How does one get ready to go to China? First you have to decide to go, then you decide not to go, then you decide to go again! Haha! This is actually what happened with me. I had been invited to go on this chance of a lifetime trip to China, but couldn’t imagine being away from my family for eleven days. I think it was something about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get in my car and drive home if I got truly homesick for my children. Through much prayer and hand holding by my friend Donna, who organized the trip, I finally made the commitment to go! This is Donna at the Great Wall in 2009….
Losing my son in 2009, was the reason I didn’t want to leave my family for this trip, but it was also the reason I was invited on this trip. Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman had lost their beautiful little Maria in an accident and as a tribute to her memory, have partnered with the Chinese government, to build ‘Maria’s Big House of Hope” in her memory. When you lose a child, you are still the parent of that child. They are no long with you but you are still the parent. You have spent their entire life taking care of them, so even after death you have to come to terms with your role. It is my belief that a big part of gaining peace through your grieving is to find a way to continue to parent, through parenting the child’s memory. Some of us establish scholarships, others plant gardens, but being the kind hearted, generous people they are, with amazing vision, The Chapmans, partnered with the Chinese government to create this beautiful orphanage to help children with medical issues in Luoyang , China. My friend, Donna is a friend of Mary Beth’s so Donna told Mary Beth about me and I was invited to China on the next trip. Little did I know that shortly after I would commit to this trip, Donna would also lose her precious, seventeen year old son, Michael. The last time Donna when to Maria’s Big House of Hope, she took Michael with here. This will be a trip filled with many memories for her. She will revisit places that she shared with Michael. We will be in another world, walking together as sisters in grief, missing our boys, but thankful we had them in the first place. Whether you believe there is a plan in place or not, I am here to tell you my friend, there is. There is no way that we could have planned this trip so perfectly. It was planned long before Donna and Mary Beth had lunch that day and thought about who would go on this trip.
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