The mat said, “Welcome,” but the person using it as a sleeping mat did not feel that sentiment.
Ashley’s nights were spent sleeping on the garage floor using the “Welcome” mat as a bed. This was as close as she could get to the warmth of the house and the dream of being part of the family.
Ashley was not allowed at the dining table, in the living room, or in the family’s hearts.
She didn’t have any belongings…no bedroom…no bed.
I’ll continue with Ashley’s story later, but let me tell you up front why I’m writing this urgent letter to you.
We began our Christmas In July campaign many years ago out of the desperate need for funding during the summer months, when our financial support is at its lowest. However, as I’m sure you are aware, caring for our children at the Mansion is a year-round mission.
As you now continue reading about Ashley, would you prayerfully consider helping us with a special one-time Christmas In July gift to the Mansion?
Sleeping by the door had another benefit; it was Ashley’s alarm. When the door began to move, she would awaken and jump to her feet before someone could come and kick her awake. She said, “No one likes to be woken up by being kicked.”
She used to press her ear to the crack at the bottom of the garage door, listening to the sounds of family life and laughter taking place just inches from where she lay. By being quiet and still, she could pretend she was part of the family, even though they told her she wasn’t worthy of being one of them.
She had been taken in, but she had not been invited in. Taken in to do the family chores, taken in because her mother abandoned her, taken in, but she was not welcomed in.
Ashley didn’t have a sense of worth, not even in her own skin.
She was told daily that her teeth were ugly, her skin was ugly, her limbs were too short, and her only value was in washing and cleaning up for the people who should have loved her.
They made sure she knew her place, on the cold floor of the garage and on the cold floor of their contemptuous hearts.
Her only view of herself was the one reflected in the mirror of their eyes.
But God saw the real Ashley. He saw her as precious. He saw her as beautiful. He saw her as His child. And He sent her a lifeline.
When she came to TCM, the light of truth began to shine into her life.
It takes time to heal the kind of mind, body, and soul wounds that Ashley experienced.
As the light and love of Jesus Christ has poured into her wounds through words, actions, prayers, family time, Christian school, and house parents, Ashley has not only healed; she has blossomed.
When you see her now, playing volleyball with her school team or laughing with her roommates, you see the light peeking through, dispelling the lies of “no one could love you.”
When you watch her diligently working on her schoolwork, you see the light of truth shining through, dispelling the lies of “You’re not smart enough.”
When you see her praying, arms held high, face alight with joy; the light of truth, hope and freedom shine through so brightly that you almost need sunglasses.
When this story was first shared with me, I couldn’t help but wonder how many more Ashleys there are out there who desperately need to come under our care at the Mansion.
Loving and giving is what the true spirit of Christmas is all about, and it’s not just something that we celebrate once a year in December, but throughout the entire year, even in July.
Please don’t wait. Your help is urgently needed now!
Whatever you can give will be appreciated very much and will help to defray the summertime expenses of caring for over 100 children, the most we have ever had at TCM.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing with us in this, the Lord’s work!
Please click on the following link to make a donation today…
(Ashley is not the girl’s real name and she is not pictured.)
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President & CEO / Executive Director - @tupelochildrensmansion / Follow @shjegj for pics of grandkids & family.
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