Friday, February 21, 2014

So... Handmade it Is!

Okay, so I guess I was incredibly wrong when I assumed that you all would like a break from the handmade exchanges.  I had the lowest number of sign-ups that I have ever had for the Magazine Exchange.  And because I really am passionate about the Choose Joy Raffle Fund, I decided to add a second exchange for this fundraiser.

Introducing the Letters & Numbers Exchange.

Just as a reminder and in case you didn't read the post about the Magazine Exchange, we are raising money for the Choose Joy Raffle Fund. 

What that means is that we don't know exactly who the recipient will be yet.  Here's why: the recipient will be one of the attendees of the Choose Joy Conference.  If you are not familiar with Choose Joy, it is a one day, faith-based conference in Southern California for people struggling with infertility and/or desiring to grow their family through adoption.  The best part is that at the end of the day we raffle off a huge mason jar {and I mean HUGE} full of cash for one lucky attendee to use towards growing their family.

It was my favorite moment of the day last year.

You have to hear the winner Kristi's story:

I am choosing Joy.

Yesterday I went to an AMAZING event hosted by Emmy Blakely called Choose Joy. The event was about surviving infertility and adoption. When a friend of mine told me about the event, I was excited because finally, there was a conference acknowledging a very sensitive and often shamed subject. But of course when I woke up yesterday and started to get ready, my anxiety kicked in as anyone who knows me knows that I don't like big social events and I don't like talking about my feelings to complete strangers. Hoping Stephanie would call me saying she was sick, I delayed getting ready but it was now time to suck it up and head to O.C.

When I got there I kept to myself and tried to take everything and everyone in. As I looked around the walls slowly started to come down as I realized that every single man and woman in here was on the same journey as me. Sure, our locations on this road were in different places but there was a sense of "we are in it together". As the speakers shared their stories, my hardened heart began to break and messy tears rolled down my face. I started to pray for these women, that they would get through whatever hurt they were going through and that they would come out of isolation. It was safe for me to pray and think about everyone else because talking about my story or telling people I was hurt was too hard and quite frankly no ones business.

As the day rolled on my friend told me they were selling tickets for a cash prize that was to go to any medical treatments or adoption fees. I found the ticket lady and faithfully spent the last of my $25.00 allowance on 5 tickets. I thought "how cool is it going to be for someone to win this money." I know how expensive this journey can be and any financial break is a HUGE blessing.

It soon came time for the raffle and as everyone pulled out their tickets, I told my friend "I am not going to look at my tickets until they read the winning number a second time. I won't win because things like this don't happen to me." As they read the numbers I started to pray for the winner and for that jar of cash, that it would bring peace and comfort to the couple that received. The numbers were called and no one jumped up, I then peaked at my ticket and then looked at my friend and said "I think I won!" I then screamed "Oh my gosh, I think its me." With cheers and laughter I walked up to the stage and asked the people to double check my ticket because surely there had to have been a mistake. But their wasn't.

As I received my prize and looked at all the faces I had grown to love that day, I started to cry in disbelief and shock.

As the night ended and I walked to my car, put the jar with the glittery gold top in my back seat I just sat and cried. Then I felt Jesus telling me, "Kristi, I AM HERE. I know your heart, your hurt, confusion and your loneliness, and your fears."

As I drove home, I decided not to call Matthew as I needed to take it all in myself.

When I pulled into the drive way and into the house, Matthew asked me how it went. I started to cry and handed him the jar. "I won this for our adoption" Also in disbelief and shock, he started to tear up. When I told him how much I won the tears over flowed. "Kristi, this is the EXACT amount we needed to reach our adoption fund goal." We just sat there and stared in amazement. And then it dawned on us. OF COURSE OUR GOD KNOWS US. How is there not a God who orchestrated the entire event that I would find the ticket lady at the right time and buy a set of tickets which included the winning numbers? How is there not a God who put it on complete strangers hearts to donate to a fund that was the EXACT amount we needed for our adoption?

I still can't believe that Jesus chose to bless me, the one who kicked and screamed into the doors and who guarded my heart because it was the safe thing to do. But of course he did, his love and grace is unconditional. I am forever grateful for Jesus and Emmy for putting on an event that changed my heart and my life forever.

Are you crying now, because I am even though I know this story and have read it many times.  It's one of my faves.  And you wanna know the best part?  Kristi will be at this year's Choose Joy... as a speaker!  Sharing her story with a new group of hurting women.

If you participate in this exchange, you will be a part of the next Kristi's story.  How cool is that???

Last year the pot was over $2700!!!  That is a huge number.  But I know we can do better this year.  Will you help me make it better?

Sign-ups for the Letters & Numbers Exchange are now open.  Click here for more details and to register.  Once again, there will be a minimum $5 donation to join, all of which will go to some special person that God is orchestrating to be at Choose Joy to win this auction to grow their family.

Spread the word... let's make it another amazing story of God's glorious provision!

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