I just read a great news story: A woman raised over $7,000 for a local humane society by putting Michael Vick football cards, which had been chewed, slobbered, and generally destroyed by her dogs, for sale on eBay. I love this story for several reasons: 1.) I love dogs - particularly the "mean breeds" like pit bull terriers and Rottweilers (one of whom sits "purring" in his sleep at my feet); 2.) I hate dog-fighting and the "people" (monsters seems better) who participate in it even more than I hate puppy mills and the "people" who run them (as well pet stores who peddle the pups); 3.) I love anybody who supports her local animal shelter; and 4.) This woman is my kind of leader.
You know what I mean? The kind of woman who hears a story, sees an injustice, feels a pain, or gets dealt a blow, and instead of sitting back whining about it, says, "Huh. I can DO something about this." And she does. She sees the ugly and tries to make it beautiful.
My friend Betty is this kind of woman.
Three years ago, almost to the day, she called me on the way to her oldest son's annual pediatrician visit. "I hate that we have to do these," she said. "Such a pain!" And she and I lamented the chore of loading up a car full of kids (she had three at the time and was pregnant with her fourth) and waiting around a doctor's office for hours only to be given the "you're doing great!" and be sent on your merry way.
But when she called me back a few hours later, I could tell something had changed. In fact, everything had: A routine screen had revealed her son had Type I diabetes. While not to say these three years haven't had their ugly moments (as anyone dealing with a life-threatening illness in their child knows!), but Betty took this huge blow, gave it to God, and said, essentially, "Okay. You've got our attention. Please heal my boy, help us find a cure, and in the meantime, tell me what I can do."
While no cure has yet been found (praise God, we're getting closer!), God has healed her son of several catastrophic complications, and in the meantime, shown her exactly what she can do: to be a witness. And be a witness she has!
She's presented her faith community with opportunities to walk along side (literally) those trying to manage their disease and find a cure by organizing this community into one of the biggest "teams" within the Kansas City Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Walk to Cure Diabetes. And she presents the diabetes community with her faith at every opportunity. She's become a tireless campaigner to the broader community - from delivering speeches to local business lunches to being interviewed by major magazines to appearing with her son on Radio Disney! In each of those opportunities, she shares both her passion for the need to raise money for the cure as well as her passion for the One who will ultimately provide that cure. (Click here to see one way she does all this!)