Today’s post is by Megan Cox, Founder and executive director of Give Her Wings. We are so thankful for Megan’s willingness to share her story with us and pray that God will use her words and ministry to bless you.
When I came home to our small home with the children, it was the middle of the Little-House On-The-Prairie-icy-cold winter of Nebraska. I had just picked up my two littles from afterschool care and my two tinies from after-preschool care. The wind was cutting as I watched through watery eyes . . . my children tottering in their snowsuits up the patio to the front door. On the steps was a black garbage bag. I lugged a handful of school backpacks in, made sure all of the kids were safely inside and looked around. Back then, I felt afraid all of the time. Deep, irrational fear that one of the kids would wander off or be taken. It is hard to be afraid all the time and be the only parent-eyes on four little ones. I looked up and down the street, wondering who had left the pile on our doorstep. I examined the bag and finally, I dragged it in and closed and locked the door. The kids gathered round as I opened it and began pulling out used clothes. Faded clothes. Ripped clothes. Jeans with holes. Worn out shoes (not our sizes). And I wept. I was thankful to whomever thought of us. At the same time, this would mean (yet another) trip to Goodwill for me because most of the things given us were not the right sizes and they would not hold up. I did not want my children looking poor, even though we were poor and I felt poor. I was already having to stand up for them at the elementary school because of a rough PE teacher who knew they were fatherless. I tried to keep their hair looking nice. I kept them clean and fed. I wanted others to know that these were loved children, even though we had almost nothing. This gift was not a blessing to me, somehow, even though I knew that the motivation was well-intentioned.
One of our mamas tells a story about how, years ago, her son needed clothes. When we asked how we could serve her, that was what she told us. We would pay her bills but we were also determined that her boy would be dressed in what he needed and in the perfect size. When she received her package, she was deeply touched. She said to me:
When GHW asked what my kids needed, I had said it was something nice to wear for church like khakis and a collared shirt . . . We usually wore hand me downs from friends. When I opened the package and saw new beautiful dress pants and a new shirt for church, I cried. Because it took strangers, who never even met us, to say we were worth more than the man who is their husband/father had treated us. I never thought I would receive a NEW pair of pants for him. I thought you all would send me something used. It had been so long since we received something new.
This amazing woman is now serving abuse victims but she has never forgotten that God loves to give His children good gifts.
At Give Her Wings, we have two statements: a mission statement and a giving statement. Our giving statement is thus:
Give Her Wings gives with dignity, generously and elegantly, showing each mama that she is worth the extra added effort and nice touches. When we give, we stress the honor we have that we have this opportunity to serve one of God’s princesses.
We focus on how we give for several reasons:
1. Our mamas have dignity, created in the image of God and beloved by Him. They are His daughters. We recognize that we are serving the daughters of a King and we care, very much, about how we give to daughters of kings.
2. Receiving a gift or a card reminds them of who they are. Our mamas have been told they are nothing by many for years (sometimes decades). Being reminded of their identity in Christ is a gift, in and of itself.
One of our first mamas recounts how she received a card from my husband, five years ago:
“When I got home, there was an envelope waiting for me in the mailbox that wasn’t a bill. I dreaded checking the mail, every day, because it was all bills I couldn’t afford to pay. Or debt collectors. Seeing a hand-written card sparked a little bit of joy, in my heart, and took away my dread. But, what really drove me into tears was reading, ‘For ________, beautiful child of God.’ I had forgotten who I was. For 27 years, I had not heard anything positive spoken about me.”
Twenty-seven years. Nothing but name-calling and ugliness and blame for twenty-seven years.
Since that day, we have addressed all of our mamas that way — reminding them that they are beloved, beautiful children of God. Adored by Him. Loved by Him. Redeemed by Him. I could not begin to describe how powerful this is. If all we did was embark on a ministry of reminding these amazing women of God’s love for them, that would be profoundly life-changing, standing alone. I know this. But, we do more. We give to them. We are a mercy ministry who helps pay their bills so they will be completely free from abuse and able to discover, on their own and with God, their worth in Christ.
We have the opportunity to help our mamas get on their feet financially, but we are also able to remind them of their preciousness, and nothing brings us more joy. If only they knew how we see them. If only they could grasp how honored we all feel to serve them — from the board to the staff to the ministry team. If only they could see themselves as God does . . . it is part of our mission. We consider that our mission — to remind them of their redemption. And, by doing so, to reveal the arms of Christ, just waiting for His daughter to run to them.
“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 NLT
Megan Cox is Founder and Executive Director of Give Her Wings, Inc., a non profit that helps single mothers who have left abusive relationships. She is author of Give Her Wings: Help and Healing After Abuse and has an MAR in Pastoral Counseling. She is certified in crisis response with the AACC.
Learn more about Give Her wings at giveherwings.com