May 2017

Carrie Graduated Nine Months!
It seems like just yesterday I rode on a bus for thirty-six hours to come here. While riding on the bus, I
felt bewildered and pained about my seemingly inability to hold it together, thrive or enjoy healthy
relationships. In my past, I had been deeply wounded by certain childhood experiences, which set the March 2017
stage for future failures.
In private moments here at the Refuge, I fell to my knees in sorrow and brokenness. Soon after, I found
out that brokenness is exactly where I needed to be.
Since those vulnerable moments with God, I have experienced the sweetness of His tender mercy, kindly
embracing my soul. Scripture says, “I will speak kindly to her…and she will sing as in the days of her For people serious about getting well!
youth.” Now He is the lifter of my chin and the lover of my soul.
Counselors have taught me the power of forgiveness and the
steps to take to not only forgive others but to forgive myself. I
Summer Travels & Travails
have also learned my high value in Christ and my identity in Him. Growing up in New England, I was blessed with three old- Rarely will someone learn deep meaningful life lessons
All of this has taken time but it was worth it!
er brothers who made sure I knew the pecking order: I through ease and comfort; most are learned through the
He has swept away your sins like a cloud would always be the little, tag-along sister no matter how hard things of life. At the Refuge, we are learning to be
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. old I was. One summer our family packed up a picnic like Jesus who learned obedience through suffering
Oh, return to me, lunch and spent the day at a sliding rock in New Hamp- (Hebrews 5:8). Most people only begin to grasp the
for I have paid the price to set you free. (Isaiah 44:22)
shire. depth of God’s love and develop a deep relationship with
And I have indeed been set free. Praise be to God! Hallelujah! Him by walking with Him through life’s pain and suffering.
Carrie, nine month graduation The water was cold as it rushed through the boulders, but
The Apostle Paul said “For [Christ’s] sake I have suffered
there were large flat rocks where one could slide down
Gardner’s Meditation Garden the smooth granite into a pool of refreshing, crystal clear
the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order
that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
water. My brothers were elated and quickly found their
An Open Thank you to the Board of Directors and the staff of the Women’s Refuge:
way across the rocks and rapids where they spent hours Learning to obey is not so much about turning from diso-
We couldn’t believe it! We were so overwhelmed and surprised when the beautifully landscaped and gleefully sliding down the slippery rocks bedience, but rather growing in our
enlarged Meditation Garden was dedicated to us. We were both very tearful with the honor you bestowed and splashing in the pool. But, not me. relationship with God by yielding, or
upon us by dedicating the garden and renaming it the Gardner Meditation Garden. Wow! It was a com-
My mommy said I was too little, even surrendering, our fleshly desires to
plete surprise to us both and we are truly humbled!
though I was eight years old and wearing Him every day. For those who have
The beautiful plaque presented to us touched our hearts and my new bathing suit with a big smiley face trouble trusting God loves them and
will be in our memories forever. on it. I was only allowed to dip my feet in believing He is good, letting go of old
Back in 2002, when we dedicated Bethel (the residential the water while sitting on a rock. And so, coping skills and trusting God with
house), I, Roy, had the privilege of putting in the landscaping I sat there pouting while watching my big their lives, or waiting on God to work
Cheryl’s first pity party!
and irrigation system. It was then that I saw a need for an brothers have all the fun. I think I learned out His plan, can be very difficult.
area where the women could sit outside under the beautiful
about pity parties that day.
oaks. So I ordered rocks, brought my concrete picnic table over Many women who come to the Refuge, like Carrie whose
and came up with a good, used barbeque grill for the area. In hindsight, my mother was right. The rapids were too testimony is on the back page, have sunk to the place in
Over the years, all the generous and hard work by the faithful dangerous for a little girl to slide down. She was looking their lives where they are ready to surrender it all. For
volunteers and staff have enlarged the area.
out for my best interest even though I didn’t understand them life was just not working; they have tried everything
Donna Roy Barbara Ted
We have both been very involved with the Women’s Refuge it, and even though sitting on the rock didn’t feel very they could think of to stop the pain or break free from
since it started in 1997 and I, Barbara, have had the privilege of being on the Board for over 10 years as good, and certainly wasn’t much fun. depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Yet through that
well as being on staff and counseling for the last 17 years or so. The fruit of this desperation, they became willing to deny
ministry has been changed lives. Not just the women in the program and their How often do we pout or have a tantrum when things do
their fleshly coping mechanisms and au-
families but the men, women, children as well as their extended families of the not go our way? We want what we want when we want
people in our community. tomatic negative thinking in order to be-
it, and when we don’t get it, we are angry at others, or
come more focused and dependent on
We were truly overwhelmed and humbled by the unbelievably wonderful out- the situation, or even at God. We forget that God is
God. They learn that there is hope and
pouring of love and respect from the Board, the staff, the women in the program working all things together for good even when we can’t
freedom in surrender.
and the volunteers committed to the Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach. see it or feel it. He calls us to deny ourselves, take up our
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. cross and follow Him.
Cheryl Wood, Director of Counseling
Roy and Barbara Gardner
Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach, P.O. Box 1484 Vero Beach, FL 32961
(772) 770-4424 Fax: (772) 770-2779 ● Email: Web:
Who Am I?

I have been
I am free.
Praying hourly.
crucified Blessing happily.
The Refuge depends on the outpouring of inter-dependent
relationships within the body of Christ.
with Christ. Helping endlessly. We cannot do this on our own.
Diane Cheryl Shelsea Donna Loving regardless.
It is no long-
We are so grateful for the whole team
I’m free. of people who worked together over

er I who
the past several weeks to re-build the
Fearfully regard His Word. fencing along the rear of our property.
live, but Faithfully follow my Lord. We had a team from First United Meth-
odist help tear down the old fencing
I can just be a human being who is loved. that was damaged in the hurricane.
Christ who lives in me. And the How wonderful is that? And another team also from First
United Methodist along with several
life I now live in the flesh I live by Calmly address His children. other individuals including Mark
Lumadue, Brian Bogart, Bill Ludwig, Bill
faith in the Son of God, who loved Joyfully sing His praises!
Teston, Vern Seim, and Ted Robart who spent hours in the hot
Confidently approach His throne. sun re-building the new fence.
me and gave himself for me. I can rest in the arms of my Lord. Additionally, in response to our needs list, we
(ESV Gal. 2:20) I’ve never known how to do that were blessed with a like-new refrigerator for x
our residents’ home. Volunteer opportunity in
So I can be me. I can just be! office for special person
Thank you for the many ways you partner with
~Shelsea, after 2 weeks with computer skills

Who’s the Real Me? Today’s Prayer
During a recent house meeting we learned Heavenly Father and Creator of all mankind, have
that we often wear masks to protect inner mercy upon us. Forgive us for doubting Your faithful-
hurts and fears while projecting an image of ness. Sadly, we confess that our fears overwhelm us as
having life all together. But, hiding behind a we encounter the temptations all around us. So many
mask is just plain self-reliance which was times, we believe our emotions instead of the truth
never God’s intention for His image bearers. that You will never leave us or forsake us, and that no
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Live as people who temptation has been given to us that You don’t
are free, not using your freedom as a cover- provide a way of escape. Please give us wisdom as we
up for evil, but living as servants of God” step out in places and situations that we’ve never
(1 Peter 2:16). To live in freedom from been. Traveling the paths that are before us seem
pretense involves yielding our will to His. perilous without a tangible map. Open up our hearts
With a new understanding of our true and give us more faith to see the way. As we travel,
identity in Christ we can confidently develop give us the confidence and strength to commit our
authentic relationships with God and others way to You, Lord, and to trust that You will always act
based on truth. ~Cheryl Wood on our behalf. The steps of a man are established by
Pat & Bill Marine
You, Lord, when he delights in His way. In the Name of
Jesus who is the Way. Amen and amen ~Donna