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When is a gift card more than just a card?

by | Nov 14, 2023 | Uncategorized

   As told by “Anne Marie,” and written by Lauren Rose

I thought we were a team, yet these days I feel more like a mascot. 

My voice was harnessed by my lack of income, as if a paycheck (or lack thereof) was what defined my worth. 

My husband dominated me as the sole breadwinner of the family. 

What once we had viewed as a blessing had become an administrative nightmare for me. 

My financial decisions were always monitored and heavily scrutinized— chipping away at any confidence I might have had until I just couldn’t make any decisions without him. 

I learned that I couldn’t trust myself. What I perceived as safe, wrong, or good was only an illusion.

And I had been isolated for so long from the encouragement and security I so desperately needed. 

Somedays, I would grieve the idea that I would never feel those things again. 

It seemed almost impossible to be anywhere but with him with my funds being constantly micromanaged. 

It would even have been difficult to justify a trip to a girlfriend’s house so I could breathe for a bit— my mental well-being simply was not worth the gas to get there. 

But when I got selected to receive advocacy support from Called to Peace Ministries, it was like a familiar fragrance of hope that someone finally saw me.  

I had been walking in a fog, in shock, because of the realization that I was drowning in my abusive marriage. 

And for the first time in so incredibly long, I felt like my kids and I might just make it. 

The $100 gift card awarded to me, gave me the opportunity to govern my own decisions once again. I was able to see in real time that I was capable, responsible, and trustworthy.

I was able to offer value to my children in a way that taught them the joy of generosity— which is something that my husband had previously looked down on. 

Together, my children and I purchased some supplies to make cookies for our neighbors. 

We were able to cultivate a genuinely life-changing experience as our challenges faded to the background for a single moment. 

We were able to step outside our own hardships to meet the needs of others. Some of our neighbors didn’t have family or friends, and we were able to stand in that gap for them. My heart swelled as I witnessed my children learning about the pleasure of serving others. 

God was watching over us that day— and I pray that our hearts have been pleasing to Him.

With the money left over from our baking adventure, I was able to visit my supportive friend. In addition, we treated ourselves to some hot chocolate for the trip. 

That was an overdue respite for all of us. Her spirit gave me strength and confidence during one of the most challenging seasons of my life.

It has been so long since I paid any attention to the intuition God gave me— because when we have learned not to trust ourselves, this all becomes cloudy. But now I get the pleasure of rediscovering all the goodness that comes along with assurance in Christ.

My advocate, Brooke Eggen, gently led me through the steps I needed to take to help me begin to trust myself again.  

To learn how to make decisions again in the aftermath of abuse is like relearning how to walk. First, we must get comfortable with making small decisions before we can try and stand on our own two feet.  

Brooke displayed confidence in the guidance of the Holy Spirit as she met us all where we were. Brooke truly became a healing balm to our wounds. She came alongside me as I navigated through big and small choices. And the resources she was able to provide, emboldened me with confidence to make the best decisions for myself and my children. 

After a year and a half, I feel like I am finally in a space where I can take the action steps needed to secure our freedom. 

So— allow me to add some perspective on what a simple gift card can do. In my situation, this card’s worth was much more than just its monetary value.

It became an answer to the prayers for a desperate woman seeking grace. And a beacon of light in the middle of the most brutal darkness. 

It was the opportunity I expectantly had been waiting for that permitted me to do something apart from my husband’s domination.

I was able to get the confirmation I needed to pursue peace, and help me to keep my head above water even as I felt I was drowning.

With much Gratitude, I can confidently say that your investment has indeed provided a lasting impact on me and my children. Your generosity will forever transform the trajectory of our lives.