I was raised in a Christian home and have been a Christian for 45 years.  In my mid 20’s I walked away from the Lord but He was faithful to bring me back to him after about 7 years.  I grew greatly in my walk after that but over the past 10 years, my faith has grown in ways I never could have imagined.  I began experiencing God in new and wonderful ways.  Still, I had never been taught about the working of the Holy Spirit.  A few years ago I began attending WOI on Monday nights.  At one of those first classes Tammy said, “Believe it is so when it’s not so in order for it to be so.” Those words penetrated my heart and I began asking God to show me the working of the Holy Spirit in my own life even thought I wasn’t sure it really was something that even existed.

In September of 2015 a good friend of my daughter’s was diagnosed with cancer.  Shortly after the diagnosis, I began waking up at about 3 am with strong thoughts about him and his family (who I did not know).  I was unable to sleep and I knew in a way I had never known before that the Holy Spirit was prompting me to pray on behalf of this family.  After a few weeks of waking every night for several hours I felt moved to write the mom a letter.  It was short but expressed to her that God had put her on my heart and I was standing in the gap for them.  About a week later, I received a text from her.  She allowed me to continue texting prayers and thoughts regularly.  Eventually, I even met her and brought a couple of meals from our restaurant to the hospital for their family.  I was applying the saying mentioned above to my very core and believed without a whisper of doubt that the HS was going to use my prayers in her son’s healing.

I had never been so confident in anything spiritual like this before and that fed my belief of healing. I was praying scripture, sitting in my car praying over their home, rebuking every one’s words that he was going to die.  Even when they brought him home on hospice and gave him just a few weeks, I was still believing everyday…but I was wrong.  About a week before he passed, my confidence crashed and I felt an overwhelming surge of anger towards God flood me.  I went into the garden and as I yanked out the weeds, I screamed at God for his rejection of my prayers.  I reminded Him that I now remembered all of my sins against Him and what a fool I had been for thinking He would use me!  Clearly He had no intention of using me!  My pity party lasted only a couple of days as God led a friend to remind me that He is God and I am not.  She reminded me that my job was to walk through this with the family and continue to point them to God’s love.

Surprisingly, just two days later, a peace came over me and I was able to be a support during those last days.  Dillan died on Friday, January 15, 2016. The next day was the WOI Conference.  I didn’t really feel like going but my friend had bought my ticket and so I went.  I cried the entire day but the conference was wonderful and I found God meeting me and giving me strength in many ways.  At the conference Tammy announced that the following week they would be doing vision boards at their women’s class.  I decided right then that I needed a new vision.

On Wednesday, January 20th we had a praise and worship night at our church. Our Pastor asked us to stand up based upon where we were in our walk with God.  I stood up at the “I want More.”  It seemed to fit with the idea of a new vision.  The following morning was the WOI class.  When I arrived I was immediately disappointed.  I saw press board, scissors, stickers and magazines and my heart sank.  I thought, “Great! an art project.  This isn’t going to be what I thought!”  But, I had taken time off work to be there and my friend was one of the leaders of the class so I swallowed my pride and collected some things to start my board.  I sat down at a table and picked up a magazine.  The name of the magazine was “MORE.”  My heart jumped a little with surprise.  I turned the pages and on every page it seemed like that word was popping out at me.  “Maybe there’s something to this,” I thought.  I collected my things and found a place on the floor in the corner.  I spread everything out and lost myself in words that just kept popping out at me.  Specific things that I knew were for me. My board was only words except for one picture which was doves…the Holy Spirit!  Right there on the floor God told me that He wasn’t done with me.  He told me that He had plans for me and He assured me that I had not been mistaken.  Everything that had happened had been due to His prompting on my heart. The Holy Spirit was real! I left class with my completed vision board with a renewed spirit, even though I had no idea what that meant.

Dillan’s memorial was one of the most beautiful I have ever been to.  Every person that spoke talked about the amazing young man he was.  I wished I had known him but the most powerful testimonies were those of three of his nurses that said they could not attend every memorial but they had to come to his because of how he had affected their lives.  After the memorial I approached the nurses and out of no where (HS) I asked if I could bring a meal to another family that was going through this difficult journey.  The lead nurse told me that would be nice and gave me her contact information.

The following week I sent her an email and offered to bring a meal.  She said the best day would be Tuesday, February 2nd.  I accepted.  I laughed to myself.  That was my birthday.  How amazing that God would give me such a gift!  When I met her to drop off the meal, I told her that I had a God vision to bring one meal every week to a family. I told her I wanted it to be anonymous. (God had put that strongly on my heart so that this would never again be about me but only point to Him).  Right away I had people volunteer to help deliver the meals.  Dillan’s family allowed me to write a letter that is included with each meal and now just 10 months later, Love Letters Food Box is delivering 7 meals a week. Our vision now is one meal every day to each floor.  Dillan’s mom and dad and grandparents are delivering meals regularly as well as making blankets and gifts for the patients at CHOC.  We did the CHOC walk as Team Love Letters Food Box in honor of Dillan and raised $7,500.  We are working as a non-profit and have begun to raise some funds.  The COO of CHOC has decided to support Love Letters as a growing project and most importantly, Dillan’s mom, Pam, is now one of my very closest friends.

The journey is not over.  The family is facing their first Christmas and year anniversary and it is so incredibly painful.  Several of them are still struggling with their relationships with God but they can clearly see that He is working in all of our lives. Today, my vision board hangs on my wall and reminds me each day that His MORE vision for me is in fact,  “…more than I can ask or imagine” Eph 3:20 and that I can truly be a Woman of Influence for Him.

– Jody