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God's Tapestry and the Power of Facebook

God amazes me how he weaves tapestry. So many lives and circumstances flowing around day after day and sometimes those threads cross - showcasing how wonderfully in control He truly is.

On Thanksgiving week, Leah Helms was clinging to threads of hope. Hope that her newborn son's heart could be healed. Hope that her broken heart could be healed. Hope to see her other 3 children in Mississippi. Hope that her tears would dry up.

Leah was alone in Washington, DC, and 2000 miles from her family and friends in Brandon, Mississippi. She and her barely month-old son Pierce Allen Helms had been at the National Children's Medical Center since November 1. Doctors there were Pierce's best hope of survival. He was born with congenital aortic stenosis, an abnormal narrowing of his aortic valve.

Yet, none of this tapestry would not have been revealed to Kim and I had work not kept me home and if Leah didn't have such a loving friend in Stephanie Barnes.

Tuesday night, I opted to not be on the road for some after-hour conference calls and remained home. My family and inlaws were meeting for dinner and then going to a Maryland basketball game. However, had I gone the Facebook email that Stephanie, wife of a college friend, would've been seen later that night and perhaps not resolved in the same way.

Stephanie needed help and her husband suggested she contact Kim and I. Phoning the number on her email, Stephanie shared how her friend Leah was alone in DC at a hospital and her purse had been stolen. Everything was in her purse: ID, cash, checks from church members, return plane ticket, digital camera, and more. Only her cell phone remained in her possession. However, Stephanie was uncertain which hospital Leah was at.

Thankfully, I had a former coworker and friend who confirmed she was indeed at Children's and would have concierge services help her in the morning. Also, thankfully, a friend from another church is a nurse at Children's and via Facebook received information about Leah and Pierce, checked on her, and reported back to us that she had visited with her and given Leah her and our phone numbers.

Thanksgiving Eve morning, Kim contacted Leah and that afternoon we brought her lunch, cash, and two bags of various assundries including chapstick, a change purse, camera, snacks, water, and other items to help with her stay.

While visiting with Leah, Kim and I met the Mississippi's First Lady, Marsha Barbour, her son Reeves, and his wife Jackye. Governor Barbour was babysitting his granddaughter in Northern Virginia so these folks could being Leah a replacement driver's license.

Now, let's look at tapestry here. So many different scenarios today require one to have an ID or driver's license. Leah's ID was stolen with her purse. She's 2000 miles from home and uncertain what to do. Her friend Stephanie knows Jackye. Before long, Marsha has made a phone call and she and her husband are flying to DC with the card.

Marsha pondered how many other people might have this very thing happen to them and could have their fears lessened if she only knew about the problem. She dismissed the effort as "just making a phone call" and was glad to have helped.

How many other First Ladies would be so down to earth and real? So willing to help a state resident whom they barely knew? But that's just Mississippi for you. For a state that is raped or forgotten in the press, the people of Mississippi are the kind that will "give the shirt off their back and never expect anything."

Sure, I had my doubts about this whole thing. Someone else surely could help her. It's an hour's drive away. How could she not have access to cash? Is this really on the up-and-up? All the typical human doubts that we have. But that's where discernment and peace kicks in. When God wants you to move, it doesn't matter what the world says about a situation. You move and God blesses you for it.

Look what blessings came from a stolen purse. Leah got a replacement license hand-delivered from Mississippi's First Lady. Leah gained two new friends in Kim and I and we forged a deeper bond with Stephanie and Don Barnes in Mississippi. Leah had her and Pierce's story featured on my old TV station W*USA9 and on, on WLBT in Jackson, and perhaps more. None of this would've happened without that purse disappearing.

Tapestry is a funny thing. Leah could've been in DC two months and only her inner circle of friends and prayer warriors would've known about it. Without me having known Don Barnes in college, and his wife reaching out to us, and me having worked in TV for 10 years, even with a stolen purse her story would not have made the news. And only the Lord knows but one of the many reasons that my family is here in the DC area was to help Leah in her time of need.

One more note of interest, on Pierce's Caringbridge page, Leah shares a verse I claimed many years ago. Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still."

We can never imagine how and when the threads will cross but that's not the point. What matters is if we're willing to be willing. Instead of asking doubting questions, focusing on our own selfish needs and plans, and overall wasting time...will you help someone in their time of need? Will you step past your nose to show the love of Jesus Christ to someone?

Few of us will have a chance to help many people but many of us will have the opportunity to make a difference in one life. For my family, that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

Besides prayer, you can make a donation


KARK Video: Heart Transplant

WJTV Video: Praying For Pierce

WLBT Video: Brandon mother stays with sick son in Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving

WUSA Video: Mom Loses Everything In Children's Hospital Theft

Text: Barbours help Mississippi mom after her purse is stolen

Facebook: Leah Helms

Caringbridge: Pierce Allen Helms


  1. Thank you so much for putting that on there for me. You and your wife have been wonderful. I am so blessed to have met you and for all the things that you have done for me. If there is anyway that you can conect this to my facebook page so that I can share it with friends please pu it on there. I can not access face book from the hospital computer and my cell phone gives me limited sights also. God is good and I will share a story with you and your wife when I see you again. You had mentioned something in your story that reminded me of it.

  2. Hey! This link has been shared via my and Steph's Facebook accounts and Tweeted around the web today. When Kim and I stop by today, we can see what else we can do! :)

  3. This evening, Kim and I had the chance to meet Leah's husband, B.J. It was great meeting not only another Mississippian, someone who knew many of my Class of '91 and about my hometown of Clinton, but also someone who's fought for our country. B.J., like many servicemen lately, did a tour in Iraq. Please remember B.J. and his family daily as they continue this joueney.

  4. Found out Monday evening that Baby Pierce is heading to Arkansas Tuesday morning to wait for a heart transplant. Please continue to pray for this family - mom, dad, 4 kids including Pierce - that He can give them comfort and peace through all of this. May God be glorified through this experience!

  5. Rick- thanks for taking up the cause here; I do not know Leah but I recall her husband, Brad, as he was formerly married to my stepsister. I learned of the situation on Thanksgiving from my family, and though I have not seen him in many years, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to him and the family, and let them all know that each of them are in my prayers on all accounts. Thanks for being such an AWESOME dude, you! Miss ya!!!- Jennifer Scoggins

  6. Jennifer, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Wow, small world, aye? Thanks for the props, sweet friend!

  7. Tonight, the family is in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pierce was transported by plane Tuesday morning 12/2 to await a heart. Please continue to pray for God's Will and Peace for Pierce and his family during this time. Finding a newborn donor heart, as you can imagine, could be difficult but nothing is impossible for God.

  8. Hey Rick and Kim just wanted to let u know that little pierce is on the transplant list . He is hanging in there. I miss you two and the company. Thank you again for what u have done. God is so good even when we do not understand why things are going the way they are. Please continue to pray for strength and for my pierce to receive s new heart.

  9. Leah, we continue to remember you and your family and follow your updates via Facebook and Caringbridge. You and your family will always be special to us. Wish we could be there to support you in person but do know we're thinking and praying for you, BJ, Pierce and his siblings. We love you!


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