From my front row seat

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Thing that Happens Behind that Door

Okay, I'm going to make myself look like an idiot in order to make a point.  So, here goes.

Years ago when I entered my freshman year in college, I joined a group and was immediately elected Treasurer.  Clearly there were no particular qualities required.  Perhaps everyone simply liked my outfit that day.

Regardless, here I was.  Treasurer.  Important job.  The outgoing treasurer met with me to discuss my responsibilities and hand over the books.  As she described how to keep track of our income and expenses, she said, "Be sure to list any outstanding checks here."  

After she finished she asked if I had any questions.  "Yes, just one.  At what point does a check become outstanding?"  I imagined there must be some kind of threshold a check could cross that would suddenly turn it into a remarkable amount.  Like, wow, that's one outstanding check

Truth is, one of my favorite activities each day is picking up our mail at the post office.  I like to lay my eyes on every single check we get because it helps me remember the kind person who sent it.  You see - EVERY check we get is outstanding!  I don't care if it's $5 or $50,000.  Every gift is valuable to us.

We have a unique situation in which our donors are literally scattered all across the country.  Many don't travel in the same circles.  They don't attend the same parties.  And they don't concern themselves with whether their friends see their names on a gold or platinum list.  What this means is that every supporter we have gives to us because he or she is passionate about our mission to break cycles of abuse and addiction and rebuild families through the love of Christ.

Having been involved with Blue Monarch since it took its first breath, it's sometimes overwhelming and quite moving to look at all the hundreds, actually thousands, of donor files and see just how many people lift us up and support our ministry.  We've been encouraged to go digital and I can hardly stand the thought that I may not be able to physically touch those drawers and drawers of donor files one day.  It's such a powerful reminder that we rely on so many kind people who make our work possible.

One day recently I was searching through my phone for a particular photograph.  As I scrolled through all my photos, I realized I was seeing a great representation of what happens at Blue Monarch on a daily basis - things I always wish our donors could see firsthand.

For instance, this note.  One of our mothers had a really difficult morning with her ten-year-old son the other day before school.  When he came home that afternoon she looked through his bag and was surprised to find this.  He had written this sweet little note, completely on his own.  This may not seem like very much.  But it's really huge.  

I can remember when this boy first came to Blue Monarch over a year ago.  He was extremely angry, repeatedly tried to run away, refused to obey his mother, was doing poorly in school, and was very aggressive.  But now, he and his mother have a very loving relationship, he's at the top of his class in reading, and is an absolute joy to be around.

Then I found this one.  A few weeks ago I saw this woman give a very moving account of her past and where she wants to be at the end of our program.  It was heartbreaking.  I was moved by her amazing courage to share her horrific story. 

But later on, I watched this same woman from my office as she excitedly showed the other women a beautiful sunset from our backyard.  (God seems to bless us constantly with gorgeous sunsets!)  I was so grateful that we have this peaceful farm for our women and children to heal in a safe place.

Then, a few weeks ago before we ate Thanksgiving dinner together, this little boy eagerly offered to say the blessing.  What a life this child has had over the past couple of years!  After a painful separation from his mother, through our program they were reunited and able to grow and recover together.  Not long ago, his older brother went away to prison for a very long time.  However, this boy has opportunities that will cause his path to look much different. 

While I love to find checks in the mail, there's something else in the box that is equally important.  Every day we receive stacks of applications with handwritten letters from desperate women trying to get into our program.  I can almost tell you what they say without even opening them.  We also receive calls all day long with the same heartbreaking stories.

The sad fact is that we have somewhere between 50 and 60 families on our waiting list at any given time.  We can currently house 16 families so we turn people away every day.  But they need our help just like the ones who are living with us right now.

There's a really powerful bond that takes place in our mailbox.  You see, the mailbox that holds a woman's desperate cry for help, is the same mailbox that holds the help she may receive one day.  The giver and the receiver may be bonded for life in this little mailbox and never even know it.

Someone's check paid for the gas it took for that little boy to finally be reunited with his mother.  Several other gifts provided the intense family counseling that allowed that mother and ten-year-old to build a healthier relationship.  Others have paid for our beautiful home where the woman above is able to enjoy a beautiful sunset in a safe place, free from severe abuse.

Every check we get is outstanding.  Every gift is valued.  And whether we realize it or not, every dollar has some hurting woman or child's name on it.  But they all start right here.  Together.

Lord, thank you for all the many people you have brought our way who help support our ministry in powerful ways.  We pray that we will someday have the resources to turn no families away.  And more than that, we pray that one day our services will no longer be needed.  Amen

If you would like to give to Blue Monarch, you may mail a check to:
Blue Monarch
PO Box 1207, Monteagle, TN  37356 
Or click here to give securely online: