“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not; They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23
On the surface of this verse, it can feel like a very happy verse. It’s a verse that fills us with joy and hope, especially when we are navigating uncharted roads that life can bring us. Often, when comforting others who are facing something difficult, we share a glimpse of a verse with someone to help lighten the burden they are facing. I think we also do this because it brings us a sense of comfort, but we can easily miss that the verses of hope were often first birthed through pain. When we look at the context of Lamentations, we see the pain and darkness the author was facing. It seems he lost all hope. I think we can all probably relate to a time where we felt this exact way.
A few weeks back I sat in the living room of a young lady named Andrea. As we shared with each other we were brought to tears as we reflected on the faithfulness of God. A year earlier, Andrea, was living on the third floor of an apartment where the elevator she needed to take in her wheelchair often broke down.
She was learning to navigate life without limbs after losing them to sepsis. At that time she was just learning to walk with her prosthetic legs, but she did not have the strength to go very far on them. The mobility chair she had was big and bulky and far too heavy for anyone to carry up stairs. So when the elevator was not working, she would be stuck. Although this made for even more challenges, her infectious smile never stopped shining. I remember feeling a bit hopeless because I couldn’t do more to change her situation.
Two weeks prior to our October retreats, WHILL, a wheelchair company, reached out to Beautifully Flawed wanting to give a chair to one of our retreat attendees. I knew immediately who we needed to give this to. At that time, they were doing a collaboration with Callie, a retreat attendee turned leader, who shared with them about the work we do. WHILL began from a single wheelchair users voice and the co-founders desire to give him his independence back, as well as confidence.
More than 10 years later, they still find the greatest joy and motivation to continue doing what they do when they hear how their devices have positively changed the lives of their customers. “When we were presented the opportunity to share the “WHILL experience with a deserving individual through one of our existing customers and the Beautifully Flawed Foundation, we jumped right on it,” said Jeff. “During our initial chat with Sarah Hill and Sarah Loogman at BFF, I learned about the recipient’s story and how amazing a person she is. I could feel the love for Andrea over our team’s call. After meeting Andrea in person and seeing how strong she is and how big her heart is, I finally fully grasped why she is so loved, and I also realized there was no one better to provide this gift to,” Jeff shared.
We decided that we would surprise Andrea at the retreat with the news of this amazing gift she would be receiving. During the retreat, Andrea’s sister (who was there to assist Andrea), pulled me aside to share with me that she was trying to get Andrea a new wheelchair. She mentioned she only had a thousand dollars to put towards it, and asked what I thought about this Walmart chair she was looking at?
You can only imagine how excited I got! Andrea was days away from getting the news that she was going to be receiving the “Tesla” of mobility chairs. I could no longer keep the secret, so I made her sister pinky promise me she would not mention a word to Andrea before we surprised her. When her sister found out, her eyes filled with tears. This family has rallied together to do whatever they can to aid in this life change, but resources are very limited, so this was going to be life changing.
We waited for our banquet dinner for the surprise. The WHILL team made a video, and as a group, we all cried happy tears together over this amazing gift. Andrea, who has spent that last year working so hard not only to walk again, but to heal inwardly and mentally too, she has overcome so much! From day one, she took this life alteration, and she in the midst of Lament, like the author Jeremiah, remembered God in the midst of the storm. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed…Great is Your faithfulness.”
Delivering Andreas chair to her new house (where she no longer needs to worry about an elevator), two weeks before Christmas was a beautiful moment. She was so thankful. Jeff from WHILL, not only delivered the chair to her, but took the time showing her all the specs of the chair, and connecting the chair to her smartphone for easy use. The chair can even make its way to Andrea through its GPS in the event she can’t get to it.
“Receiving this chair was such a life-changing blessing! I am still in awe of the kindness of WHILL and the Beautifully Flawed Foundation for giving me this chair. Having this chair for a few weeks now, I can say it has helped move around my house freely and be able to be more independent. I can only imagine how much it will be able to help me become more independent in the future. I am beyond grateful for being chosen to receive this incredible chair!”-Andrea
As we reflected on the faithfulness of God, I couldn’t help but to be inspired by Andrea’s faith. God has not let her down, and in all the unseen things she’s had to trust to Him, He was faithfully working it out. Today Andrea and her mom live in a quaint home they were able to purchase. Her new chair has given her more independence, something she needed as she continues to go to college in pursuit of her counseling degree. Faith is a beautiful journey that often brings us to roads we never knew were coming.
Thank you all for the great faith you have put into the work we are doing. God continues to blow me away with all He is doing in and through us. I also want to thank all of you who have given to this work. In our end of year giving campaign, you all helped us raise over $65,000 towards the work we will be doing in 2023. So many more good things are to come!