I have to admit, I'm exhausted. I have put off writing this post, sharing the miracles of the last fundraiser, because I can't stay awake late enough at night to be able to write...and my days are so full with the needs of my family and my other responsibilities. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that means those who will be mentioned here may not have an opportunity to read of our gratitude and the change that they have wrought in our lives. I hope that isn't so, that they will still come across this post and know what angels they all were.
I am sure I will forget someone in this review of experiences. Please forgive me if I haven't or do not mention you. Know that every donation of any size has been life-changing and heart-touching to us.
The yard sale two weekends ago brought in $1800. But, more than that, it brought to us an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and...well...surprise. Sometimes I think this experience is partly for the Lord to show me how many good, generous people there are in the world. He also seems to be trying to teach me that He is there, supporting us, carrying us through this time and this journey. He has sent people to us, allowed us to meet people who have changed the way we think, blessed us with peace or given beyond any expectation...a humbling experience in every way.
Here are some accounts from what I now call our "Day of Miracles". I will write what I can tonight and perhaps share more later...I will just use first names in these accounts.
As can be read in a former post, the number of items of clothing to organize and prepare for these sales was literally overwhelming. Only one other time in my married life do I remember praying specfically for the Lord to "send someone". I was in over my head, unable to take care of the needs of my family like I wanted to and I just needed help...someone to help me get through it all and be prepared in time for the sale. No one ever came to my door. But, there was help. They didn't come to organize clothes, but they came to help in ways I needed more than organizing clothes. It is just a testimony to me that the Lord knows our needs. We may think we need something, but He knows better. And He knows when we'll need Him more in the future. And that was the case with me. I thought I was in over my head at home with all the clothes. Little did I know, the time I would really need the help was at the sale itself.
I received an email, out of the blue, from a woman who read our article in the Daily Herald. She simply wrote, "I loved what you're trying to do do. I would love to help! I read about your yard sale and wondered if I could help!" Here was someone I had never met, offering to help. Little did I know, Courtnee would not only be another pair of hands (well, three other pairs considering her hard-working children), she would donate amazing items that would bring in about $500.
Sarah worked to gather youth in her ward to help plan and organize this sale. During the early-pregnant-exhaustion she was going through, she truly went the second mile...and even brought donations and her mother to help!
Jill was there before I even arrived. She was already unloading donations and was ready to get going on whatever I requested that she do. She was gone for a long time dealing with the sign posting headache...and came back with bottles of cold water and graham crackers for my kids. When it came time for me to head back home Friday evening, she stayed and not only maintained the yard sale and then closed it down for the night, but she gathered in $170 more dollars! Her children were also not only valuable in their work skills, but they were so well-behaved and kind. Her son gave us his only silver pieces as his donation. They were all there for the full two days, offering their help, time and energy.
Natasha and her husband were ready to jump into the car in their pajamas to help us the night before the sale. Then, in her first trimester of her first pregnancy, there she was working right along with everyone else...for two whole days.
After hearing horror stories from well-meaning people, Ana stopped at the yard sale and, before walking away with her small children, said, "I was adopted out of California when I was 14 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I LOVE my adoptive mom and dad. They are my mom and dad in every way. I thought, at first, that my adoptive mom would leave me like my own mother did. But, she didn't and I love her so much for it. It's a wonderful thing you're doing. I am so grateful for my family!" She may never know what that positive comment did for my heart, but I will vividly and gratefully remember her for it.
A young Christian military family came over. They came to see what the sale was all about. Upon learning of what we were doing, they chose a few things and then wrote a check for almost $200...well beyond the value of their purchases. They were so humble, so sweet, so kind. They were the epitome of who and what we should be as followers of Christ. The thing is, they didn't just come and do that on Friday, they came back Saturday...and wrote another check. This time, it was larger. I felt almost pained to accept it, knowing what a sacrifice it must have been for them. The husband then explained to me that they discussed it and considered it their tithing. His wife, through her tears testified, "God provides, God provides." Yes, He does. And, the sum of life is always brought back to the fulness.
For all these angels, I pray that they will receive 1000-fold what their sacrifice was...whether that is monitarily, in abudance of peace or joy or simply a record in Heaven of what they were willing to sacrifice for the lives of two children, it will be returned to them.