Spiritual Abuse, Part 1

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This morning, Jesus and I had a talk. It was a pretty big deal. I was hurting and angry because I spoke to a dear mama, yesterday, who has massive confusion about who Jesus is because of the cult-like religion that has saturated her life from the time she was tiny. And I thought of all the people I know who have experienced spiritual abuse. It is so bad. It is so so bad. It is easier to forgive someone because they are wicked and everyone knows it and they admire you because you are forgiving this famously wicked person who has done wicked to you. But, what about the people with “Christians” platforms who have hurt you in the name of Jesus? What about the people who use their platforms to hurt you? What about the men who claim to be special-called-by-God-ministers who have hurt you . . . in the name of Jesus?

Oh, my heart. Father . . . . they have taken their long, awful fingernails and scratched marks across Your face and have marred Your image so that Your Children cannot see Your beauty. 

And why? We don’t know why, exactly. Power? Control? Fear of their bubble being burst?

I don’t know.

But, in my tears, this morning, He spoke to me . . . This is what He said,

They do not speak for Me.

How do I know? Because spiritual abuse produces darkness. Dark feelings. Dark thoughts. They accuse and they blame and you have become their scapegoat. That is not of God. They are using you to work out their own pain. But, it is not of God.

Christ’s words produce life. Freedom. Beauty. Christ’s words leave behind a lovely fragrance that sparks hope and joy and purity in their hearts of those who love Him!

God spoke more things to me. This is what He said:

Everyone needs mercy at some point in their lives. Would you be ready and willing to give it if those people who abused you needed it? 

Would I? I think, at this point, I would. And, how can I so boldly state that? Because their lack of mercy for me, when I was at my lowest, most painful state, is the exact thing that made me a merciful person. And, for that, I will always be thankful.

I am thankful for those who hurt me on a continual basis. I can’t believe I am even saying it. 

And, therein, I find the joy that God has given me.

Brennan Manning is my fave. And he says, in many of his books, that when you begin to doubt, to repeat these words, over and over: Abba, I belong to You. And I do that a lot. But, I believe we can take it further . . .

Abba, I belong to You . . . even when they say I do not.

Abba, I belong to You . . . even when they say horrible things about me.

Abba, I belong to You . . . even when they persecute me.

Abba, I belong to You . . . even when they do all kinds of evil to me.

Abba, I belong to You . . .

You belong to Him. You know this because (1) You are growing (2) You are forgiving (3) You love Him and you love His Word (4) You are able to see the hurt of those who hurt you (5)  You hear His voice. These are all qualities of a follower of Christ as outlined in First John.

Say it with me . . . . Abba, I belong to You. No one can take that away from you. Nothing and no how. No one . . . NO ONE can snatch you out of His hand.

 

Love,

 

Megan

 

A Special Account from Christopher — Don’t Miss This

Hey everyone!  My name is Christopher and Id like to briefly share my experience of my parents divorce and the ways that Give Her Wings had immeasurably provided hope for my life in a very dark time.  All divorces are terrible for many reasons. First, its the tearing apart of two people who initially loved each other but let life’s difficulties creep between them.  Second, the process of splitting up the things, kids, pets, houses, time, and money can be an incredibly dehumanizing process.  It essentially drains the life from all involved.  I happen to think that the divorce of my parents in 2011 was a particularly draining one that could have resulted in mental catastrophe for my brothers and me had it not been for my mothers strength and numerous philanthropists the Lord had sent to us.  Most notably, Give Her Wings.

I learned about my parents divorce in an abrupt manner.  From the moment I was picked up after a movie date with my seventh grade girlfriend, my father broke the news to me in the most fantastically immature way possible.  Before we said two words to each other, he handed me my mothers wedding ring and said to me, Your mother wants a divorce.  I need you to tell her to stay with me.”  As a thirteen year old boy, what was I to do?  I was both distraught by the news and crushed by the responsibility that was placed on my young shoulders.  Above all, my emotions were conflicted in two directions:  relief and sorrow.  It sounds strange to admit that there was relief accompanying the sorrow.  However, there had been innumerable nights where my father did something that sent me to bed crying.  Most of the time it was because of how mean he just had to be when he had a command to give such as go clean the yardor you need to do the trash!”  It was emotional abuse most of the time, something my mother and I both had to deal with on the nights she’d come up to comfort me . . . never letting me go to bed upset.  The thought of escaping that reality comforted me to some degree.  

So as I sat there in the passenger seat of the black Silverado, in a silence so thick you could move your hand and watch it move about like fog, I tried to figure out what to do.  How can a thirteen year old sift through such a wide array of emotions after receiving the most contentious news imaginable?  Ill never know, and it didnt matter what I did anyway.  My mother decided she’s had enough of the infidelity and no amount of pleading from me could stop her.  I’m glad I couldn’t.  Much like a Hollywood blockbuster film, the opening scene of this horror movie, from seat of the Silverado, set precedence for the remaining five years of the film; unfair responsibility placed on me and the predatory uncertainty we would come to know intimately.  

Change became the only stable part of my familys life.  My mom, two younger brothers and I, between 2011 and 2015, had moved to a total of 18 different houses/rooms and 3 different schools.  In many cases, the moves weren’t based on any sort of plan.  Most of the time, they were the spurred by absolute necessity.  Be it to gain leverage on a PFA hearing, to win a custody war, to satisfy eviction notices, or to simply have a place to go when our stability was taken from us by any number of new characters.  The fact was change (and his companion, stress) were the two foes we used all our energy to deal with.  I know that it drained me and I know that (with even more certainty) it constantly drained my mothers mental, emotional, and physical energy.  Still, she managed to escape that nightmare with her sanity and achieved her ultimate goal of making sure that Zachary, Nicholas and I didnt become mentally compromised by the stress.  Without her steadfast philosophy of the importance of caring for us, we would have certainly come out of this reliant on unhealthy coping methods like drugs and alcohol rather than strengthened by our afflictions.  In fact, Psalm 66:10-12 phrases it best, For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”  

Although the trials and tribulations from this divorce definitely benefited me in the long run, it would be irresponsible for me to write this acting like I enjoyed it now that I’ve come out stronger.  In all honesty, it was terrible most of the time.  Of the many times that my mother and I were distraught and borderline hopeless, one stands out in my mind the most right now.  In October of 2014 I was promoted to a bus boy at my job and I worked every night after school except Mondays and Tuesdays through the months of September and October.  I was trying to save up to buy a car from my aunt.  I eventually saved up about $2600 through that time which is really good for a 16 year old still in school during the week.  I was super excited because it was the most money that I had saved up ever and it also meant I had the money to buy my car for when I got my license!  However, following a very prevalent theme of injustice and uncertainty, we received an eviction notice for the end of the month in October.  We scrambled to find another house and my mom eventually landed on one that was $1500 per month not including any utilities.  You must understand that this was way outside our financial scope.  However, in the wake of necessity, it was our only option.

Somehow we got accepted to rent after my mom pulled a few strings but we needed the first months rent and a security deposit before we could move in.  My mom was completely broke, my family couldnt help and my brothers didn’t have jobs yet.  So with the threat of homelessness stalking us, I used my money that I had saved up to get us in.  Thank God that I had been promoted and been spurred to start saving when I did. Otherwise things could have been a lot worse.  The whole time that we were moving our stuff in the 1998 Corolla, I was trying to figure out how we would be able to stay there. Our total household income was $1100 per month to pay for everything after I finished working that November 1.  Sure enough, come Christmas time, we had already missed a payment and had the landlord knocking on our door again.  The beginning of another hopeless situation infested by stress.  This is precisely when Give Her Wings came into our lives.  

Im not sure of the exact way that Give Her Wings was introduced to our family . . . I believe it was through a concerned friend, but I do know that they came not a second too late.  This moment in our life represented a time when there were literally no other options for housing.  There was absolutely no way out from this mess and the bills were growing out of control.

 When Give Her Wings decided to sponsor my mother as a Mama for the month and as a part of their Christmas initiative, it gave us the one thing we needed more than anything: hope.  They helped us on a level that a lot of organizations tend to overlook.  When they decided to help my mother with bills and buy a bed for my brother they helped lift us up on a financial level.  But what my mom remembers most is their mental and spiritual contributionthoughtful gifts to remind her of her intrinsic value regardless of her situation.  My mother was lifted up by them by simply being treated with dignity.  She talks more about the emotional gift than the physical gifts they blessed us with; simply receiving a addressed with to the beautiful Carole…” gave her heart the encouragement it needed.  Rather than constantly giving her hearts energy away, she was charged up for once.  It helped alleviate the tension in the household that reverberated down through us all; built up over the previous four years; the years where I was supposed to be a kid.

I wasnt able to have a normal childhood.  I never had a chance to be a kid.”  I never partied.  I never went to the Friday night football games with friends or the homecoming parades or the preparatory activities for spirit week.  I was too busy doing my best to keep my sanity and be the same quality of support for my mother that she was for me.  This meant I worked a lot.  All week through the school year and all through the summer months, when my friends had time off.  On the Saturday nights my peers were at parties or football games while I was at work trying to help pay the bills.  On the days during vacation while others celebrated familial togetherness, we had to fight over where we were going to be on the day: mom or dads.  Give Her Wings has a special mission that needs more recognition.  They do so much for Their Mamas, mine included.  However, their manifest function to mend the tattered hearts of Their Mamas also has an incredibly empowering latent function for the kids.  I am living proof of this.

A lot of the time, many people assume that because kids shouldbe left out of adult business that they simply are.”  My Grandmother on my dads side used to say, you shouldn’t be lending your mother money” or “you shouldn’t have to be in the middle of it.”  In her utopian world, I wouldn’t have been.  In the realistic and borderline dystopian world, I was.  Ever since the moment that I stepped up into that truck.  This stark reality accompanies a realization that when you help a struggling mother, you help the kids equally so.  When you give your energy, money, or time, you charge these women with nothing but the determination to escape abuse, their kids, and the clothes on their backs, you also reverberate the energy into the next generation.  The preceding statement cannot be overemphasized; there is real power in benevolence.  

Give Her Wings is a special foundation.  They are impactful.  They are caring.  Above all, they are empowering.  After interviewing Megan for a school project I realized that God has some special things planned for them.  Had it not been for their help in our time of greatest need, I may not be as successful as I am right now.  In fact, we moved into a place that we could afford in July of 2015 and our lives have finally been stable.  I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their benevolence in giving us the hope to push through those last few months of despair and giving my mom the gift of hope and dignity.  Without their interjection, we might have continued our journey with instability and stress indefinitely.  Thanks to them we are safe, stable, and content once more.

 

Christopher

 

Our Merry Little Christmas Shoppe is Open!!!

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Friends . . . This is that time of year where we load up our Christmas store in hopes that friends like you will choose a gift, or two, or three for the children of the mamas we have done our best to support all year long. Carrie surveyed each family to find out what the hopes and dreams of these precious little ones are and then she built our shoppe around those Christmas desires! Each gift you see in our store has been carefully chosen. Each child can receive one or two gifts totaling $50.

In a lot of these cases, these are the only gifts these children will receive. This is our biggest campaign of the year . . . and the one we pray over the most because we ask God to provide three to four times the amount of money we normally collect in one month. It is a big step of faith and we need your help. A lot of families that donate allow their own children to pick a gift they think a child might like. This is a campaign that that can benefit your entire family and get everyone involved in giving! Please click the following to read Megan’s story of her first Christmas as a single mother and then click the following to choose from our Merry Little Christmas Shoppe. We need this . . . our mamas need this . . . their little lambs need this. Let’s be the Spirit of Christ this Christmas!

Click here to start shopping and bless a family in need!

My First Christmas as a Single Mama by Megan

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The first Christmas I had alone with the children was . . . bitter-sweet. It was (by far) the most peaceful time that we had together in, well  . .  . ever. We were calm. Two nights before Christmas, I turned down all the lights except the tree and allowed the two bigger kids to sleep in the living room. I sang them Christmas carols for 30 minutes. They slept sweetly. The next morning, on the 24th, we celebrated Christmas together. The children opened their presents. My friend, April, had taken the kids shopping to allow them to get gifts for me (so sweet). We had a precious morning.

Later that day, on the 24th, we packed all our things and went and “hid” at a friend’s house. My first husband was coming to town and he was hoping to see us . . . meet with us . . . he even insisted that he STAY with us. So, we took all the kids’ new toys and left for a week or more (I cannot remember). It was not ideal. But, we were OK. The children were happy. They had no idea of the anxiety I felt during that time. The fear (at least, that is what I hoped).

They also did not know that I was barely getting by. What money I did receive back then from my ex went to paying for food and the energy bill for the sweet little house we were borrowing in Nebraska. I was trying to work but it was very very difficult . . . I had four children. Stress was mounting.

Something that made me especially sad (and still does from time to time) is that the children lost all of their toys and books when we left. We had nothing except a week’s worth of (summer) clothes, our Bibles and one toy each child was allowed to bring.

But, that Christmas . . . something happened that I will never, ever forget. A friend in Nebraska took me shopping and we picked out four BIG gifts for the children. Then, something even more amazing happened . . . I got a letter from a long-time friend, Taryn, telling me that she and a group of friends wanted to supply the children with gifts for Christmas. This was unbelievable. Unbelievable to this mama’s ears and heart. Overwhelming. And not only did they want to supply gifts, they wanted to be SURE that they got what the children needed and wanted. She asked me to make a list of what their little hearts desired. It was not easy for me because I felt like I was asking for something. But, she was kind and gracious and I sent her the list.

That Christmas, the children were flooded with wonderful gifts that they truly loved and wanted. Those gifts are still treasured in this household.

Beginning November 1st, Give Her Wings wants to do something similar for all our mamas and their sweet children. We have 21 mothers who are struggling greatly this year. They have sweet babies who will not be getting much for Christmas this year (if anything) — close to 50 children total. To make matters worse, these mamas have been abandoned by family and by church members and left to get through the holidays on their own.

When we contacted them, many of them sent us really sweet ideas for what their children want. Carrie has compiled a list of what each family needs and . . . we are asking you to consider adopting some of these precious children and mamas into your hearts and purchase something for them. Carrie has so carefully placed each gift in our shop (one or two gifts per child, totaling $50). Some of the gifts are fun (Disney’s Frozen Singing Sisters!) and some of them are necessities (gift cards for buying clothes). I am tearing up now thinking of what one mother wrote me:

It is difficult to think of wants when they are cold.

Children at Christmas should have a list of what they want. Some of our kiddos just want to feel warm.

Please join with us. Maybe you have a group at work who would help? Or maybe a church group or even a group of families could get together to make this Christmas somewhat joyful for mamas whose hearts are broken . . . especially for their own children. Please. Watch for our “store” that is coming up NOVEMBER 1st. We want to help this Christmas season. Be generous in spirit. Join us.

He Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Life, Part 3

Our friend, Valerie Jacobsen, wrote an intelligent manifesto about how to care for those who are victims of covenant-breaking and, as a result, have found themselves divorced. It was wonderful and you can find it here. But, we loved loved LOVED this part:

As the Church, we have an obligation to believe and testify that God has promised grace to every fatherless child who takes refuge in him. We must not prophesy ruin for these children, whatever observational studies say about children of divorce generally. The confession of the Church to the covenant children of divorce should be faithfully filled with hope, a cheerful invitation to rest in the care of a good, good Father.

Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
–Psalm 27:10-14

This manifesto hit a nerve for so many of us (in a good way) who left our ex-husbands for their covenant breaking, be it adultery, abuse and what-have-you. People don’t want to “deal with” women OR men who are going through a divorce. A lot of times, it is for less-than-honorable reasons. It is too messy; it causes angst for their children (will they still call him their uncle?), it makes the family dynamic difficult. We get that. But, I really wish that people were more self-aware. Including myself. If we realized what we were doing and why we felt the way we do . . . if we only would just examine ourselves once in a while . . . so many things would not come out of our mouths. When I left my abusive ex-husband, I was told that I would “never be able to minister to anyone” (lol!), I was told that God would no longer bless me, I was told that I would no longer be respected as a woman of God and I was told . . . . that the divorce would ruin my children. What? Since when do we get to pronounce such prophesies over mothers and their children?

On the contrary, God cares deeply about the oppressed (Zech. 7:10), he cares deeply about a mother and her babies (Isa. 40:11) and God has never, ever said that divorce will ruin children. That’s just . . . . outside of Scripture! Now! Surely, a lot of divorce does ruin children. We do understand that. But, why would we ever decide that it is simply a fact? Especially for a God-honoring, God-adoring, God-fearing woman and her children? Does God simply abandon us like that? No. Of course not.

For our mamas, they had to make the grueling and agonizing decision of whether or not staying with their abusive husbands would ruin their children more or not as much. A lot of us left feeling as though we had chosen the lesser of the two evils. But, I’m here to tell you today, after having left five years ago . . . my children are amazing. I did not know it, at the time, but leaving was not the lesser of the two evils. It was victory.

Oh, God, thank you that I left. Thank you that you led me out of a deep wilderness. Thank you that my children had the chance to live a life of love and godliness. Thank you that I did not decide that staying in an abusive environment was better than the stigma of divorce. Thank you for setting us free. Thank you that I did not believe the people who told me my children would be “ruined”. Thank you.

My children are strong in so many ways. They have character. They are honest and hard-working. They are deeply and unusually compassionate. They love each other. They are wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Being away from the manipulation/mental abuse had set a clean canvas for us to be able to work on life together in a beautiful way. We could untangle; we could study; we could pray together in freedom and in peace. We could talk about life and how to handle life. We could talk about Jesus as a loving Savior. As our Abba Father. And, as a result . . . . my four beauties are remarkable. 

The truth is . . . children grow into amazing and godly adults because of Christ . . . not because their parents stayed together. All children have challenges. The idea that a “good marriage” makes or breaks children gives way too much power in the act of “staying together” and not enough where it belongs — squarely on God’s redemptive and redeeming power. 

Sadly, many of our mamas leave an abusive relationship with zero hope. They just know that the “bad outside” is better than the “bad inside”. Part of our job is to show them that there is hope. There is always hope with Jesus. Seek Him and you will find Him, mama, if you seek Him with all of your heart. And then teach that to your children. They are not lost causes, dear ones. They are beautiful in God’s sight and highly valued and treasured. And they are not lost to Him.

Love,

Megan

 

Our September/October Mama — “Hope Noel” & BRACELETS!

When I first spoke with “Hope Noel”, I could hear pure sweetness coming through her voice but also lined with the deep tension and stress with not knowing how you are going to face the next day. For Hope, she is living day-to-day, hoping to keep her home and hoping to be able to keep a few dollars in her bank account and hoping to be able to hold onto custody of her children. I honestly don’t know how she can keep going, friends. But, she does keep going . . . she has three precious little children 6 and under. They need her. (I wish I could post pictures because they are SO CUTE) I asked Hope to send her story so that our board could vote but I was not prepared for what she sent. She told us about how her husband had married her when she was 20 and was immediately abusive. She stayed with him for over 20 years while he had affair after affair, all the while hurting her. He was even arrested and put into prison for the physical abuse and she still stayed by his side . . . dreaming of a better life with him; dreaming that God would get ahold of his heart and that things would get better. We never think that we will divorce the man we fell in love with. We want to give God room to make things better. But things only got worse for Hope. And she knew, after 20+ years, that she was going to have to take her babies and walk away alone. There comes a time when you know that you and your children will be ruined unless you take the risk and leave with nothing. That’s how bad it got.

What struck me the most about Hope’s situation is that abuse became a way of life for her. But, one day, she decided that no . . . it will not be a way of life. And only God can move in someone’s heart like that and give her the incredible amount of strength and courage it takes to protect oneself and one’s little lambs. 

Like so many other mamas we know, Hope was a stay at home mom with little resume brilliance and so it has taken her almost a year to find a job that suited having three small children. Thankfully, she just recently started a job that she can work from home (perfect!) but, unfortunately, she is behind in bills and 10 months behind in her mortgage. We feel like we can really help this mama. If we can help her to get back on her feet, she has a chance to fly!

Hope has filed for alimony and child support and won but her ex husband simply hasn’t paid anything. She used her last bit of money to take him back to court and the judge simply told him to pay when he could. Hope is beginning to realize that she will truly be on her own. But, we want her to know she is not alone. We want her to know that the Church will help her through this.

When we asked Hope to choose a name, she broke our hearts all over again. Hope Noel was the name of a baby girl that she lost. Hope’s life has been marked by sadness and loneliness but, as is evident to all who meet her, she knows Jesus and she loves Him. She knows that this is not her home and it is not the end of the story. She knows there is always another chapter.

Once a year, we have a jewelry campaign! We commissioned the lovely Sandy of Twisted Heart Charms to make these beautiful, beautiful bracelets. We loved the message! It is perfect for “Hope Noel”!! What if I fall? Oh, but my dear . . . . what if you fly?

We all need to hear this sometimes. We need to be reminded of flying. That we can fly. That we have support under those wings. That we can try.

We are offering these bracelets in four different colors (see photos below) and for $24.99 a piece plus $5 shipping. These bracelets are hand-made, hand-stamped on aluminum and placed on adjustable silk ribbons. Every bit of the profits are going toward Hope Noel, to give her wings. All you have to do is specify your color: light blue, blue and purple, blue and peach or red and then purchase! You will receive a beautiful bracelet and Hope’s hope will be restored. Thank you, in advance, for all you are doing to help! Let’s show Hope that she is deeply loved! Let’s give her wings!!

 

***ATTENTION: BRACELETS ARE SOLD OUT!!!***PLEASE PURCHASE FROM VENDOR***


Color


 

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Love,

 

Megan, David, Carrie, Tammy, Laura and our ministry team

 

 

He Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Life, Part 2

I’m 42 and I have done a lot of different things in my life! Some of them were motivated by fear (I have to accomplish to be loved?) and some were motivated out of my own unhealthy drive (I have to do better than this or I will be abandoned). Some of it just fell into my lap. But, when I got married to my abusive ex husband, none of that mattered. All that mattered, in his hyper-fundamental paradigm, was that I submit to my husband. His dreams were to become my dreams. And everything I did and worked for was to elevate him. I elevated him in “the ministry”, I elevated him in the seminary, I elevated him to everyone . . . trying to paint a picture of the man he wanted to look like. I did his dirty work and I did not even realize I was doing it. He expected to stand on the shoulders of his wife and children. Our job was to simply be stepped on while we propped him up.

Many of you know what I am talking about.

Many of you have lived in that valley or are living in it now. What that meant was a loss of your dreams and your very self. Bit by bit . . . you were sacrificing . . . you were allowing him to shine . . . you were allowing yourself to die. I was dying; I understand you. He stole so much from you. On the inside, I was becoming a shell of a woman. People were noticing it, also. A friend told me that photos of me on Facebook showed vacant eyes. He likened me to a woman he knew who had been mixed up in a cult. My dreams were gone. Without a vision, I was perishing.

After leaving and sorting through life (for the past five years!), I realized that I’m kinda’ old and I did not get to do the things I had been so joyfully looking forward to, in life. Everything felt wrecked. I had desired to sing, play the piano, teach at a college. I had wanted to be in shows (I used to do shows!) and perform and really have fun shining, using my gifts, teaching kids, etc. That was (apparently) very sinful in my first marriage. I remembered the once happy, sparkly 20-something year old who had her whole future in front of her! But, my disappointment over all that he took from me has waned. I had a moment with God. It was recent. And it was tremendous.

I was weeping. I feel “behind” in life. Those who have had those stable walks through life with tons of support seem right on track and I foolishly would look at those lives and feel like I would never catch up. Plus, it is kind of too late for a lot of things. Further, I have responsibilities. I can’t just spend my time away dreaming. Anyway, God gave me this picture, in my mind. It was of a mother (she had blond hair. ahem.) who was kneeling but upright. Her four little ones were in front of her and they were playing and chattering and just being healthy, normal little kids. Everything in front of the mother was happy and colorful and lovely. The kids did not know horribleness (at least, not that much). All they knew was joy and normalcy.

Behind the mother was darkness. There was bitterness, unhealth, fear, abandonment, pain, loneliness, abuse and hatred. All of this was being blocked out by mom — held back by out-stretched arms. It was behind her. She had managed to struggle and strain to keep her kids healthy. And it was heavy, on her back, which is why she was kneeling. She had some of that blackness on her. It tainted her a little bit but, when she smiled at her kids, it was all OK because they did not carry those wounds.

And God said to me, “Is this enough, Megan? Can this be your life’s purpose? To have struggled and strained to make sure that your children could be safe? You are the pivotal piece, in your family. That was what I meant for you to do. You are breaking the chains of sin from both sides of their family so your children can do great, ordinary things like really love. I know that means you have given up a lot. Can you live with this?”

And I wept, friends. I cried a river. Because I can most definitely live with this. Only God and I know how hard it was to break free from various bondages and help the children to live in health! And God was telling me that He wanted it that way. That that was my “greatness”. This changed things for me. I didn’t really need to accomplish anything else, in my life. And I told God that. What I have done already is enough for one lifetime. And, you know what is funny? After that release, this started happening:

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And this, and this, and this and a ton more . . .

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Its crazy. God gave me a new gift . . . a new sign, almost to seal the deal. I’m wounded, I didn’t fulfill my dreams . . . but I have new dreams now. God is SO in the business of the new-dreams thing. But it all came so naturally and so beautifully.

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The abusive people around me didn’t wreck my life, although I’m sure they would like to think so. And “he” didn’t wreck yours, either (whomever that was). He just simply doesn’t have that kind of power. God is bigger, as trite as that sounds. There are new dreams to be had that you will love more than you ever imagined. There is a new plan  . . . one that will blow your mind. Please do not give in to hopelessness. As simple as it seems, this carries a tremendous weight — He is with you; He is the lifter of your head.

 

Love,

 

Megan

 

 

He Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Life Part 1

I have been learning, lately, that narcissists choose a particular kind of victim because they are hungry for “fuel”. Apparently (according to HG Tudor), persons with this self-focused disorder will do anything to get some sort of a reaction from their victims — good or bad. Usually, they swing back and forth (“lovey stage”; “sabotaging stage”). When we cut off a narcissist and go “no contact”, the reason it works is because you have decimated their fuel line and it makes them MAD. Especially if they haven’t found an alternate resource for this fuel, yet. This “fuel”, being your building them up, allowing them to feel powerful by cutting you down, doing whatever they want, etc., is what keeps them going. And the reason they chose you, dear one, is because you are empathic. You will give everyone what they need; you will put yourself last; you will delay any of your hopes and dreams; you will always try to make the marriage/friendship/relationship work. They knew that. You were “fresh fuel” when they found you. And now, they have drained you . . . they have sucked the life out of you . . . they have destroyed your hopes and dreams. And they did it on purpose. Furthermore, you shunned them right on out of your life. It is an insult to them because you were beneath them, in their minds. How dare you? How dare you cut off their main source of fuel and get out from underneath their abuse? You have stepped out of line. In fact, I remember my ex husband using terms like that over and over . . . “Megan, You have stepped out from underneath your authority and God will not be with you.” (I actually copied and pasted that from a real, live email. He said stuff like that a lot). He depleted me. He took credit for things I came up with. He stole my hopes and my dreams. He discouraged me from believing I could do anything on my own. And he wasn’t the only one. . .

I remember standing in the back with my voice teacher before my senior recital. My two sisters were sitting in the front row and I was terrified. No one in my family wanted me to get a degree in voice. No one supported me in anything I wanted to do. Everything I have accomplished, I accomplished without support  or encouragement from my ex husband, his family and my family. Not one positive word. My voice teacher held my shoulders and looked me in the eye. Even though I hadn’t said anything to her, she knew why I was shaking. She said to me, “You are beautiful, Megan, and you will do a remarkable job. Ignore those two ladies sitting in the front row. Don’t even look there. You can DO THIS.” And with that shot in the arm, I did it. I didn’t look at them once.

For so long, I was surviving. For so long. Everything was put on the back burner . . . on hold. I was “selfish” if I wanted to do anything for myself. I kept having babies (whom I love and am grateful for every day), allowing my body to be ripped apart (seriously) each time. Four C-sections. But, I was doing my duty. Everything was duty. Anything I wanted was a splurge . . . flavored coffee, a new dress, to play the piano in church. Long gone were my dreams of becoming a professor of music. I was the perfect target and you were, too. You were vulnerable, happy, guileless, not competing with anyone . . . maybe, like me, you had just suffered a great loss. Maybe there was no one who cared enough about you to protect you. Maybe you had other people, in your life, who had similar natures to his and who were perfectly happy to see you treated like trash. And you cared. You wanted to do right by people around you. You wanted to help him

So, by the time you left, be it 2 years or 52 years . . . you were empty. Spent. It was too late to dream dreams. Your children needed you. You had to work. They had to go to school. And you were bitter. And that is OK for a while.

But, friends . . . here is the good news. That abuser counted on you being bitter forever and on never ever regaining that joy back again. He doesn’t want you to heal. He doesn’t want you to grow. He doesn’t want that garden, in your heart, that was stripped down to dry dust to be watered again. If you don’t know Jesus, perhaps you never could water that beautiful flower bed that is waiting to grow again. But, if you do know Jesus, you have a chance. You don’t have to be destroyed. You can find that little girl, again, who had so much sparkle and hope and joy because she is still there. Christ can pour that Living Water out into your heart again. That is the beauty of the Christian walk. It isn’t all over for you. Healing . . . yes. And that will take time. But, that is OK, too. Dreams . . . start small. There is survival to do and I get that. But, there are things that you can dream about that he/they cannot ever take away. There are things you can do that you have never done. Things he wouldn’t let you do. And there are normal people out there who will encourage you to try new things . . . to follow your heart for His glory . . . who will cheer you on!

I realize that this is extremely tender. I know that you don’t know how to dream. Or you wouldn’t dare, due to the overwhelming disappointment you have experienced. This is what I am asking of you today . . . . Just pray. Just ask Jesus to begin to reveal some hopes to you. Ask Him to re-awaken that happy little girl that is inside of you. Ask him to open doors for some small bits of dreams to come true. And then wait. Because He will tell you. 

There are things I am doing now that I could not have IMAGINED I even knew how to do! Creative things! My heart over-flows with joy as I dream about the next project . . . and the next. And, yes, real life sets in but my four kids are now a part of those dreams. And they dream, too. And, for them, life is a bowl of cherries. They can fly as high as the sky with their talents, skills and confidence. And, in the next blog, I will tell you why. I can’t wait to tell you why!

For now, just pray. Ask God to open up those precious little spaces in your heart you thought he stole. He stole. It was temporary. He thinks he can take but he doesn’t have that much power. He thinks he ruined your life but he didn’t. And he’ll be unspeakably, devilishly angry if he were to ever realize that. Because you have Jesus. And Jesus re-fills us with “fuel” that will keep us from ever being thirsty again. And, if you don’t know Him, just ask me about Him and I will tell you what He did for me. More to come, beloved child. For now . . . . just pray.

 

Love,

 

Megan

 

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Bigger Than the Gift

Thank you for what you’ve given!! 

It was just a gift certificate for a book.  She cried tears of thanks and responded to tell us.  Her own to choose, to keep?! WOW!

The kids get to see their very first movie in a theater.  The giggles and wiggles and plans ensued.  Never mind what movie, they cannot wait!!

A manicure?! She’s never had anyone paint her nails before.  Paid or not. What does that look like?

Cupcakes already made, exotically beautiful without the cost and sweat in the kitchen? Yes, please!!

How about a microwave to heat the endless leftovers a growing teen consumes daily, between meals? More tears.

The gifts that you thoughtfully, prayerfully, and generously chose to send through us sends more than a package.  It sends love and hope.  With each gift, the precious mamas are told how valued, spectacular, loved, and chosen they are.  By their Father in Heaven. We happily support and encourage and send along the gifts.  They are needed.  Some needs are practical, but all lift the spirits of the women who’ve been beaten down.  And these beautiful warrior women, remarkably and faithfully, explain to their children that there are people all over the world that love and support them.  

We have, with your generosity, been able to send many beautiful, thoughtful, practical gifts to the women we so humbly walk through life with.  There are more needs…towels, vacuums, small appliances.  And more ways we can shower these beautiful souls….

Please consider donating today. We still have the rest of August and there are still so many loving gifts to be given! We are thankful for you, for your kindness and for your lavishing love.

 

 

 

Give UP One to Give HER One! August Campaign! Hooray!!

Friends, it’s here! Possibly our favorite campaign of the year! This is where we ask you all (our beloved constituents) to give up something you would normally buy and, instead, give it to a struggling mama. This is the time of year where we get to do a little pampering. Why? Because it might be the only pampering these precious ladies get. And, we all need that now and then, right? Five years ago, I was struggling as a single mama with my four little lambs. At the time they ranged in age from 3 to 9. It was great in some ways (we were FREE!) but brutal in other ways. My dear friend (and former boss) David (and his lovely wife LeAnn) kept me STOCKED UP on a Starbucks gift card. It was like the widow’s oil that never ran out. When it started to get low, it just seemed like money appeared on that card. And I cannot tell you what it did for my spirit. It was my one thing. That one splurge that I couldn’t trade in for something for the kids (’cause you know that we mamas will sacrifice everything for our babies). And it was something that I could enjoy. I still remember making the drive (there wasn’t a Starbucks in the small town in which I lived) and savoring that whole-milk-peppermint-white-mocha.

It made me feel like a normal person. For a few minutes, I was just a mom, getting a Starbucks. For one minute, I wasn’t the broken, hurting woman who felt abandoned and deserted by those who had been closest to me. For a minute, I could be thankful.

That is what we want. To help “our” mamas feel like a normal person. Because, right now, they don’t. They are surviving. Just, in this past week, Kat and I have talked to mamas who are: sick and alone, needing the most basic of necessities, asking for clothes for their children (oh, my heart), filing for bankruptcy, unable to pay bills and being judged by their churches. This shouldn’t be. We have the heavy stuff covered. All of us pray and hurt right alongside these precious mamas. We weep with those who weep.

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What a delight it would be for them, in the month of August, to receive a Starbucks gift card, or clean towels, or movie tickets or a pizza dinner? Or even chocolate? (my personal favorite) There are so many beautiful options! Our own Carrie has spent oodles of time polling “our” mamas to see what especially blesses their hearts! What their very favorites are!

This is something everybody can do.

Will you join us? Go to the donate page here and just click and donate, specifying what you are giving by (and this is very important!!) putting what you wish to buy for a mama in the message/memo box on the Paypal donate page. We’ll take care of the rest! Then, grab a sticker and post it! Let people know that you gave because that helps other people to want to give, as well. Plus, we are celebrating! We are our sisters keepers! These mamas are God’s girls, wholly loved by Him! Let’s be the church, Church!

 

Love,

 

Megan