When Happy Baby was born, he had a variety of mysterious health issues that landed us in the hospital for 97 days.
During that season, every day I would get in my car and drive 40 minutes to the hospital and then spend another 10 minutes walking from the parking garage to the NICU to see my baby.
My little walk always took me past the hospital gift shop.
One morning something caught my eye in the window of the shop. It was a beautiful canvas painting of 3 small birds and across the top of the picture were the words –
Shine Your Bright Light.
At first, I grimaced inwardly at this message. I was in NO MOOD to shine any kind of light. I felt perpetually assaulted by darkness as our little boy received multiple death sentences from various doctors each week.
I was tired. I was weary. I found my heart – which used to be so full of love and joy for Christ – was heavy and often angry at God for allowing such a terrible thing into our lives.
So every time I walked by that shop, those words were a discouraging reminder of all that I had lost.
But do you know what eventually changed things for me?
The kindness of others.
Seriously. Y’all would be BLOWN AWAY if I shared with you every single amazing thing that our friends and family and church community and even PEOPLE I DID NOT KNOW did for our family while we were in the hospital with Happy Baby.
Someone paid the Merry Maids to clean my house, cards filled up our mailbox daily, our refrigerator overflowed with food, people gave us money to cover medical bills, friends texted me Bible verses throughout the day, a few of my closest friends even fasted for us regularly, a dear friend from high school showed up at our doorstep with 20 boxes of diapers, and the entire church set up a prayer chain that had people praying at ALL hours of the day and night.
It was incredible.
And with each act of kindness, the darkness we were experiencing did not seem quite so… dark.
Somewhere along the way, God used all of these precious, obedient people to remind me of His faithfulness.
And His loving, good hand.
These people were shining their bright lights.
And as they lit up our situation, a spark was reignited in my own heart and my eyes were opened to opportunities that I had to do the same for the people in my own world.
I saw the other moms and dads in the NICU with babies far worse off than ours. Those precious souls needed my prayers and support.
I saw nurses who needed encouragement (and chocolate chip zucchini muffins). 😉
I saw the Lord broaden my ministry as I encountered other moms who had children with special needs and I was able to understand their pain and struggle like never before.
When life does not go as we expect, it’s easy to resist what the Lord wants to do with us. It’s easy to cross our arms or clench our fists at His assignments and instead of trust, we nurse wounds of disappointment and bitterness.
But when we surrender and accept from Him the good AND the bad, we will see how He carries us through it all.
We will see how Jesus, himself, chose to serve even in the most excruciating of circumstances.
Then we will become less preoccupied with our own pain and more filled with desire to lessen the pain of others.
That is what the kindness of others taught me.
About the time our baby was headed into surgery to get a feeding tube put in his stomach, I came home from the hospital and was greeted by Mr. B. He instructed me to close my eyes while he led me across the house.
Then he told me to open my eyes.
Can you guess what was hanging on the wall in our living room?
The canvas art from the hospital gift shop.
Since then, I have felt called to help people find easy ways to shine their own bright lights.
Because one small act of kindness can change the course of someone’s day –
And maybe even their life.
That is why I wrote The Kindness Antennae.
This eBook is filled with never-before-shared stories, as well as hundreds of ideas to help you share kindness and light up your families and communities with His love.
Moms, daughters, grandmas, teachers… there is encouragement and inspiration for everyone in The Kindness Antennae.
I hope you will join me as we shine our bright lights in this world.
You can purchase your copy of The Kindness Antennae for only $9.99 by clicking HERE.
– Julie 🙂
“My God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28 (NIV)