God gave me the strength to be brave – even if that means processing it five years later. During the summer of 2011, I worked at a summer camp called Winshape Camps. I had a camper during one of
my weeks, let's call him Johnnie, who effected me without even knowing it in the moment. I felt hopeless but offered the only thing I could in the moment – a Bible and God’s love.
Five weeks later I was told I had a birth defect and there was fluid backed up in my spinal cord. I never had time to process the full effect Johnnie had on me. I never processed camp, or brain surgery because I went straight to complete my junior year at Liberty University. I met my now husband the first week of my junior year so I continued building new relationships, finishing school, and being brave for myself and my family through brain surgery. I’ve been brave praying that Johnnie knows his heavenly Father is fighting for him even though it might seem like no one is fighting for him here on earth.
I didn’t realize I had all these emotions still inside of me until this past weekend. I went home to visit family in Virginia and had two Noonday Collection trunk shows. One was for my wedding florist, Karen, who I hadn't known before my wedding. It was so special to see how our friendship has grown. The second was with a family friend who I went to church with since the 5th with her trunk show. She wanted to bring women together for good and continue building the new relationships she was forming. I shared the story of Noonday and how it creates economic opportunity for the vulnerable. I also shared how it was created when Jessica, the founder of Noonday, needed to raise money for the adoption of her son, Jack, and to bring him home from Rwanda.
(Noonday's fearless leader, Jessica Honegger)
Two women had some questions and were asking how I got involved with Noonday. I shared that I found Noonday at a trivia night here in St. Louis and was immediately drawn to the beautiful jewelry and the mission behind it helping men and women all over the world through our purchases. And then, I was asked the question that awoke everything inside of me. “But Brooke, what is your “why”? Why do YOU do Noonday?” quivering no matter how hard you try. All the emotions of being brave for Johnnie, for brain surgery, for being determined to finish college on time no matter what all flooded out. I knew why I was so drawn to the adoption fundraising that is apart of Noonday’s story: Johnnie. The 4th grade boy who I had in my group at Winshape Camps when I was a counselor 5 years ago. Johnnie shared with me that he lived in a boys’ home where he experienced way more horrible things than any child should. His story makes you just want to adopt him and every other child without a home. Every child deserves a home. Every child deserves to be loved and to be loved well. I loved how she chose to be intentional I just started bawling. The ugly cry where your lip can’t stop quivering no matter how hard you try.
But, that’s not the case with so many children. So, I say all that to say, my “why” of doing Noonday is for Johnnie. My husband and I,feel led to adopt and we love that Noonday’s mission is to bring forever families together. So, when you partner with Noonday and me to host a trunk show, you are fighting for our artisans’ families who need a constant income to keep their family together and you are fighting to bring a child home for an ambassador’s family. You are a huge part of bringing forever families together.
I’m so grateful for Jessica and her bravery. I’m so grateful she listened to God’s call on her life to continue selling the beautiful jewelry that brought her son, Jack, home. Her “yes” created Noonday and all the amazing things that accompany it. I love being a part of the group of ambassadors who either have, are in the process of, or are praying about adoption. It’s a group I’m blessed to be apart of this sisterhood with them. Everyday we encourage each other to keep going and to continue on this path because of the artisans. I’m so grateful for opportunities and moments like this that
change you forever. These are moments when you know God is alive and moving. It’s so easy to doubt God but this weekend I was gently reminded, that he is for you, is fighting for you, and you just have to trust him.
(Some of my Ambassador Sisters & Jessica Honegger, founder of Noonday (middle)