Although a few years back, it still can seem like just yesterday that I started this journey. A journey of trying to reach out and make a difference not only for my son, but also for others like him. As the years passed my vision and passion grew, but sadly my health weakened. I couldn’t take the physical strain of running what DogForDavid was becoming, but I also didn’t have the heart to let go of it and the impact it was making. As I have frequently said since the beginning, if all my effort amounted to was one person with a change of heart and new eyes to see past the labels and disabilities, than it was worth it.
By God’s sweet grace and provision, I have been blessed to be able to do much more than that over the years and reach much farther than I could have ever dreamed possible when I started out. Still, my dreams always seemed to be held back… they always had that ceiling to them that I couldn’t penetrate no matter how hard I tried. And the harder I tried, the worse my health plummeted until it got to the point where I had to give up. The beautiful part though is that when I finally found the strength to let go, to let my dreams seemingly fall flat and lie motionless in the dirt as life forced me to turn my focus to other things, those very same dreams started to come alive. It was slow at first, and felt quite dormant for a while even, but it was in my willingness to finally lay them down and accept that the door was closed that I discovered the key I had been searching for all this time.
After having taken the needed time to deal with my health issues and regain some stability, I started timidly reaching for those dreams again. Slowly picking them up, sorting out the pieces, brushing away the sand and dirt… Upon discovering my health was still too weak to put them back together myself, I decided to reach out just one more time. One more attempt to light a fire that would catch in others’ hearts and minds as well. One more extension of voice and heart asking for help in keeping it alive.
DogForDavid has now become Stripes and Puzzle Pieces and is seeing a growth spurt that I could only imagine about before. I stuck my foot out on the ledge, reached out my hands, and closed my eyes in earnest and heartfelt prayer and the result has been both exciting and humbling for me. A lot of things have changed and yes, some of the changes were hard for me to accept at first (namely having to put the dream of David’s service dog on hold indefinitely), but overall I stand in awe of what God is doing with the dream He planted firmly in my heart around David’s 4th birthday. A dream to make a difference. A dream to help others see what I could see… a child first and foremost. A child who struggles with a disability or condition, but who is not defined by it. A human being with hopes, dreams, joys, and fears just like the rest of us. Someone who both needs and deserves just as much love, acceptance, compassion, and respect as the rest of us.
Starting with David, and branching out from there as the DogForDavid world allowed more and more lives to touch mine and stake their claim in my heart, I wanted to make a difference for them. A difference that would truly mean something, one that would truly help them and their families. Just as a fire in nature can be as beautiful as it is devastating, so can it promote new beginnings and fresh starts after it has run it’s course. I have found the same to be true when dealing with a fire in the heart. My passion and fire shown brightly for a while before my health turned the tide. But under all these ashes and soot, new life is springing up through faithful volunteers and fresh new faces and opportunities and those precious dreams are finally starting to come to fruition. I may not be leading the charge anymore, but my heart couldn’t be more grateful or more at peace with what’s happening.