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.