Let me back up and briefly share how this all came about – to get a feel for all that our gracious God had to orchestrate to have this happen…
There once was a little girl named Jenny. She dreamed of going to Africa one day to serve the orphans. Jenny eventually married her kindhearted sweetheart Jay and they had four children. Over the years she would research mission trips that would take her to Africa. She actually was set to go on one trip to one African country, however, right before leaving something happened and the trip was cancelled. Some time passed and every now and then Jenny would continue to research a trip. One day Jenny googled and found PlaceCalledSimplicity. The post that came up was not one that had anything to do with Africa. In fact it was a tribute to my sweet friend Cindy, who had passed away. But she clicked on the link and read anyway.
Through that one click, she found Emma and from there she found the Gems. Only God. The fulfillment of her dreams happened in June of 2015 when Jenny and her daughter joined the GO Team to the Gems. While there Jenny and Dw talked about Ruby and Jenny encouraged Dw to bring Ruby to her home in Maryland while we were on our Rescuing Ruby Miracle Tour.
Cause guess what Jenny does?? Yup!!! She’s an expert in Assistive Devices for sweet peas like Ruby. All through the trip, I just kept thinking of getting to Jenny’s home because in my heart of hearts, I just knew it was going to be a monumental event in Ruby’s healing.
Before we arrived at Jenny’s home, she had sent an email asking all sorts of questions including how Ruby explores her world. I told them that she checks everything she can reach with her left foot. Little did I know that that question was about to open a whole big, unbelievably miraculous world to our sweet fragile miracle girl!!
Jenny had her precious friend, Karin come hang out with us. Karin is also an Assistive Device expert. Before we arrived Jenny had emailed me, “Ruby’s going to make us breakfast on Tuesday morning.” I thought, “Ummm, I don’t think she understands how complex Ruby’s needs are.”
But boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!! Was I ever wrong!! And friends – wait till you hear this!! The first thing Jenny asked was, “Do you mind if we put a piece of velcro on Ruby’s wheelchair footrest?” “Of course not!!”, I responded.
And the rest is history!! Jenny and Karin put a little button on that little piece of velcro and plugged the blender into a box that was attached to the button. They told Ruby, “Here Ruby, there’s a button here for you to push with your toe that will turn on the blender so you can make us all breakfast…” And immediately Ruby put her toe on that button and held it down.
I sat with tears streaming down my face (just like I have as I type this) seeing how Ruby’s world had just expanded a bazillion percent!! Jenny and Karin unlocked her world to us in a way that we can never thank the Lord enough.
From the blender, they moved to the mixer…and Ruby mixed gluten free waffles up for us. She squealed and giggled and loved every second. If the item needed constant mixing (like the waffles) she would hold it down steady. If it needed intermittent pulsating (like the blender) she would do that. It was truly mind-boggling – Ruby completely understood!!
That’s Jenny (above) taking a picture of Ruby. Ruby was so excited – she could hardly stand it!! Her face tells the story!! And then Karin (below) plugged in a talking and singing animal that sings and dance! Ruby giggled with delight as she pushed her toe and made it talk and sing each time.
Then Jenny and Karin hooked in an iPad with programs adapted for Assistive Devices. Ruby sat fixated with the iPad and each time the song ended, she would either use her hand to activate it on the pad itself or use her toe on that beautiful button. It was truly wild how well she worked it. She did it so appropriately with each situation it was crazy-miraculous!! And the tears continued to stream down my face.
Jenny and Karin then gave us the sweet yellow button and the box that all the normal devices are plugged into. We cannot ever thank Jenny and Karin enough for their love for our sweet baby girl. Ruby’s world has forever been changed!! All because a little girl had a desire to one day go to Africa to work with orphans!
God’s lavish love is immeasurable!!
I will be looking for small doll size berries to put in our Memorial Box to represent that first smoothie Ruby made…
PS There is an equally miraculous part 2 to this story – soon!!
And for those new to Memorial Box Monday stories let me explain what a Memorial Box is….
It’s a box filled with very tangible items, each representing a time in our lives where God provided, protected and proved Himself strong. Here’s the Biblical understanding behind it…
In Joshua 4 God told the Israelites this:
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.
These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day……….
On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.
He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
So for many, many years we have gathered items and put them in our Memorial Box. We lost our beloved Memorial Box when we lost our home to a fire a few years ago and, finally, after searching high and low found the one we have now.
One of the most significant times, personally, declaring the value our Memorial Box has goes back to 2009. We had just lost our home to the fire and were still reeling emotionally from that. Dw, who had just returned from Africa was very sick, yet he had insisted on driving with me the 1120 miles [one way] to Iowa City for Isaiah to have surgery for his Arthrogryposis.
As I drove farther from home, Dw got sicker and sicker and ended up being admitted to the hospital as well, which meant I had Dw on one end with Isaiah having surgery on the other end…and we were 1,000 miles from our home in an unknown city.
To top it off, the tests the hospital was running for Dw were alarming – clearly showing it was his liver. Fear began to take it’s ugly grip as I grappled with: Dw deathly ill, Isaiah having surgery, not knowing anyone, the kids 1,000+ miles away and uncertain what was exactly wrong with Dw’s liver. As panic overwhelmed me, suddenly, one by one, the trinkets from our Memorial Box zoomed by my mind’s eye in a steady stream.
And instantly I was overwhelmed with God’s peace as He whispered,
“What is in your Memorial Box?
Do you not remember?
I have healed, protected, restored and rescued in the past.
I will not leave you.
I have this one too.”
The thing was that when the Lord whispered that to my heart, not one thing had changed, but instantly I *knew* – He had been faithful all those other times, His faithfulness would continue even in this Iowa City, husband very sick, son having surgery season.
I encourage anyone I meet to begin a Memorial Box today. He is always faithful and we must always remember!! (This is our Memorial Box!)