By Joy Bullis
This summer Spreading Sunshine had the unique opportunity to walk deeply with one of our Sunshine Families to help fulfill a God-sized dream. Marissa is 16 years old. Diagnosed with Freidreich’s Ataxia, Marissa and her family know their time together is limited. Marissa’s mom, Dawn, wanted to take her daughter on a cross country trip to fully embrace life and make memories. Our generous donors and volunteers stepped up to help provide this family with life-changing memories.
Dawn wrote about her travels and experiences along the way. You can read more at Riding on Sunshine.
We recently received an email from Joy, one of our amazing volunteers, who shared what this trip meant to her.
Sometimes life is very raw and real. For some families, every day can feel or be raw and real.
Reading the Riding On Sunshine blog invited me on that journey weekly, sometimes daily.
We were all invited to see the “real rawness” in all of it. We were allowed to see honest authenticity and humility and heartbreaking pain all along the way. It was remarkable seeing and learning that God walks beside us all the way. He loves us messy people. I am allowed to let my messy show and I am freed up by this family who invited us all to be allowed to be free and real, no matter how messy. God loves each and every one of us fully, completely, and forever no matter what.
Going for It Can Be Messy
This invitation allowed me to travel on the journey with a family that pursued dreams and fought to jump right in and go for them. They wanted to truly “live” life, not just endure it.
How many people actually do this?
However messy your family is (we all are but we rarely want to show it to others) and whatever challenges or rawness you are dealing with, it is breathtakingly freeing to change the focus and “go” for a dream.
This journey allowed me and many others to step out of the pandemic-trapping walls and ride on a rollercoaster of possibilities that broke the suffocating rules of “don’t go near people, don’t hug people, don’t go out of state, don’t get sick, etc.”
Persevering Through it All
It allowed us to grow out of fear and into hope, as each leg of the journey happened and as the next one was pursued.
Even after every exhaustion, hospital visit, fall outside a pool, bruises, breaks of body and heart, and tears galore,the race was run with determined perseverance.
Seeing the God of Miracles
It allowed me and others to see that our hope is in the God of possibilities, miracles, and steps of faith and trust.
We were all given such a gift. We were invited to walk alongside, to feel a passion toward God and our own dreams being possible once again. We were given an invitation to have a purpose and importance in being a part of God doing something big in one family’s life.
They could never have had this amazing summer happen without a HUGE God of ability, and a beautiful “family of God” partnering with God on the journey. The Spreading Sunshine community and many others along the way helped connect each step to get to the finish line.
None of us knew if the “dreamed-of” finish line would come, but each step was a victory. Each fall back, accident, emergency room visit was a prayer call that put us on our knees. And each resurrection to continue the journey was a shout of joy and excitement to push on to the next level or destination.
It was definitely a journey for all of us.
No matter how out of this world the dream might seem to others watching, and maybe even to ourselves, God makes things possible.
Our GOD is BIG! He blesses the most unlikely situations in BIG ways if we trust Him, run with Him, and believe. No matter how the world might perceive it or ridicule us, our willingness to run with Him allows Him to show His strength. He performs miracles despite our weakness.
Click to learn more about Riding on Sunshine.