Saturday, February 13, 2010
Wow! What a surprise we received in the mail today. A large box was delivered to our house from the Joni and Friends ministry. We were not expecting anything from them but figured anything coming from this organization would be welcome around here--and the most unexpected blessing came pouring out of that box.
Each year, Joni selects people who have a "heart for the disabled." Each day for a week in January, she tells their story and asks listeners across the nation to send a valentine to encourage them. This year, Joni selected our family! We had no idea that this incredible box of love and encouragement was coming our way. Within this box, there were 100's of valentines from all across this country! We gathered all the kids and opened the valentines one by one. There were hand made valentines, beautiful letters, touching stories and little individual valentines for each of the kids. There were books, dvd's, gift cards and little notes encouraging us and letting us know that we are being prayed for around the nation.
Perhaps some of the most touching valentines were these:
A man who is a prisoner in a federal facility wrote an encouraging note and sent along a few postage stamps as a gift. He only receives $15 a month, and this was all he had to give...and he shared it with us.
A young man with autism wrote a touching letter and made us some beautiful coasters--one for everyone in the family!
People from all walks of life took the time out of their lives to encourage us! This is an incredibly humbling experience.
We have all felt showered in love and blessings. There have been days lately that we have felt a bit invisible. We aren't able to get to know other people outside of our little world because we are in the trenches caring for our incredible children. There is no better honor in this life that could have been given to us than this one. To know that people all over are praying for us and that Joni Eareckson Tada affirmed our commitment and love to those who are disabled--that warms my heart beyond what you can imagine.
We are so thankful for each of these dear brothers and sisters in Christ who have reached out to our family. The timeliness of all of this of course we so orchestrated by God on so many levels. Joni did not know that we were adopting another child. She did not know the kinds of new challenges we are facing now. Lord willing, we will be leaving in a couple of weeks to bring home our baby Benson. We now have $175 of McDonalds gift certificates to feed us on the way! There were gift cards that can help us pay for gas/supplies as we travel. God never ceases to amaze me as directs His people to support one another just when they are needed the most.
McKenna loved talking with Joni at Minnesota's 2009 Joni Camp!
Joni and Friends ministry has encouraged us from the beginning of our journey with disability. We have participated in two family retreats and the kids can't wait to go back again. Joni's ministry has inspired us to continue and to expand our work with children with special needs. In our home, Joni is considered a friend even though we have met her just once. We have been welcomed into her home (Joni Camp) and have met Jesus there. I just read Hope's status on facebook--she said that "a friend of ours shared our story on the radio and people sent us valentines." We love you Joni. Thank you for the commitment you have made to pour out love to ALL of God's people. Thank you for living your life for Jesus...we have seen Him and felt his touch through you.
at 8:52 PM