Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heart Friends

Today I want to Celebrate Love by introducing you to a very precious family. I am using their real names, because they face a very real battle every day, and I am hoping by sharing their story maybe some of you will want to come along side them and fight with them.

The Inspiring Olimb Family:
Rachel, Asher, Beck, and Jeremy
Meet my friend Rachel. For a long time, Rachel was a friend of a friend. Now I am so blessed I get to call her my friend. We have only met face to face once. We aren't best friends...or even good friends, but we are Jesus loving, Cystic Fibrosis fighting friends. And we are prayer friends. 

When I first heard Rachel's story, I immediately had such a heart for her.  One day, my friend mentioned her friend Rachel and her little boy named Asher who was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Here and there, during quick chats, our mutual friend shared more bits about Rachel, her husband, Jeremy, and little Asher.

Over time, other mutual friends would mention Rachel, her husband, and son as well.  God kept bringing Rachel into my life.  He had a plan that would touch my heart and make us friends.

One of the greatest blessings I had as a teacher in a Christian school was that we had prayer time every day. For a few minutes, right after lunch, my students would gather around, and they each had an opportunity to share one prayer request with the group.

ONE prayer request. That's all they got. (I figured that rule out pretty quickly when I began teaching or prayer time would have lasted the rest of the school day.) Without least once a week, but usually more often, one of my students would ask for prayer for Rachel & Jeremy's son Asher. 

Then our friend gave me a card with Asher's picture on it.  I hung it on our prayer board in my classroom and Asher became a part of our daily prayer.  Next came the news that Rachel was expecting another baby - another boy! And then very sad news...this little guy would also be born with CF along with some other life-threatening issues. 

Rachel and Jeremy named him Paxon and we all began to pray. Their family prayed, friends prayed, my students prayed, and strangers prayed. Paxon arrived a little early and lived 11 days. Our hearts just broke for Rachel, Jeremy, and Asher. We grieved with them and we continued to pray.

Rachel and Jeremy went forward with their plans for their annual TeamAsher Silent Auction and just a few weeks later held this huge fundraising event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That is where I finally got to meet Rachel face to face! After months of being prayer friends, and Facebook friends, we finally became In Real Life Friends. 

The moment we met, Rachel reached out and hugged me, and I knew without a doubt that she was my kind of people.

That day at their auction, Rachel and Jeremy played a video that gave Hubby and I a tiny glimpse into their lives and what their little family goes through living with this difficult disease.  

Although we had heard of Cystic Fibrosis, we didn't really know much about it.  Since meeting this sweet family, we have come to learn so much more.  While we can't even imagine what daily life is really like for them, seeing this video was an eye opening experience for Hubby and me. That was the day we truly began to support their efforts in working toward finding a cure.

As God would have it, we would move far far away from this sweet family. And they would go on to become the parents of a third little guy they would name Beck. He is beautiful, adorable, and clearly Asher's brother. And sadly...Beck was also born with Cystic Fibrosis.

As I watch Rachel's little guys grow up in pictures and on video...I pray for them...I pray for her and Jeremy. I pray for that cure. I know there are so many worthy causes out there...there are so many children many parents hurting. These aren't even the only friends we have whose children are fighting an illness.

But today God has laid it upon my share their story with you. If you live in the Gilbert, Arizona area, please attend their upcoming annual auction: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2014.

The 2014 teamASHER+BECK Silent Auction will be an event you will not want to miss. They will be offering an abundance of wonderful goods and services to bid on and all of the proceeds go toward the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's fight to finding a cure.

This is no small-time affair. Last year's auction raised $21,543.09 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and another $5,392.59 was added (from t-shirt sales and a 50/50 drawing) to Asher and Beck's medical fund for the boys' on-going medical expenses.

Here's a link to the 2013 video from that auction. It's full of Asher and Beck cuteness and another reminder to me why I'm writing this blog today.

If you would like to support TeamASHER+BECK, but will not be able to attend their awesome auction, then click this link to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of Asher & Beck.

Click this link if you would like to learn more information about The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

No...I don't get to have heart to heart chats with Rachel over coffee...I don't attend a Bible study with her...or go shopping...or do lunch...and we don't chat for hours on the phone. We aren't that kind of friends. We are two mommas...raising our boys...trying to do the best we can with the job God has called us to do. We are heart friends.

And I write this blog today as a Celebration of Love for a friend: Rachel, my heart friend.

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