A couple of weeks ago, on a random weekday, five women left their busy (and I mean BUSY) homes (and about thirteen children total) to sit down with a warm cup of coffee and chat about their ministries. Ashley and I met with Amanda, Leslie and Kelly, the trio behind the fairly new and local non profit, Bundles of Hope.
Bundles of Hope ministers to families who have children in the care of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Huntsville Hospital. When we sat down with these three amazing women, I already knew that they collected and donated restaurant gift cards, since these parents would be away from home during so many meals as they visited their sweet babies. I also knew they helped to provide gas gift cards, which would allow parents transportation from home to hospital. Some families living over 60 miles away from their dear children who had not been able to leave the place where they first entered this world.
What I didn't realize, though, is that this triad of women are often times providing the very glue to hold these parents together. They not only donate gift cards for families to eat with, but they often serve warm and delicious meals with their very own hands. They told us stories about how they would sit and hold a mother as she cried in fear of the future. Leslie recalled a time when she bonded with a man whose grandchild was fighting for his life in the NICU. This man not only ached for the sweet child, but for his own children who were dealing with the pain of watching their new bundle of joy battle his way out of the hospital.
These women not only take the burden off of these families so they don't have to think about where their next meal is coming from, but they help carry the load of anxiety and worry by listening to their fears and providing words of hope.
Why? Because Amanda, Leslie and Kelly were all once there, sitting in the same chairs, pacing the very same halls. They each had children of their own battling, surviving and fighting their way back into their parents' arms. They know they are the lucky ones. They realize not all are so blessed to bring their children home to their houses. Unfortunately for some, a few sweet angels are carried by their Savior's tender arms to the gates of Heaven. Whatever the outcome, this ministry never lets these families lose hope, and reminds them that, no matter what, Christ will never leave them to carry this weight alone.
My son and I walk to school most mornings and pass a small pond along our way. It's a popular resting spot for geese as they are migrating one way or the other. Liam loves to hear them honking and he giggles and tells me that the geese are fighting with one another. I agree, since I'm no wiser. One day he asked me why geese always fly in a "V" while other birds fly alone or in bunches. I didn't know the answer, so he tasked me with researching geese while he was busy at school.
A quick google search and I had all I've ever needed to know about geese right before my eyes.
Goosebumps swept up my arms. Immediately thinking of Amanda, Leslie and Kelly as I read about geese and their amazing display of teamwork, loyalty, encouragement and compassion.
For you scholars who already know everything there is to know about geese- bear with me. For the rest of you, who like me, let geese be without scrutinizing their every move... GET THIS-
Geese fly in a "V" because it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The geese take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. Therefore, the geese can fly for long periods before they must stop to rest. These women were once tending children in the NICU, tired and weary. Now that they are in the next chapter, they have moved to the front of the flock to carry the load and help relieve some of the stress from those that are now in the chapter they once knew.
Geese honk at each other as they fly to encourage one another. They are constantly letting the ones in front know that they are still behind them, still in the journey and encouraging one another to keep flying. Bundles of Hope not only sits with these families and shares stories of struggle and triumph, but they pass along hand written notes from former NICU children. Physical proof that hope exists.
My favorite fact about geese is the one that surprised me and touched me the most. Scientists have discovered that if one goose becomes ill, is shot or injured, and drops out of the formation, two other geese will fall out of formation and remain with the weakened goose. They will stay with and protect the injured goose from predators until it is able to fly again or it passes away. Then the two geese will again take to the sky to find another flock to fly with, encourage and support.
A beautiful picture of the Body of Christ found in something as simple and ordinary as a flock of flying geese.
Supporting each other, encouraging and serving one another when one is weak and never leaving one of our brethren behind as they fight their own battles.
"Carry each other's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2.
These three women, and the Bundles of Hope ministry, may not be sharing the gospel to each of the families with words, but they are the Body of Christ made tangible within the walls of Huntsville Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Waiting Room. And making those sometimes scary halls a heck of a lot brighter with their shining, smiling faces.
Hop on over to our shop to purchase your tees to benefit the Bundles of Hope fund. All "Carry Each Other's Burdens", "My God is Mighty" children's tees, and the limited edition peach "Beautiful and Beloved" tees will benefit Bundles of Hope.
Want to do even more? Volunteer to serve, donate a food or gas gift card by emailing Bundles of Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page!
Love and Blessings,