She was originally nominated to be an encouragement mama (by the way, we have taken four new encouragement mamas into our private support group for May and assigned them mentors). So many in our circle had nominated Brave Bear and they all spoke so highly of her integrity and walk with Jesus. I just HAD to be the one to vet her on the phone. I felt an instant connection once I heard about how she had moved here from Switzerland to marry her husband, who turned out to be abusive. Now, having left her abuser recently, she has become a fighter who is alone. I kind of thought long and hard about what to name this mama. I read somewhere that polar bears are the most solitary animals. And then I thought about what a mama bear she is and I chose “Brave Bear” . . . because she is bereft of her family (all overseas) and she is a warrior. She was an overseas missionary for 20 years, which is where she met her husband. She has three babies and is struggling, deeply, to help the to work through their own emotional issues . . . while she works on her own . . . while she works full-time. And, as we often discover, their church took his side. He is, after all, a missionary . . . Because of her weekends with her kiddos, she hasn’t been able to work her weekend job very well, putting her in a tight position, financially. As I listened, I knew that a boost of $1500 toward her mortgage and electric bills would go a long way toward peace of mind with her, enabling her to help her kiddos. Her ex is supposed to pay for these things. It never ceases to amaze me how men get away with simply not paying child support . . .
So, I casually mentioned that I might like to propose to the board that we help her financially. She began to cry . . . just a little bit, at first, but then it become this uncontrollable sobbing. She said, “I have felt . . . so. alone.” I wept with her. I know that feeling. You’ve been so beat down and you’re tired and if you have to share your story one more time. And, as you share it, you know (full-well) that you might be judged or the people listening might be completely overwhelmed by the whole thing and shut you down. You know that they might not get it . . . they might say something trite and ridiculous like “it takes two to tango so . . . “. They might not believe you were abused. They might say they can’t handle the hard stuff. But Give Her Wings will handle the hard stuff.
Looking back over my conversation with Brave Bear, I think the reason she wept with such power and passion is because I believed her and I shared with her how honored we are, at Give Her Wings, to serve incredible women like her. I told her that I treasure her story because it is precious to Jesus and I will pray for her and hold her story close to my heart. I told her that she deserves to be helped by the Church. She could barely speak as I spoke . . . she just cried.
This is why I love what I do and do what I do. These are the moments I live for. I get to shower others with the love and mercy I could not find. That, my friends, is how you take your pain and reframe it for God’s glory.
I asked Valerie Jacobsen to meet with Brave Bear in person. She was more than happy to do so.
She brought our mama flowers (because that is how Valerie is, ya’ll). She was an ambassador of mercy and we are deeply grateful.
So . . . now, we work on helping her pay the bills and surround her with tremendous love and support. She is our May mama and we love her already. If you feel led to donate, please click here. We are thankful for each and every donation — more than we can say. You are contributing to life-giving, soul-caring work.