I glanced over my shoulder and they kept piling in. You kept piling in. And before I knew it, the room was filled with green shirts and joyful hearts ready to serve. I paced back and forth unable to think straight because I was so overwhelmed by a number of people that showed up for me, for us, for her.
My eyes jumped back and forth to the friends that helped set up to the new friends eager to lend a hand. Trying to focus on the questions being asked of me, I couldn't help but pass them along to someone else who could answer because I was simply in a state of awe. In awe of God's goodness through the pain, struggle, and heartache. God's goodness in the overall plan and His promise of being there no matter what.
You see, niceSERVE was just a thought we had but never imagined it to be on the scale He intended it to be. Isn't that the thing - the problem - we think too small when in fact, He's playing it all into the full scheme of things; His overall plan to reach the masses.
Grief keeps me in a box. A small box that reminds me of what I lost and blinds me from the gifts He's given. Grief can make me selfish and lonely. As though I'm alone in this and the world has been stolen from me. I mean, right? My children ARE my world, and I'm forced to do this life without them. That truth hurts me to my core. A piece of me will always be missing. But grief is a selfish fog that can blind the soul from the greatness that God can bring from it. If you're not careful, you'll get lost in the maze of dark clouds and lose sight of the light.
niceSERVE was the light and I had to stand back and soak it in. I found my way but now what?
Emotions covered me completely and brought me to my knees because I had allowed grief to blind me from what God could do. God provided in ways I couldn't even begin to describe but I'll try.
A few months back my Summit Connect Group all showed up at my house for our bi-weekly get-together. My kitchen was full of those I love the most and the kids were running around yelling, playing and finding joy in being in community.
Ben and Krystin mentioned they had a video for us to watch about niceSERVE, a project our church holds twice a year to go out into the community and serve, and they mentioned this time around it would be different. Usually, Summit Church has partnerships with different organizations and plans out one full day for everyone to go out and serve them, but this go-around they imagined our groups coming up with our own service projects and sharing them with the church. Immediately my friends thought of The Color Blue. While my heart was so happy they thought of us and the women we serve, I knew I couldn't allow them to focus just on my mission at hand. I knew there was another way we could reach someone else along with the mothers in need, I just didn't know how or who.
Krystin mentioned finding a way to serve the nurses at Florida Hospital South, the hospital we just created a relationship with for The Color Blue and the hospital our boys were born at. YES! We all thought that was brilliant and the planning began.
I wrote FL Hospital to get the exact count of nurses in their maternity ward so we could purchase mugs and decorate them and fill with goodies to remind them their job matters and they matter so much.
After receiving a quick and enthusiastic reply, we all became a little overwhelmed. What we thought would be 50 nurses actually was 536 nurses total. I mean, who knew!!
After texting the group these numbers, the group chat became silent. I sat there staring at the blank screen wondering what would come of this. How could we do this?
Soon after, Jourdan, Krystin's husband reassured us that God calls us into the uncomfortable and that He would provide. We all agreed and started making a game plan to serve 536 nurses and pack 100 Boxes of Hope for the moms they take care of.
After some miscommunication, I realized I had the wrong date in mind and fell into a state of being completely overwhelmed. May is actually deemed May-ham for me due to wedding season and being a mom. There was no way I could pull this off and my immediate reaction was to quit. I so wanted to throw in the towel. But my friends reassured me they'd do everything in their power to help and that all I needed to do was show up. And what they said, they meant because these friends of mine did everything in their power to make sure everything was perfect and organized so I could just show up and share my heart.
But we hit a bump in the road. My boxes were going to be a week late due to my mistake. Immediately, Dan, our Connect Director picked up the phone and called me. He asked if he could speak to the company I manufacturer our boxes with and rush the order. I handed over the information but was hesitant that they'd actually make it in time or I knew it would cost an arm and a leg.
God came through.
Not only did our boxes arrive THE DAY BEFORE the event, our manufacturer rushed the order free of charge. SAY WHAT!
But that's not the only way He came through. He actually had a plan in this as well and it was much larger than our original one. We thought this project was for us to do alone but He knew others needed to be touched by this act of service as well.
While Krystin was purchasing the mugs at Ikea, a co-worker of hers opened up and shared her heart. She told Krystin she just lost her husband and wanted to be a part of this to help fill the quiet time she now has at home and she decorated 50 mugs, and I had a friend reach out asking if the men and women at her nursing home could take part because they loved having projects to remind them they are offering something to our community. I of course agreed and handed over 24 mugs. She texted me that evening and told me an 80-year-old woman was so touched by the project because she herself had lost 5 babies and this brought some healing to her heart. You guys! An 80-year-old woman.
God saw them when we couldn't and knew this project needed to be so large that we would need the help and that these mugs would make their way into their hands. He's in the business of healing and He was on a mission to reach the masses.
And so, May 17th arrived and I couldn't help but sit back and watch it all unfold like a movie in the theater. Too large of a screen to sit up close to but large and loud enough to get drawn into every single detail.
66 people showed up with green shirts and hearts longing to serve and through their giving, 636 people in Orlando will know they matter.
So, while grief wants to keep me in a small box focusing on all of my loss, God brings me to the light to reveal the goodness in it all - the greatness of it all. We think too small when in fact, He's playing it all into the full scheme of things; His overall plan to reach the masses.