You Gave Us Dignity, Friendship and Kindness

You Gave Us Dignity, Friendship and Kindness

Dear Friends, “Thank you for taking care of us, being a warm jacket when we were cold, and showing us the love of Christ through your actions.” You may remember listening in Sunday School to the parables Jesus used to explain important concepts to those around Him. Those parables continue to guide us 2,000 years later, because their messages are so clear and relevant. Take Matthew 25: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” When Danette wrote that Sheltering Wings was “a warm jacket when we were cold,” she was expressing a similar message. Yes, Sheltering Wings is a place that provides shelter to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. But for those who share our faith, we’re something more. The services we provide are exactly what Jesus meant when He called upon us to serve those in need. When we embrace those in need and fear, we’re embracing Him. Danette and her three-year-old son stayed with us for just a couple days, but that brief interval was critical for them. We provided protection from their abuser, but she wrote that we gave her more than safety. “You gave us dignity, friendship, and kindness.” Safe from danger, she was able to look at her life and plan for a better way to live. I’m happy to report that she and her son are doing well. We never know how an opportunity to serve God will appear before us, or what form it may...
When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up

Dear Friends, “When I grow up I want to be a police officer. I want to help people who have been beaten and nail the bad guys who are committing crimes and being violent. ” Austin is 13, and has called Sheltering Wings home for the past year. When you read his words, your first reaction might be that he is simply lashing out at the man whose abuse he witnessed every day. But sit down across from him, and you’ll quickly realize that isn’t the case. “My family is healing,” he tells us. So is Austin. “I am less angry at my abusers, and my attitude is improving. I feel more safe and am a happier person since coming to live here.” Domestic abuse is a cycle. Without intervention, that cycle becomes perpetual. Young boys come to see abuse as the normal way to treat women, and young girls come to expect that abuse is some sort of manifestation of love.  That’s why we invest so much time and energy into the boys and girls who arrive here with their mothers. If we can show them what healthy relationships look like and teach them that nobody deserves to be abused, we can stop that cycle. Austin appreciates having a roof over his head and knowing that his family’s abuser can’t get to them. He understands that when his mother is ready to move on, she’ll have the support she needs to keep the family safe and independent.  And he’s learning a lot from the men who volunteer with us. Most of all, he’s seeing how a real man...
“Why do people hurt me? What did I do wrong?”

“Why do people hurt me? What did I do wrong?”

Dear Friends, “In that moment I started questioning my life. Why do people hurt me? What did I do wrong? I felt like I wasn’t good enough for nobody. Not even my kids.” Keandra was just 28 when she decided that she didn’t deserve to keep living. Sexual abuse as a preteen and teenager gave way to domestic abuse as a young adult. She was trapped in a cycle of depending upon men who used and abused her, and her desperation led her to swallow a bottle of pills. Her kids discovered and revived her, but her arrival at Sheltering Wings is what truly saved her life. You see, a safe place for Keandra wasn’t enough. If we simply provided shelter and sent her back on her own, she’d fall into the same cycle. Romans 12:2 calls upon us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformation is exactly what Keandra needed. The same is true for most of the women we serve. Our goal is to guide women to independence and self-sufficiency. We help them understand that they truly are worthy of honor, respect, and love. We teach them better ways to contend with the challenges life throws at us. We share more effective ways to be a parent and ensure that the cycle of domestic abuse ends with them. “I now know the meaning of true love, family, and what my God can do for me,” Keandra recently wrote. “Now I know why I didn’t die that day. I’m finally free…” As you celebrate our nation’s independence this month, know that your generous, prayerful support...
The True Example Of A Real Man

The True Example Of A Real Man

When we are able to speak Godly love and truth into the lives of those we serve at Sheltering Wings, it is important. When someone well-known speaks Godly love and truth to them, it is inspirational. When a man speaks Godly love and truth into our ladies, it is powerful. Several weeks ago, the men from For King & Country, a group comprised of Australian brothers Joel and Luke who perform Christian rock/pop, visited the shelter prior to their concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Many times since, I have reflected on the message they shared with our ladies, “You deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and honor by a man.” -Joel It strikes me how significant it is to hear this message from men. When those that may represent harm, confusion, pain and suffering, instead speak and model love, healing, comfort and peace, it is powerful. It is the intent of every program and service we offer at Sheltering Wings to share the love and compassion of Christ so victims more fully and positively understand their priceless value. I’m not sure there is much more of a higher calling. I’m grateful for every single person who supports Sheltering Wings, but if I may speak directly to the men who partner with us financially or through volunteering and advocating I want to especially thank you. You have a powerful and unique opportunity to help us break the cycle of abuse by not only coming alongside our women, but by also teaching fellow men what healthy, God-honoring love looks like. Thank you for filling that substantial role. I’ll leave...
Positive Changes For Her Family

Positive Changes For Her Family

Dear Friends, The little girl is a spitting image of her mom. They have the same walk and talk. Their hair is similar. They have the same fun, engaging personality. It is so cute to see. As I watched them interact, I prayed that this little girl also imitates other qualities she sees in her mom: her bravery and courage, hard work ethic, and desire to make positive changes for her family. You see, this mom made one of the toughest, most brave decisions a woman can make…to leave the only home their family had ever known in order to start again. Their home had become unsafe with the threat of verbal and physical abuse around every turn. This mom saw what was happening to her family and desired better for them. She may not have fully realized it at the time, but seeking safety at Sheltering Wings was her first step in breaking the cycle of abuse. When she came with her children they were initially very timid and scared, but as they began to meet the staff and other residents, as well as attend our groups and classes, we began to see a sparkle return to their eyes. Mom is leading the way to make healthy changes: she attends parenting classes and a support group. She found a job and has started saving money for their own place. She also works with our Children’s Case Manager to gather appropriate resources to support her children’s educational, physical and mental well-being needs. The family is beginning to thrive. It hasn’t been an overnight transformation, but they are gathering the...
Domestic Violence Follows Victims To Work

Domestic Violence Follows Victims To Work

Dear Friends, “I thought if it was a domestic problem, it was none of our business.” She was a caring, compassionate human resources manager for a local company. She knew a lot about looking out for the company’s employees, but she didn’t realize she might have to protect an employee from an abusive spouse. Our in-service presentation opened her eyes. “I didn’t realize it was our problem too. I learned domestic violence follows the victim to work.” Just because a victim leaves home to flee an abuser doesn’t guarantee safety. The abuser knows exactly where to find that victim every day, because the victim needs that income more than ever. Nearly three out of every four domestic violence victims report that their abuser has harassed them at work. If you’re a manager, you can take some simple steps to ensure the safety of an employee who is being abused or threatened: Ask the victim what changes you can make so he or she will feel safer. The victim knows the perpetrator better than anyone else. Document any abusive behaviors or evidence of abuse you may see or notice. Be sure the victim saves threatening email or voicemail messages. They may help with legal actions or prove that the abuser has violated a restraining order. Ask the employee for an emergency contact in case he or she is missing or unreachable. Have someone walk with the employee to the car or public transit stop, or arrange for a car pool to provide safe transportation. Make sure employees don’t give out any personal information to callers or visitors, because abusers often...