A few weeks ago, I met a remarkable young woman who lives with multiple health challenges, and yet with a glowing smile told me all about how God had used her to encourage two other ill girls her age. I loved her passion for helping others and how she feels God may be giving her direction for her future and how to channel her gifts and energies to help similarly ill young people. So I asked her to write up her testimony for the encouragement of my blog readers.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you today to Elaini Garfield (on the left in the picture). I hope you will find the time to read her whole story because I think it will encourage you not only in how God works through our own limitations and frailties, but also how He can use us to inspire others to support any "God-sized" ventures He puts on our hearts. Here's how her story begins:
Everyone was so willing that I had more than enough and was able to order two gowns. When I went on to B.Y.O.G’s website the Lord directed me to a page about the owners, Andrea and Cindi. At the bottom of the page about them was this verse from Psalms 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Excitedly I wrote the owners and shared that I was a Christian and I believed that verse as well, and explained to them what my girl friends and I were doing. Their response was prompt, gracious, and kind. Some special packaging was needed, which they were eager to do. They also said they would pray for Marissa and enlist their Bible study to pray as well.
A few days later the package arrived in the mail and I couldn’t help but jump up and down with excitement as I read this enclosed note:
We were so touched by what you girls have done for Marissa and we wanted to match your contribution. Enclosed, please find four gowns for Marissa. We thought she could use the suitcase for all the cards she will be receiving too.
Cindi and Andrea”
Wow, not only did they send it beautifully wrapped but they also sent two more gowns. It was such a confirmation of God’s plan.
Several days later I was delighted to finally meet Marissa, a warm, sweet, and friendly girl. When I gave her the gowns she was very overwhelmed and she enjoyed reading the cards and looking at the girl’s pictures who had helped with the purchase. I was so grateful to be a part of what God was doing. The notes ended up going up all over the walls of her room and she even modeled the gowns for me. She said that she had been asking the Lord that morning if cute and discreet (modest) hospital gowns existed!
That night as her family, some other friends, and my mom and I stood in a circle praying, I felt God’s presence. As we prayed I became aware of another need as God opened another door for me to walk through. We prayed for Marissa’s friend who was her age and also had leukemia. She was in the room four doors down from her. It was then that I knew I should start the process again. Pretty soon I had enough money for one gown, but I was praying the Lord would provide enough for two. My mom went to her hairdresser a few days later and was telling her about all of this. By the end of the conversation the hairdresser told my mom to take the money she would have paid her and put it towards a second gown. Over the next few days the rest of the money came in. I went back to my friends at B.Y.O.G. and once again they delivered such wonderful service.
It amazes me how God has blessed me. I have been able to develop a wonderful friendship with Andrea, Cindi, and Marissa. Since Andrea and Cindi live in another state we keep in touch with email, but I have been privileged enough to be able to visit with Marissa frequently. God was gracious enough to allow me to make new dear friends as well as get outside of myself and focus on others even during my own health issues.
I stand in awe of the way God works and that He would allow me to see a glimpse of how He is orchestrating His plan. Even though my body is weak Christ provided me with a unique way to show me His love and how He never leaves us or forsakes us. There were so many little things that He did that made it obvious of His working. I truly feel as if I got to hear God’s heartbeat through so many different people. Bubump: God gave me a desire. Bubump: He directed me to the right people. Bubump: Others gave. Bubump: I made new friends. And through it all I have realized that helping others in this way is so energizing.
As I continue to heal I know God will lead and direct me. I don’t know what He has in store next but I do know that whatever He does will truly be awesome and that I can trust Him fully. To Him be all the glory and power forever and ever.
P.S. I would love it if you would check out B.Y.O.G. They have a great product and if you know a woman who is expecting, their gowns are perfect for labor and delivery and would make an excellent shower gift. However, as I have discovered, they are not JUST for maternity wear!