Wow family & friends. I am completely overwhelmed, absolutely amazed, and beyond humbled. Tonight I have been crunching numbers. Adding up totals from race registrations...from the silent auction...from donations we've received in checks or cash...from donations we have received through our 'Donate Now' button, through National Christian Foundation, on our website. I feel like a darned accountant this evening!! Ha! ;) Sorry it has taken me so long to get these numbers out; I still feel like I am un-burying our home from the mess we created from focusing on race stuff for so long. A lot goes into this and I'm realizing it doesn't end when the race ends! Lol :) Are you ready for this? This just blows my mind. But God is able. Obviously. Our final totals will allow us to order over 900 children's bibles. This will take us over 1,000 bibles with the ones we have already been able to order from Avelyn's memorial funds and the ones the Nathan Project ordered for us. Wow. I literally have goose bumps right now. Thank you God. Thank you ALL. You are making a difference. My mind is racing right now. The children, the families that will receive these. Please God, help it make a difference in each of their lives!!
Now I am overwhelmed with tears flowing. Oh sweet Avelyn we miss you so much. I know I have said it so many times before...I don't understand His ways. I don't understand why this had to happen. Sweet girl, I wish I was holding you this very moment. After you passed and before your memorial service, we were encouraged to find a specific cause that we wanted your memorial funds to go. Praise God, he helped us be patient. For several weeks after your memorial service, we still didn't know what we wanted the funds to go toward; thankfully people still so generously gave. Our prayer the entire time for the memorial funds was (as we stated in our thank-you notes to those who gave to your memorial fund) that: " #1 the funds will go to something impactful - something that will make a positive difference in the lives of others, and #2 - they will go to something long-lasting, something that will continue to live on - not just a one-time donation to a good cause." What better than a children's bible to fulfill these 2 hopes? And we can't take credit for the idea either. Along with everything else we were dealing with shortly after you passed, this was weighing very heavily on my heart, not knowing what to do with your memorial funds. What were we supposed to do?!?! So much else going on mentally, emotionally, and even physically as I continued to wean from 'nursing,' I could not figure out what He wanted us to do, what you would want us to do. Then finally a heavy weight lifted off my chest...thankfully, through the Holy Spirit - as he states, Ron Stiles with the Nathan Project (nathanproject.com), whom I had just briefly met and Josh hadn't even met yet, called and asked, "What about children's bibles?" I think I still have the message saved. Lol. :) So...we don't always understand His ways. We never will. That being said, thank you all for helping us through. For allowing us to be surrounded by so many loving people who are helping us to get Your Word into the hands of Your children.
Are you all ready?? Thank you for letting your light shine with us on May 23rd!! It was a beautiful day. Yes, it was cloudy, but the rain held off and we even saw the sunshine peeking through at times. :) I don't think I shared with many of you that the race day just happened to fall on the day that Avelyn passed away a year ago - May 23rd. Initially I REALLY didn't want it that way. (Sorry, brief pause, Aili just got out of bed and walked down the hall to give me a much needed hug & squeeze. :) She probably thought it was more for her...that she needed it more, but little did she know... :) ). Anyway...we really wanted the race date to be May 2nd (the 1st weekend in May), but there were 2 other events in Spring Hill that day; a 5K race and a bike race. I didn't want it on Mother's Day weekend (the 2nd weekend) because I have a friend that has had her race on that weekend in the past. And I didn't want it the 3rd weekend because that would be graduation weekend for many and I didn't think that would go over well. The 5th weekend of May I was scheduled to work. We really wanted it in May, so each year we have the race it will be around Avelyn's birthday. So that left the 4th weekend in May.--Which, just so happened to be May 23rd. Not happy about it, but that day it would be. The more I got to think about it though - after we had decided the date (by default), the more I thought 'this is the day our daughter met Jesus - our Savior...the moment she found herself in heaven...' Yes, it's the day she died, but I would rather look at it from the eyes of eternity. This is the day she left her temporary home for her eternal home. What better day to celebrate, to honor our daughter, than the day she found herself in Jesus' arms? So how about you? Are you prepared for this? Yes, we want you to let your light shine, but 1st, PLEASE let Jesus into your heart. ADMIT you are a sinner; that you fall short and cannot go without sinning. Because of this, in order to join Avelyn in heaven, we need God's grace. Tell Jesus you BELIEVE in Him; you believe He died on the cross, was buried, and on the 3rd day was resurrected. CONFESS your sins to Him and your need for Him, that you NEED His grace. Remember these ABC's: Admit, Believe, Confess. Please friends & family!! Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you everyday and allow Him to do this. To truly let your light shine, He needs you to do this. Once you do this, tell others...a fellow believer!! Ask him or her to help you along the way; he or she will help you - and you will help him/her, as well, I guarantee it.--It's a journey: not easy, but worth it.
Please read this about the Age of Accountability that is on the inside back cover of the children's bibles (the soon to be over 1,000 of them!!! :) ) that we will be giving away:
The Age of Accountability:
1) How do we know Avelyn is in heaven?
We rejoice in the fact that Avelyn is in heaven; we know she is there from what we read in Scripture. Yes,
in Romans 3:23 it does state, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;” we are all born
sinners. But we also know God gives exceptional mercy to His children, because as He states in Deuteronomy 1:39, “little ones…children…do not yet know good from bad…” We are comforted by what King
David says after his 7 day old child dies; in 2 Samuel 12:23 he states, “…Can I bring him back again? I will
go to him, but he will not return to me.” The Bible - God’s Word - makes it clear that King David knew one
day he would go to be with his baby in heaven. And Jesus Himself states, “Let the little children come to
me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The Word of God gives us such peace, knowing our baby girl is in heaven!
2) How can we be assured we will join her there?
There comes a time when each of us reaches a mental capacity and is mature enough to accept the
responsibility for our sins and be held accountable for them; when we are able to understand and
choose whether or not to put our faith in God. In John 3:36 it states, ” Whoever believes in the Son has
eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” A person
escapes this wrath of God when he accepts responsibility for his own sinful condition and personally
accepts Jesus Christ as Savior. We can’t rely on our parents or our siblings or our friends to do that—it is
something that each of us must take care of—individually and personally—so when our time has come
to an end on this earth, we will enter His kingdom of heaven for eternity. We pray with all our heart that
YOU will escape this wrath and make the decision to accept Christ as your Savior!
“… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in
heaven.” Matthew 5:16
I often ask myself, how many people being saved - giving their life to God because of Avelyn's story - would make it okay that we 'lost' her: None - no matter the #, it won't ever be okay? 1,000? 100? 10? 1? Honestly I can't answer this question. Only when I join my daughter in heaven will I be able to maybe more easily see God's plan. Maybe then I will better understand. Or maybe as Ron Stiles told us, maybe by then it won't matter, we won't care, we won't have the need to understand anymore. Because we will be with Him. Before that time, while I continue my journey on earth - my temporary home - I will do the best I can to live my life for Him. I already know I am His. I have absolutely no fear of dying because I know where I'm going. How about you? Are you ready? Do you TRULY know where you are going if that day comes next year, next month, next week, tomorrow, today? I hope so. If not, decide right now TO KNOW. State those ABC's listed above and, even though you don't have to, I encourage you to talk to a believer about it, someone you know and trust whose heart is with Him. We are here for you. I am here for you.
Friends & family, I love you. As I pray everyday for our older daughters to know Him (Brooklan has already prayed the prayer of salvation), and to grow in Him, so that I will not only spend eternity in heaven with God, my husband, and Avelyn, but also with my older daughters. I also want you there with us, as well!!! Sorry for the deep, deep thoughts during these wee hours of the morning, but you all mean so much to me. Your thoughts, prayers, hugs, generous gifts, and pure love has just meant so much to me that I at least need you to hear this message and know how you are able to join me in heaven one day. It's up to you. This life on earth is short, and eternity is, well eternal - a LONG time. I don't think the day will be tomorrow, but you never know... Decide now. Don't let it be too late... Please.
Love & Hugs to each of you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.