Secret Gifts :: {Guest Post}

I’m so excited to have my dear friend, Shea Sims, guest post. She has a beautiful heart with a desire to help others in need. Today, she shares her story of how God led her to begin undrlyne, a non-profit for women of domestic violence.

Here’s Shea:

Let me tell you something you already know. Life is hard. I know, right?!  Way to state the obvious. And I’m not just talking stub your toe, really annoying, hurts really bad for about 30 seconds kind of hard.

Although let’s face it, stubbed toes and paper cuts are an acutely major, though minor, source of pain. No, the type of hard that I’m talking about is the parachute didn’t open, every bone in your body broken, face smashed, years to recover, kind of hard. The hard that leaves you wondering if you will survive, or if you even want to; because, man, it’s painful. And breathing, breathing hurts.

This is the state of mind I found myself in a few days before Valentine’s Day, 2017.  My morning routine had become a time of crying out to God.  I was in big time emotional pain. Although there were no visible injuries; make no mistake, I was broken, bruised, bloody.

I had been beaten and stabbed by life and left for dead in a crumbling to the floor, clutching my stomach, fetal position. The cause of my suffering was a breakup of an unhealthy relationship. This was just one in a series of breakups.

It was an eight-month, dysfunctional pattern of on-again-off-again, stops, and starts. I had just spent my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve alone. Just me and my little dog Rumsfeld. Pitiful.

So on this day, prior to Valentine’s Day, what I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that I wasn’t game for another ‘woe is me’ holiday. I may have been left for dead, but I wasn’t dead yet. And that was cause for celebration. I needed celebration. Significant other or not, I had to get about the business of life.

But what was the secret, and would someone please let me in on it?  That’s when I remembered the advice about helping others when you are hurting, so I began to strategize Valentine’s Day. I had heard of randomly giving out roses, but dismissed that as maybe not the best idea for an introvert.

That's when I remembered the advice about helping others when you are hurting, Click To Tweet

Stepping out of my comfort zone seemed a bit too ambitious for my wounded soul at the time. So then I thought, who might be in a similar situation of intense sorrow on Valentine’s Day. The answer that came to me was residents in domestic violence shelters. Next, I wondered what I could give them. The typical gifts of flowers and candy weren’t practical and wouldn’t last very long. Then it hit me. Undergarments!

My enthusiasm began to fade as I realized a couple of days were not enough to contact a shelter, gather sizes, and purchase the items.

Then Jesus whispered; “No Shea, this is my gift to you.”

This gift of love to begin the process of healing from The Great Physician was the idea to start undrlyne, a nonprofit with a vision to eradicate domestic abuse.  One of our programs is Project Present. This program gifts residents of domestic violence shelters with new undergarments on special occasions, like Valentine’s Day.

But that’s not all. God is always showing me great and wonderful things and teaching me.  We decided to launch our Facebook page on another special occasion, my mother’s birthday. That same day I read this story in a blog post titled The Gift of Friendship by Mary Southerland on the website, Girlfriends in God.

Chad was a shy, quiet little boy. One day he came home and told his mother he’d like to make a valentine for everyone in his class. Her heart sank. “I wish he wouldn’t do that!” she thought. She had watched the children when they walked home from school. Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other, but Chad was never included. Still, she decided to go along with her son’s plan. She purchased the paper, glue and crayons and for three whole weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made thirty-five valentines.

Valentine’s Day dawned, and Chad was frantic with excitement! He carefully placed the valentines in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mom decided to bake his favorite cookies because she knew he would be disappointed when he came home from school. It hurt her to think he wouldn’t get many valentines – maybe none at all. That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table.

Finally, when she heard their voices, she looked out the window to see the children laughing and having the best time. As usual, there was Chad in the rear but walking a little faster than usual. She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside. His arms were empty. When the door opened, she choked back tears as she said, “Honey, I have some warm cookies and milk for you” but he hardly heard her words. He just marched right on by, his face glowing, and all he could say was, “Not one! Not a single one.” The mother’s heart sank. Then he added, “I didn’t forget one, not a single one!”

Ahhh. There it is. That, my friends, is the secret.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. ” Isaiah 45:3

 

You can learn more about undrlyne on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our website undrlyne.org is under construction and coming soon.

Sharing today’s post with Heart EncouragementPorch StoriesGod-sized Dreams, Tea and Word.

 

  1. Gayl

    June 13, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    That was a beautiful story of Chad and his enthusiasm. It is very inspiring. It kind of shows us what is important. Sometimes when we are hurting we don’t feel like helping someone else, but usually that is one of the best things we can do. 😉 What you are doing with your idea is wonderful.

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #TeaAndWord.

    1. Mandy

      June 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you, Gayl! My friend, Shea, has a beautiful heart. I’m so thankful she shared it here <3

  2. welcomeheart

    June 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This is so wonderful! I will look up the org and pass it along. blessings and I too had a rough breakup the night before Valentines many years ago – timing, uncanny – but necessary! (you might enjoy my post today…I was a late bloomer, married at 35)

    1. Mandy

      June 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Thank you, Sue!! That would be amazing! I just finished reading your post…LOVED!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. CrystalStorms.me

    June 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    What a beautiful encouragement to bless others and give them what we need. Love the mission of Underlyne and the dignity and love they are showing to others!
    Thank you, Shea, and, Mandy, for sharing!

    1. Mandy

      June 19, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you, Crystal!

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