When All You Have is Fishes... Part 3- Overflowing

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!" -William Arthur Ward

We are finally coming to the end of 2013. Usually, I feel a certain amount of sadness at the passing of another year. One more year that's passed. Another year towards the end of my childhood. But this year, I feel nothing but relief. Relief that the year I felt would never end... finally is ending.

2013 has been a really rough year, for me. Being sick has been very stressful, even beyond just feeling bad. It puts such a strain on your heart, mind, and just your overall being. So this year, I smile at the thought that it's finally over. That perhaps next year will be better.

But I don't really want to write this post about being sick. I'll save that for next time. Right now, I have something much happier to talk about. Because 2013 wasn't a complete washout for me, and there were things in it that make me smile. My little sister, Shiloh, had her first birthday. I made it into my first Quo Vadis play- and as the part that I wanted, too! 

Another thing that became a huge part of my life this past year, is my Living Water Hats mission. It started back at the end of 2012, as just a little idea in my heart and head. The first time I ever mentioned it was on October 25th, when I wrote an article about if for our family newspaper. At the time, I had no idea how long it would take, or what to expect. Plus, I didn't really know where to go from there. I knew that I wanted to raise $1000 for a Jesus Well, and that I wanted to sell crochet hats as my way of raising money, but that was as far as I had gotten.

Well, time passed, and I got older, but I didn't forget about Living Water Hats. I sold a few hats, but most the money that ended up in my the envelope was simply what I put in there from my paychecks every week.

My biggest stumbling block in selling my hats actually had to do with the fact that I felt like my dream was very small, and I saw people doing much bigger things. People who also needed donations, and had a "more important" cause than I did. People at church were going to Honduras for a mission trip, and someone else was actually moving to Honduras for a year. How could I take attention away from those things, just to sell my little hats?

But after a while, I finally felt like God was telling me that I needed to follow Him, even though I felt like it was a small thing. So I wrote a blog post about it. (You can read that, HERE.) My main goal in writing that was to remind people that the gifts God had given them weren't small. I wasn't really thinking very much about the fact that anyone who read that anyone who read my post would hear about my hats. I just wanted people to know that they had something to offer, too.

But people did hear about my hats. One person in particular. The worship leader at church, Mr. Matt, read my blog post and wanted to help out. He approached me about it the Wednesday after I published the blog post, saying that he wanted to help me tell other people about my hats, as well as purchasing one.
I was amazed at how God had used my blog post. Even if the conversation we had may have seemed like a small one, it was a milestone for me. It had me nearly in tears, and I don't cry. I was so moved by it that I ended up talking about it on the stage in front of the whole church. 

And that was when it completely exploded!

I cannot explain how it all happened, because it is beyond explanation. It is too great and wonderful for the confines of the written language. Too huge for my human mind to comprehend.

 On October 2nd, nearly a year after I first started Living Water Hats, I finally reached $300. At this point, the goal was still to have the well fully funded by January 1st, 2014. I knew, vaguely, that God can do anything, but I most definitely wasn't holding my breath for it. It wasn't really that I didn't think it could happen, just that I didn't think it would. By the 20th of October, I had reached $400. On November 2nd, I passed $500, which was the half-way mark. On the 14th, I only had $530. But somehow, by mid-December, I had $700. 

And now, two days before the goal-date... I have not only achieved my goal, but SURPASSED it! When we counted everything in the envelope, including the mountainous pile of change at the bottom, I had $1,030.73!!! Just like in the story, the baskets are now overflowing...

My mind is still reeling from the sheer chock of realizing that I went from $300 to over $1000 in the span of two months. Two months!!! The only was this could be explained is by giving credit where credit is due- to God only. This isn't my well. It's God's well.

And God has certainly taught me a few things through this whole journey. Firstly, He has taught me that no dream is small when God has given it to us. He has given each of us a dream. And it doesn't matter if you're not called to a foreign land. Not everyone is supposed to go to Honduras. But that doesn't mean your dream is small. That doesn't mean it's nothing.

Secondly, I have seen that God uses even the most unlikely vessels. I'm certainly not what I would think of as being the prime candidate for raising a thousand dollars. As sad and hard as it is to say, I am no longer the picture-perfect teenager I used to be. I went from being in the prime of health to being "like an old person" (in the immortal words of Nate) over the span of just a few months. My health has gone downhill very quickly, and we got my diagnosis not too long after Living Water Hats really started to take off. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep up with the hats, because I just feel so tired sometimes that even crocheting is more than I can handle. And honestly, I know I could never have done this on my own. 

I guess that's why God so often uses people like me- who are too small, too sick, too broken, too whatever. Because we cannot even begin to claim that it was us who did it. 

Thirdly, I have been reminded to never underestimate what God can- and will!- do. He is so much bigger than we give Him credit for. We have a tendency to try and fit God in a box. We try to make-believe that we understand everything there is to understand about Him. And then He goes and does something like this. He reminds us that He is infinitely bigger than even the biggest box we have. Just as He isn't limited by time or space, He isn't limited by our abilities, our failing health, our past, or even our lack of faith. Things that would trip us up do not even come close to touching God.

He can take your fishes- your three hundred dollars- and use it for so much more than we can even dream of ourselves...


I would like to thank everyone who has helped me reach the goal of $1000 dollars before New Year's Day, 2014. There are too many people to thank everyone by name, but there are a few people I would like to mention here. First off, Mr. Matt, whom God has used to spark the whole thing off. Mr. Todd and Mr. Emerson, who have been super supportive and helpful in getting the word out and getting my Facebook page started. Also, the whole Youth Group at Four Winds Church, who have been amazingly supportive and encouraging. And lastly, my mom, dad, and older sister, who have been there from the beginning.

And, of course, God- who has given me all of these amazing people, and without whom I would not be here.

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