The other day I found my mind wondering over the past year and the few that came before it. I was thinking back on all that had happened and the changes that had taken place, and then I realized something. It’s ONLY been five years. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago that Samuel was born, but it’s only been five short years.
I remember I was sitting on the edge of the bed when the phone rang. It was Scott calling to tell me that Samuel was gone. I remember lifelessly falling back onto the bed and crying to Jesus, “I will never make it through this. My pain and impatience will be the end of me.” Usually when I speak to Jesus I can feel His words, but not this time. This time I just felt Him. I felt Him as He helped me put on my shoes and as He helped me stand up. I knew what His silence meant. There could be no reasoning or rushing through grief and instead I was going to have to trust that He would see me through. That moment was one of the first times I felt true peace.
I felt that same kind of peace again the day I found my mind looking back over the past five years. Not because I’ve overcome anything, but because I can see how far He’s brought me. He’s torn down each obstacle I’ve placed in my own way and has taken me out of every comfort zone I created. He took the two things I was sure I couldn’t handle and in five short years made them into blessings. That peace gives me courage for the new year ahead. I know it will include more pain than I think I can bear and more patience than I think I have, but I trust that He will see me through.
I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. John
Three Years Old
It’s official. The Joyful Life Library is now three years old, which is probably why I’ve been thinking about it so much lately. It’s only been three years, but part of me can’t remember what life was like before it. The rest of me is in awe of what God has done through it. The fact that we delivered our first bookcase full of books three years ago and now we facilitate books being delivered to 9 different hospitals across the country and Hawaii is something I find hard to put into words.
When the idea for the Joyful Life Library was forming, a lot of people had suggestions for me. As much as I appreciated all of their advice, I knew I had to stick to what was in my heart. That’s not always an easy thing for me to do, so I had to work really hard to listen to just one voice…God’s. He was the one that put this project on my heart, and I knew He would see it through.
I could have made the Joyful Life Library into a non-profit organization and taken things in an entirely different direction, but that’s not what my heart wanted. Yes, the Joyful Life Library’s mission is to put books into the hands of PICU patients and their families, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. It’s about creating a moment of joy, when life feels anything but joyful. It’s about spreading compassion in a tangible way through the act of giving AND receiving. It’s about families helping other families. Mostly though, it’s about helping people understand that simple acts of kindness can be the greatest acts of all.
That little boy of mine changed my life. He turned me into a compassionate person and I wanted other people to have that same opportunity. That’s why, instead of asking corporations for donations, I chose to share my own story. So maybe you could see yourself in it, and if you were willing, be changed by it. Maybe that compassion would create a way for you to support the library, or maybe it would create an entirely different way for you to help others. Both are a blessing and are just another way that my boy’s life is making this broken world more joyful.
Sometimes I still waiver when people make suggestions on how I should handle the project, but then God reminds me that I need not worry. He’s got it all taken care of. That’s about the time my favorite friend Katy from Katygirl Designs lets me know that she’s teamed up with another favorite lady of mine, Jess from The Macs, to create the most lovely Christmas card that benefits the Joyful Life Library. 50% of the sales from the Share the Joy card will be donated to the library. Oh how I love when people use the gifts God’s given them to bless others! LOVE it!! I also love chalkboard, arrows and hearts, so I’m pretty smitten with this design they created. Visit Katygirl Designs.
And as if that isn’t enough, Thursday another favorite friend of mine, Carly, will be accepting a grant on behalf of the the Kapi’olani Joyful Life Library from The Awesome Foundation of Oahu. Because they believe in what we are doing, just the way we’re doing it. I wonder what God has worked out for the project these next three years? The lives He’ll change? The compassion and joy that will be spread? I can’t even imagine, but every last part of me is excited to find out.
P.S. We need to stock the shelves of our newest library location at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO so we’re offering 20% off your entire purchase over at The Joyful Shop.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. -Hebrews 10:32-34
This week marks the 5th anniversary of Samuel’s passing.
This week leaves me feeling anxious and exhausted, all at the same time.
This week, that verse, which is from Week Two in the Mercy Triumphs study at Beautifully Rooted, found me when I needed it most. As I read it, I started to cry. It was as though God was talking to me through it. I have lived each of those words because of Samuel’s sweet life.
This week, I’m going to remember how my life changed the moment I let Jesus into it.
This week I’m going to focus on how God carried us through our darkest hours, and how He opened our eyes at the same time.
This week I’m going to trust in Him. His timing, His means, His way. Because it’s always better. Always. Even when it hurts.
This week I’m going to remind myself that I have better and lasting possessions, and I’m going to take comfort in it.