Showing items filed under “Jeremy Shirley”
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There are many things I’ll remember about September 25th, Gotcha Day, when we finally gained custody of our 2 beautiful Bulgarian girls, Lily and Mya.  God has used this process and that special day to teach me many things, but 1 small unexpected thing that caught me off guard was how much God taught me about what He’s done for me.  That 1 small, unexpected thing was a Jumbo bag.  Jumbo is a store in Bulgaria, somewhat along the lines of our stores like Walmart, where you can buy lots of different things.  The Jumbo bag was similar to the plastic bag you’d get when you checkout at a store here in America but a little larger.  Why would a Jumbo bag mean so much to me?  That cheap plastic bag contained all the possessions my 2 new daughters brought with them into our family.  The bag contained a few articles of clothing, a few small toys and some pictures from their childhood.  They had accumulated such a small amount of possessions in their lives.  It would have seemed natural in that moment to think of that Jumbo bag and how we were rescuing them or how we could provide for them a much better life but, that’s not what God chose to put in my mind as I received this Jumbo bag.

It was in that moment as I received that Jumbo bag that thankfully God didn’t allow me to think highly of myself or what I was doing as much as what He’s done for me.  In that moment, realizing the little bit of stuff the girls had, God reminded me that I was the same before Christ, before He adopted me into His family.  The Bible speaks of adoption in a number of places.  Multiple times, just like in the passage below in Galatians 4:4-7, it speaks to how God adopted us and as sons/daughters of Christ we are full heirs.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

I’m not sure what our girls thought when they entered our family that day.  I’m not sure they had any concept of what it meant to be adopted into our family.  I’m confident they didn’t understand what it meant to be a full heir, a daughter in my family.  They brought that Jumbo bag, happy with what they had in life and not having a clue how little they had compared to us.  Please don’t misunderstand any of this as bragging about how much we have…but consider how rich we are compared to 2 little girls who only have a Jumbo bag full of possessions.  They couldn’t have understood that they’d go home and have their own beds, their own chest of drawers full of clothes, a room full of toys to play with, food where they could start putting on weight and growing…and the list goes on and on.  They packed up their whole little life in that Jumbo bag.  They felt loved and cared for in their foster family, but they had no idea what it was to be adopted and become full heirs.

Years ago, when I came to Christ, I thought I had a pretty good life.  The possessions I had made me happy.  The little life I’d built for myself by all appearances was pretty special.  The reality is, before Christ, if I had a Jumbo bag full of stuff to present to God, I’d be surprised.  When Christ called me to salvation, when He adopted me into His family, I didn’t have a clue what it really meant to be adopted by Christ, what it really meant to be a full heir in Christ’s kingdom.   To be honest, I still don’t totally know what it means to be a full heir in God’s kingdom.  When my dad passed away a few weeks ago, he got a better glimpse of what it is to be a full heir than any of us this side of heaven have experienced yet. 

When we come to know Christ, we approach God with our little Jumbo bag of stuff that we’ve accumulated.  Proud of ourselves and naïve to the reality of how little we really had.  Then God adopts us into His family and our eyes are opened to a whole new world, a world where God is far richer and gives more generously than we could ever imagine.  I’m not sure what God thinks when He sees His new child bringing their Jumbo bag of stuff to Him.  I’m confident that when I brought my Jumbo bag of stuff to God, that just like my girls when we welcomed them into our family…I had no idea how much God had really done for me through His son Jesus and I had no idea how much more I instantly inherited by being a son or daughter of God.  That Jumbo bag we offer God the Father, is not so jumbo after all!

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This year’s Fall Festival is quickly approaching and if you’re still on the fence about whether to run or walk in the 5K on October 19, here’s some information about the ministry that we’re supporting through your participation. 

The Covering House provides refuge and restoration, using the least restrictive environment, for sexually exploited and trafficked children and teens, providing safety, dignity, and freedom utilizing top level staffing and oversight.

The issue of sex-trafficking in the United States is vast, yet the majority of individuals are unaware of its prevalence. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sex-trafficking is defined as a “commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.” Although slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, it is still alive and thriving today, and American children are now among the most vulnerable.

Our logo is inspired by The Underground Railroad log cabin quilt pattern, which served as a secret message of safety during those times. Quilts bearing the log cabin pattern were hung in windows to indicate a safe home for those seeking refuge.  By taking a stand against modern day slavery and commercial sex trafficking, while providing refuge for today’s young survivors, The Covering House is fighting for a world without slavery.

During the fall of 2014, The Covering House opened their long-term therapeutic home. The opening of this facility was significant for many reasons. This facility is for girls, between the ages of 13-17 years old, that have experienced sexual trafficking or exploitation in the U.S. This home is the first in the state of Missouri, third in the Midwest and 38th in the U.S. solely for girls under the age of 18 years old that have experienced this trauma.

The following is a testimony about one of the young women that The Covering House has helped:

                “Dedee, I haven’t stopped talking about you guys and the work you’re doing and how amazing SH is doing since I got back on Monday.  I just truly can’t get over the difference and transformation in SH... you all have empowered her to be the person she was meant to be.  When she arrived she was a hard, closed, dark, unhappy, broken girl and now she has this glow about her! It’s remarkable the progress that she’s made. I know she had to do the work but you guys gave her the tools to get there.  I literally sat there in awe watching her talk and listen as she would tell us about her songs and her poems and her artwork and her concerns coming home and what she knows she needs to work through and still work on...basically... I saw life in her... A sparkle that wasn’t there when she arrived in January!!!What you guys do is truly amazing and is very much needed! As an advocate seeing SH now is the best reward ever! I was one who fought to get her there and am so thankful I did!!!The Covering House is truly unique – it’s everything I had pictured in my mind and more.... it’s not a “facility” it’s truly a home... I kind of refer to it as a “bridge” from where they are –to helping them get to where they need to be to function in society and ultimately helping them get to where God wants them to be. You are showing and teaching the girls how to be “normal".  Every girl, not just girls that are trafficked, need to be empowered and feel empowered to be able to reach their full potential— and that’s what you’re doing!  I can’t thank you enough for all that you do... I wholeheartedly believe you have saved SH and I’m so excited to see what lies ahead in her future! I see big things for her with her gift of writing poems and songs and her artwork... She truly has found her calling. She did the work but you gave her the place, and the time, and the grace, and the love, to get there...If there’s anything I can ever do to help, please let me know... You definitely have a huge advocate and cheerleader for The Covering House in me! I’m hoping you’ll have another one of the girls I’m working with soon.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Addie Wood

Attorney at Law

If you’d like to support the work at The Covering House, sign-up for the Fall Festival 5K today and $10 of your registration cost will go directly to The Covering House!

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