Monday, January 18, 2010

Birthday Blessings

We have so many blessings to be grateful for, but one that we are especially grateful for on this day is the blessing of friends.  When God adopts us into His family, He surrounds us with an amazing family of believers. There are no limits to God's blessings, and our simple minds cannot fathom a single thing He has plannned for us. Yet He continues to amaze us with abundant blessings, many of those He delivers through Christian friendships and selfless siblings in Christ. I pray you'll be blessed by the following story of friendship and birthday blessings, gifts from God Himself.

Our daughter, Mattie, has been raising money to support Abby, a 5 year-old girl who has 2 wishes: to have no more cancer and to adopt a sibling. Mattie has 1 wish:  to help Abby!

So, you're probably asking, "Who's Abby and how do you know her?!?"  Well, I think you'll be blessed to see how God has worked so intricately behind the scenes to "introduce" us to two families we had never even heard of until September, 2009.

The Block Family is a family of 10 who started a fund for Abby's Family, which is called the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund (PIF fund). The Blocks felt called to adopt from Africa (which would end up being their 5th adoption), so they began saving spare change in a pickle jar. Their pickle jar overfloweth when ONE anonymous donor sent them a donation of $20,000 to cover the cost of their international adoption!!! Instead of just thanking God for His blessings and moving forward with their own adoption, The Block Family felt called to pass the blessings forward by raising money to pay for SOMEONE ELSE'S adoption! So, they continued to fill their pickle jar and raise money for The Riggs Family, to one day cover the cost of an adoption wish that their daughter, Abby, has made. Talk about selfless. WOW! The Block Family felt God had blessed them so that they could bless another family. (They just didn't realize how many families they would bless along their path of obedience!)

So, for the month of September, 2009, The Blocks ate beans and rice for EVERY dinner (the ENTIRE month) in order to save money for the PIF fund. Prior to mid-September, I had never even heard of The Block Family. I rarely read blogs, but amidst Mattie's preparation to speak to our church regarding God's plan for the orphan, God directed me (through a whole different series of amazing blessings) to the Building the Blocks blog, which is the Block Family blog. God led me straight to the story of their family eating beans and rice for the month of September, which brought me to tears, and led me to share this with my family. (At this point, I had no idea about The Blocks PIF fund or how/why they started it, or anything, I was just blown away by the heart of this family with their beans and rice story.) We prayed for The Blocks and thanked God for their selflessness, and then shortly thereafter, Matt and I left for Serbia to adopt our 5th child. (Needless to say, we didn't read anymore blog posts for a while.)

God blessed us immensely with the gift of our Serbian daughter. We were blown away with this sweet, precious, happy girl who desperately needed open-heart surgery, yet no one would have known it upon meeting this smiley girl. We spent much time bonding as a family and visiting doctors, aligning surgery dates and hospital visits, etc. throughout the month of October and November. Then, the first Sunday of Advent, our family prayed individually and corporately, asking God to show us what gifts He wanted us to give Jesus for Christmas 2009.

That is when God brought The Block Family back into our hearts. Our daughter, Mattie, said she KNEW God wanted her to help "the beans and rice family" as Jesus' Christmas gift in 2009! We prayed often for God to bless Mattie's fundraising efforts, as she set out to raise $1,000 for the Pass It Forward Fund (which will be given to Abby's Family to support Abby's Wish). To read about Mattie's story of how she did raised money, click here. In short, Mattie prayed continuously, worked tirelessly, and gave selfessly.  God blew Mattie's socks off when she counted all of the monies at the end of December and found the amount to be $3,000! We traveled to the Dallas area at New Year's so that Mattie could personally present the $3,000 donation to The Block Family's Pass It Forward fund, which will be given to Abby's Family in support of Abby's Wish. We felt so privileged to be able to meet this selfless family who God had so beautifully woven into our lives just a few months prior, and Mattie was thrilled to donate the $3,000 that God made possible for her to raise.

Well, God didn't stop there with all of this. On our drive home from Dallas at New Year's, Mattie's heart was filled with joy about her donation, yet she felt burdened at the same time. While I thought it must be that she was feeling a little sad about giving up $3,000 (like most 11-year-olds would feel!), I couldn't have been more wrong!

Mattie felt sad, indeed, but her sadness was because she wanted to do MORE for the Pass It Forward fund for Abby's Wish!!!

Can you believe that?!? An eleven-year-old girl who felt burdened to raise MORE money, after already raising $3,000?!?  Surely this was not MY child.  I am not worthy!

And then, a few seconds after Mattie shared how she was feeling and how her heart was burdened to do MORE, our phone rang. 

And guess who it was?!?

A buyer for Mattie's iPhone that she had put up for sale on Craigslist in December in hopes of raising money to give to support Abby's Wish! Mattie was SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited because she knew that God was confirming that, indeed, He had called her to do MORE!!! Mattie sold her iPhone on our drive home from Dallas, and then she began planning her 12th birthday party...a "benefit" for Abby's Wish!

And guess what she asked for as her gifts from guests...

You got it...

donations for Abby's Wish!!!

And on the evening after Mattie's party, her heart is again overflowing with joy because God gave her teh best birthday gift ever!  $600 to donate to the PIF fund for Abby's Wish!!! And I have a feeling there'll be more donations coming because Mattie's "real" birthday isn't until January 27! (We had her party early due to Chrissie's surgery.)

And guess what else God did?!?

He brought The Block Family all the way to Wimberley to attend Mattie's b-day party (outside in the freezing cold), just to support Mattie in her fundraising efforts. Talk about making a girl feel special!

And guess what else God did?!?

The Riggs Family (Abby's family), sent every member of our family an "Abby's Wish" t-shirt, which we proudly wore to Mattie's b-day party as she raised money to support Abby's Wish. We've never even met The Riggs, but we have confidence that God will allow us to meet them one day, too. God seems to have a thing for selfless people, don't ya think?

Scripture tells us how we're adopted into God's family upon our acceptance of Christ as our Savior, but we never fathomed how God would bless us in our spiritual family. God has surrounded every member of our family with so many giving, caring, selfless, generous, loving, kind, unconditionally supportive siblings in Christ that we sometimes lose our breath about how good God is. To think that a family (The Blocks) would drive about 5 hours with 10 people in a Suburban just to support our little Mattie blows me away. And to think that another family (The Riggs) would spend their time and money to create and send us all t-shirts amidst ALL that they're going through (one daughter extremely ill with Leukemia and a son badly injured in a car accident who is going through rehab) simply takes my breath away.

Praise God for selfless families like The Blocks and The Riggs. And oh how blessed we are to have been chosen to be adopted into God's family. God chooses the best siblings, doesn't He?!? Thank you, God for blessing our family with the friendship and example of these godly families!

Happy 12th birthday, our precious Mattie! May God continue to bless you with amazing siblings in Christ, and may you continue to be an example of selflessness to the world. God has a mighty plan for you, our beloved daughter, and we are so undeserving to be your parents. Thank you God for birthday blessings.

Mattie's heart overflows with joy as she counts the donations
toward the Pass It Forward adoption fund for Abby's Wish!


Holly said...

That totally makes me cry. I have a daughter who recently turned 12 I can related to your wow factor at how the Lord is moving in your daughter's heart.
Praise God! It's all about HIM!

junglemama said...

How awesome! Loved reading this amazing story!

Anonymous said...

Patterson family,
We, too, want to thank your wonderful daughter, Mattie for the gift from her heart to the Pass It Forward fund. What an amazing 12 year old. Happy Birthday Mattie.

All the Block kids Gram Marcia and Gramps Dick

Renee said...

Hi, Mrs. Patterson!

What an amazing story! I'm glad that she was able to give the PIF fund so much! I'll definetely be praying for Chrissie, too. :)

God bless,
p.s. -- I put y'all's button on the sidebar of my blog.

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