time, Janet was dealing with corruption, mistreatment and threats at her job. Things at work became so bad that Janet – pregnant and daughter still missing – came to a breaking point.

“I fell to my knees and said, ‘God, you’ve had my back all this time. Keep me going.’ I held up my hands as if I was holding up a sword and said, ‘I’m giving all this to you so you can take this burden off my back because I’m gonna quit this job.’ There is no money in this world worth working for if you have to deal with the devil,” Janet said. 

“And I kept on working, even if I had to work three minimum wage jobs, which I did.

“When I finally got my daughter back, I’d already arranged to move into this house. Not long after, my grandmother died. Then, right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, my [now ex] husband tried to hurt me, and then he ran off with another woman.”

The unexpected kindness of her tenant ended up being one of the biggest blessings Janet ever received.

“A couple of years after my husband left, Bill, the man who owned the house I was renting, came to me and said he was dying of cancer and asked if we wanted to buy the house,” Janet said.

“He must have gotten on his computer and checked my work history because he came back to me and said, ‘You were the only one who got out there and busted their tail, so I want to ask you, do you want this house?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘Alright, then you and I are going to a mortgage company. Don’t worry about the closing costs; I’ve got you covered. You will always have a roof over your head.” 

Bill’s promise came true; Janet still lives in her home today. But unfortunately, due to an accident, life took another unexpected turn.

“In 2014, I was on my way to open the convenience store, and someone pulled out in front of me, made a U-turn and tore my whole life apart,” Janet said. “I couldn’t work again – I went from three jobs to nothing in a heartbeat.

“I had torn ligaments, a torn meniscus in both knees, no cartilage in my right knee, three herniated discs in my lower spine, three herniated discs in my neck with a tear, six vertebrae and two torn rotator cuffs. 

“But I don’t stop; I make things work for me. I’m an old country girl who knows how to make what I need.”

Janet is a kind and generous neighbor. She walks neighbor children home from the bus after their dad stopped showing up, offers advice to people who help her – even got her ex-husband something he needed when he was sick.

She believes that’s her duty, her way of showing the love of God to others. 

Read part 2 of Janet’s story here.