Sunday at church, one of the small study group leaders got up in front and told us the story of a little girl of whom they were recently made aware.
This tale begins with a 12-year-old girl living in western New Mexico (near this study leader's parents, which is why she knows about her) who at age seven was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. She was hospitalized and treated and during this time, her grandparents gained custody.
So the grandparents began raising this young girl and have been trying to adopt her, from what I understand. They have taken their grandchild to every medical appointment and have seen her through all the highs and the lows of her illness. The girl had the best doctor in Albuquerque and they would travel multiple hours each time they went to get her treatments.
In the meantime, she has more recently had to have a thigh bone replaced with a cadaver bone to save her life. So she can no longer put any pressure on that leg for about three to four years. At age 12, she is no longer able to run and play as other children do. There is a strong possibility that at the end of the three to four year wait, the whole thing may not work and she will need to have her leg amputated. All that time keeping pressure off that leg could be for not much gain. But still, she is a very positive little girl with a lot of hope and joy in her heart.
As soon as that transplant took place, her very good doctor took a new position in San Antonio, TX. But the doctor wanted to continue treating his special patient. So followup treatments have required even more travel. She is doing some of her monthly checkups in Albuquerque though, but that's still a lot of time and gas for the grandparents.
Oh, did I mention that they have covered all medical costs out of pocket? So their retirement has been completely depleted. Their savings are gone. There is only the money the grandparents make from their work now to cover all their living and medical expenses.
So this study group leader told our congregation that their group is making it their personal mission to help this family, this child and her grandparents. They came to us because they knew that their small group could not make a big enough impact. So they asked the congregation to donate money or gift cards to cover some of their everyday expenses -- groceries, clothing, gas -- so that anything left over from their paychecks can go to continue receiving medical care for this girl.
By the end of this story, I was in tears. I felt strongly that there was something we could do. But the hours after church were full and I didn't get a chance to talk to C about it at all that day.
On Monday morning, H came to our room.
This is where the second tale begins...
I was lazily still in my bed. He sat down in the chair nearby and he began quietly, "Mom, do you know that story that MP told at church about the girl who is almost my age?"
I said, "Yes, I do. That was a very sad story. I was deeply affected by that."
H said, "After I heard that story, I went over and told MP that I wanted to help and that I had a little money leftover from Christmas and my birthday, but that I needed to talk to you and Daddy to make sure it was okay."
I said, "Oh, that is really generous ..."
He interrupted, "But Mom, God spoke to me last night. I've never heard His voice before and He talked to me last night. He told me I should give all of my money and all of my remaining gift cards."
I started to justify that maybe he didn't need to give all of them.
But he was determined. He said, "I know, but God said."
I asked, "How do you feel about this?"
He shrugged a little and said, "I don't know how I feel, but I know what God wants of me. So I want to do what He wants. I think that everything together totals about $200 if I'm adding right."
And the waterworks flowed. Not from his eyes, but from mine. I don't know that I've ever felt so proud of him as I did in that moment. I praised the Lord in my heart because it was only God who could have given H such selflessness. I hugged our son tight and long.
You have to know how H loves having money and gift cards waiting to be spent. He loves the power those things give him to dream up and spend them on whatever he loves. But in an answer to many of my prayers for him, he has chosen his love for God and his love for others over his love of money and power and material things.
That's pretty incredible for a 13-year-old, if you ask me. It's incredible at any age, but the teen years just seem to be so much about self and not as much about the needs of others in my experience. But he really gets it!
I leaped from my bed and hurried downstairs where C was working on paying the bills. He saw my face and wondered what was the matter. I told him they were tears of joy and not to be afraid.
Then I told him through more tears the conversation I just had with H. C immediately said, "Well, maybe he could just give some of it because you know he was saving up for Bible camp in the summer and if it all goes away..."
I interrupted, "He said that God said and who are we to question God's provision for what H needs."
Then C agreed and said, "Whatever he's giving, we will match it. He's an inspiration and I will tell him so."
Then my heart rejoiced even more because I had not even had the chance to tell him that I wanted to help that girl's family. And now we were going to be able to help her more than I would have dreamed. Frankly, things have been extra tight financially around here because some expected income has not yet come and so I was more than a little afraid to ask C if we could give just a small amount.
But God answered my prayer to help so many times over what I was thinking about. I am so blessed. And through my own blessing, I have the joy of knowing that someone else will be blessed.
I'm so glad I rushed home after first service on Sunday to get H to second service or he might never have heard the story and have the burden on his heart to help another. God is amazing.
We will deliver the money and gift cards to the small study group leader tomorrow.