Thursday, July 22, 2010

Living in Joy and Hope

1 Corinthians 15:58 "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

I think the only way to survive Christianity and living in the pain of this life is to know that that pain we experience is not in vain. To know that surviving the loss of a child is not in vain. To know that the brevity of Eric and Ava's lives, and the suffering they endured, was not in vain. And the only way we can know that is to cling to what He promised us through Paul in 1 Corinthians. "Your toil is NOT in vain."

Amy and Allan are living this hope as they begin The Joy-Hope Foundation. They long to help other parents and families experiencing the pain of losing a child and they are going to use The Joy-Hope Foundation to meet this end. They will use their love of Eric to spread joy. And they will use their love of Ava to give hope to others.

The Joy-Hope Foundation is just in its infancy, but it is truly moving along with great speed and force. I can't wait to see what happens with it! Amy and Allan have a vision for the foundation to meet 2 goals:
  1. To send families who are grieving after the loss of a child to a favorite vacation spot in order to give them a break from their day to day surroundings and provide a relaxing environment in which to heal. This opportunity was presented to Amy and Allan following Ava’s death and they and their girls enjoyed a time of freedom from watchful eyes and experienced a “break” from reality long enough to be with each other again and start the hard process of grieving in times when thoughts and questions can just flow freely.
  2. To strive for greater mitochondrial research so that diagnosis and advocacy can happen faster and more effectively with other families experiencing this same disease. Very little is known about the mitochondrial diseases that Eric and Ava experienced, so much of what they all experienced in dealing with that process was stabs in the dark. Amy and Allan long to help other families not have to experience that same darkness.
To meet the goal of funding the foundation, Amy and her three precious daughters have begun making Ava Prayer Bracelets. They handmake gorgeous bracelets for women and girls! These are not only unique, but well made and versatile enough to wear with just about anything!
And, the little girls in your life are going to go crazy over them! The Emily bracelet actually comes with a sweet little ring for her too, just for fun. My daughters adored these! The proceeds of the sales of these beautiful bracelets will go directly toward meeting the funding needs to begin and subsequently operate The Joy-Hope Foundation. I am so proud to say that we have started working with Amy and Allan and are now offering their beautiful bracelets at our store. I invite you to see them, see the heart that is of this family and help them meet their goals.

Consider with me in supporting the Bentons in one or all of these ways.
  1. Purchase their bracelets which are available for your viewing and purchase here. Tell other people about them! At the end of this blog post is a very convenient way to do that through our newly installed "share" button.
  2. Visit their beautiful blog in which they share their story and listen to their continued journey of grieving and living here. Amy reveals her heart in a transparent and genuine way with honesty and a beautiful sense of humor. I love hearing the stories of how their family is and how she learns incredible lessons from the simplest of things.
  3. Pray for the Benton family. The Bentons have asked for prayer that their children would feel connected to their them and each other despite how incredibly difficult grief is, that The Joy-Hope Foundation would be extremely successful and reach those who do not know of God's love for them, and that God would be glorified in all that they do.
Let this family continue to inspire you as I know they already have. As I learn more of their progress in beginning the Joy-Hope Foundation, I will certainly let you know. Their toil will not be in vain.

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