I had just lost my husband Doug through a sudden unexpected death. The fog of losing a loved one is so penetrating; it had totally consumed me. I was going through the motions of everyday life. One Sunday after church a young mother approached me about a Bible study. She was here in Memphis with her husband and two sons. They had been here almost a year living in temporary housing while seeking chemo treatments for their 1 year old son. When she approached me she said God had laid it on her heart to talk to me about a Bible study for other women going through the same thing she was. I will have to admit; I went through the motions and assured her I would think about it. I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t think anything else about it until the next Sunday, when the pastor came in with 3 huge bags of materials. He was so excited about this Bible study. I took the materials home and started studying them. That’s when God opened up my heart, He opened up my mind and He started to clear the fog that had totally consumed me.
The first meeting for the Bible study was amazing. I met the most awesome group of strong women. I was there to teach them God’s word and instead God was teaching me. As the study progressed, God started to show me these strong women had needs that weren’t being met. The children had so many champions for them, rightfully so. I saw gifts given to the children in a blessed and overwhelming way. I saw the prayers for these children. I saw the support for these children. I was so amazed at how good people truly were to these children. Then I started to watch the women, I mean really watch them. I observed how they were in the background, giving of themselves to seek a cure for their child. I observed simple things like a haircut and style being put off because the funds weren’t there or there just wasn’t a place they could go. Then I observed how something like an oil change was a major event. Where to go or who you can trust in a strange town can be overwhelming. You see, their automobile is what transports them to the hospital and back. Then after the treatment has been completed, that same car has to get them back home, possibly several states away. That’s when I started searching for an organization for these women. I was astonished to find nothing.
A week before Christmas, I approached a friend that sells jewelry. She had told me in the past how she liked to donate jewelry to churches. I asked her if she would be willing to donate some for my group of women. She graciously donated the biggest bag of beautiful jewelry I had ever seen. I was pretty pumped and excited to say the least. It was like being a child all over again at Christmas for me. I was so anxious and I could hardly wait until our Bible study. We were enjoying the holiday festivities with each other when I told the ladies I had a dear friend who wanted to make their Christmas a little special. I poured all the jewelry on the table. What I witnessed next was more than touching. It was an awakening for me at what these women were sacrificing for their child. What I witnessed was a group of women, getting to be women. They were holding jewelry up to each other, oohing and ahhing over which piece would look good with their hair or their favorite blouse. It touched me deep to see something as simple as costume jewelry putting a smile on their beautiful faces.
I shared the jewelry story with my daughters Shonda and Anna at Christmas. My heart was so burdened by the needs of these women. We had several discussions on how we might be able to help. We brainstormed and prayed about it for several days and on January 3, 2013, 3 Wishes for Her was born. We agreed that ‘3 Wishes for Her’ would be an advocate for these women. Our goal for 3 Wishes for Her is to offer spiritual, emotional and physical support to these women as they face the toughest battle of their lives.
Photography courtesy of Gregory Lynn