Sometimes life is surreal in awful ways and sometimes life is surreal in just plain wonderful ones.
Maggie Lee for Good the movement turned paperback is proof of that.
Last Wednesday Night was one of those surreal moments. As I sat and listened to Lauri tell the story of losing her 12-day-old daughter and quote words from the book back to me, it was a wonderfully odd sensation. I was burdened by her great loss yet thankful that she found comfort this book.
It seems my main ministry bent in life has been reminding people how deeply God is in love with them. I felt in High School that God really just got a bad rap; like I had this secret which drew me into seeing God in a little different way. Not that I had earned that intimacy but that somehow God gave me this profound knowledge that He was real and actively loving me as well as those around me each day.
Like an inside joke almost was this relationship I excitedly shared, not to win people over to my way of thinking but just to express the profound truth that God is crazy about each of us. Mainly that if God could love someone like me then you are totally in like Flynn.
Jaimie, a friend I met through Maggie Lee’s Caringbridge site three years ago has been longing to express God’s love to a coworker of hers. She wrote this to me this week;
“I have a coworker who always makes sarcastic comments about Christianity. I’ve been praying for her and looking for ways to reach out to her with God’s love. Last night after work, she made a remark and I felt prompted to take out my Maggie Lee for Good book as the best way to start the conversation. I started reading and she immediately asked what I was reading. I began telling her about Maggie Lee and offered to let her borrow it. She started crying by page 3. I know that God will use His word to plant a seed in her. Maggie Lee for Good.”
Honestly there are millions who are sullied about Christianity and probably some valid reasons why they are. But, as the story we have unfortunately been entrusted with explains, God still loves us. Yes, God allows horrible tragedy. He doesn’t intervene to compensate for the poor choices we make as human beings but even that free will is a loving gift which in his generous restraint he gives.
Maggie Lee for Good was a labor of love for us. I felt an obligation to put down on paper the agony of losing part of my soul and the ecstacy of watching thousands of friends and strangers do a good deed on her birthday. Whether 100 or 1000 people wanted to read the book really didn’t matter to me as it was the only item on my bucket list when I began over 18 months ago.
To our amazement within a week, Maggie Lee for Good cracked the Amazon top 50 for Christian Living Hot New Releases. People like Jaimie have reached out to us to tell us how God has reminded them of his love through this little blue book.
Completely above and beyond expectation.
When Chick-fil-A owner John Roden of Bossier City, Louisiana, heard Maggie Lee’s story at his church in early October, 2010, he wanted his restaurant take part in Maggie Lee for Good Day. He shared the story with his marketer, Renee Wilson, who contacted us and asked if we were open to his Chick-Fil-A Restaurant (and, eventually the other two in the Shreveport / Bossier Area) to join in the second annual event. Of course we were ecstatic to have Chick-fil-A on board.
A week later Julie Babboni approached Renee Wilson in hopes of doing a fundraiser to help cover the astronomical cost of a trained service dog for her son, Benjamin. 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization whose dogs perform life-changing and even life-saving service for disabled children and adults. The timing seemed to be divinely inspired. Typically shying away from individual fundraisers, Renee still somehow felt like assisting in Benjamin’s quest for a service dog was the perfect project for this day. On October 29th, 2010, we met The Babboni family and was taken with this little guy whose life would be changed forever by a sweet, enormous canine named Hachi.
As seen in the video, Renee is explaining that at lunch on Maggie Lee for Good Day, every 29th meal was free, given in honor of Maggie Lee’s birthday and every customer who was given a free meal donated to the fundraiser for Benjamin. Donations included an anonymous gift in the whopping amount of $5,000, practically 1/3 of the cost of a trained service dog.
For three Octobers, Maggie Lee for Good has been a great rallying point around which generous enthusiasm is drawn. Whether it be a fun run benefitting North Carolina Organ Donation, a food drive in San Angelo, TX or even a service-dog fundraiser in Bossier City, LA., it is a tremendous phenomenon to watch. We are thrilled by the divine orchestration which led our lives to cross with so many of you and we are also happy that Benjamin has a faithful companion and protector in Hachi. Here are a few remarkable stories from Julie: