It has been almost three years since our family shipped our first box of sunshine and happiness. When I think about Spreading Sunshine and the far-reaching ministry it has become, I often wonder, “How did we get here?” How did that first sunshine box lead to a non-profit impacting hundreds of families across the country and world?
Last weekend in Memphis, Tennessee, Spreading Sunshine planned and hosted an elaborate birthday party for Hattie Lane. Hattie is a 4 year old who is receiving treatment for a rare form of cancer. Our family was able to be present at the party and it was surreal to watch Hattie’s mother carry her into the party.
I looked over at David and Lily, and realized how God used Sunshine, a simple nickname our daughter gave our son to bring us to this moment.
The day of the party was an amazing day. A day filled with princesses, a fantastic minion cake, incredible balloon creations, games, a bouncy house, an abundance of presents, delicious food, but the greatest moment for me was sharing a conversation with Hattie’s grandmother. The grandmother related how the entire family had been unable to be together since Hattie’s treatment began.
What a blessing! Spreading Sunshine, thanks to gifts from donors and dozens of volunteers, was able to minister to this family in a very basic way. Thanks to New Hope Christian Church for offering the use of their church.
Was it an awesome birthday party? Absolutely, but even more importantly we were able to provide Hattie’s family with a meal and tables to sit and visit. Time spent together so basic; yet, it was something this family was missing and needed.
Toward the end of the party, I was hastily cleaning up when I noticed a picture with these words – “Spirit lead me where my faith is without borders.” I stopped and stared at the picture. I thought back about my personal journey of having a son born with Down syndrome. David’s birth and the experience surrounding our NICU hospital stay gave way to a desire to serve others. Spreading Sunshine, a non-profit mobilizing volunteers to serve families facing childhood illness and disability, is the fruition of that desire. What does it mean to ask God to lead us where our faith is without borders? It requires complete trust and it demands complete dependence on God during our most difficult trials. It allows us to say what Hattie’s daddy expressed to me, “joy,happiness, and blessing found in unexpected ways.”
Spreading Sunshine is at a critical turning point as we seek counsel and wisdom from those who have walked this non-profit journey. I am praying and asking that my faith be without borders as we move forward. God has met every need thus far, and God will continue to move in the hearts of individuals to give of their time, money and resources. I hope you will pray for Spreading Sunshine and that you will consider how YOU might be able to help us minister to families in meeting some of their most basic needs.