7.02.2017

dear anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Your kindness has overwhelmed me. Through the memorial fund and through raising money for tuition, you have blessed me with thousands of dollars, literally thousands. I am staggered by you. 

I want to, as personally as I can, thank you for your incredible generosity. Whether your gift was $5 or $1,000, your initiative and desire to go above and beyond to help me has made such a huge impact on me. 

Jesus said, "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6) I never put myself in the "needy" category before, and compared to many, many people all over the world, I am not needy at all. But I do need help to keep on the track that God has been leading me on, especially returning to school in the fall. You saw my need and stepped up, even knowing I might never know who you are. 

I started off this year in Hebrew class studying Isaiah 1, and put to memory the central theme of the chapter (and the book): cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, please the widow's cause. It wasn't until we were preparing the Scripture reading for Dad's memorial service that I suddenly realized that I am fatherless. Never without my heavenly Father, but without my earthly one. But before I had realized this, you had. Before I could begin to fathom the depths of change that would have to happen in my life, you were already stepping up to minimize those changes. 

Your gifts have blessed me in so many ways. 

First, to help me return to school means that I will be able to keep pursuing the path that I have been following God on for years now, to work in translation of the Bible and literacy among unreached people groups. And while taking a year off to earn money was an option, I was also blessed to be given the role of RA (Resident Assistant) at school this year, a leadership position that I have been so excited about for months because I will get a front seat to see what God is doing at Trinity Western University as I invest in a dorm of girls. I'm so eager to fulfill this role. 

Also, your gifts mean that I can step back from 60+ hours of work each week and just work one job. This means I have time to spend the evenings with my family, which is such a gift. During the day, it still just feels like Dad is at work. Mornings and evenings it is especially apparent that he's not here with us, and I'm so grateful to be able to be with my family during the evenings. Working just one job means that I have time to take a class online this summer so I can drop one in the fall, giving myself a lighter workload at school this coming semester. I'll be able to take a bit more time to rest, think, cry, pray, and do whatever I need to do as I process this loss. 

One of the most significant ways your gift has impacted me is simply in how I view everyone around me. I know I am not alone - so far from it! Because of your anonymity, everyone could be you. I have a beautiful debt of gratitude to unknown people, which means the way I view each person I meet has changed. Instead of seeming like "Anonymous" is a blur of no one, I feel like everyone I know has stepped up to say, "We're here for you." It's a little scary to think This coworker I'm standing next to might have given me $200, or to think, This friend I haven't texted back might have donated their own money to me. It's scary, but I know I can trust you. 

You have likely prayed that I would feel the love of my heavenly Father, feel his arms around me. I do. And you have been such a huge part of that. This blog post is just words, just the beginning of expressing my thankfulness. Thank you for coming forward to do what my Dad would have done. Our Father in heaven will reward you where I never could. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Love, 

Shelby 

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