Mad for…Joni

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, training them up in God’s fear, minding the house, and making your household a church for God as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of Hosts. -Charles Spurgeon

Her birthday was a couple weeks ago, but I intentionally saved Joni Smith Abdalla to share with you today, on All-Saints Day. Joni is the mother of a big, joyful, messy, imperfect, beautiful group of faith-filled children. Physically, Joni is a stunner. She’s incredibly gorgeous, but what’s much more impressive to me is her spectacular heart which positively radiates the love of the Lord.

I’ve only met Joni briefly a few times, but I’ve been watching her from nearby, and I’ve got to tell you, she blows me away. Instead of excessively swooning about her, I’d like to share with you a tiny glimpse of how she lives her life every single day. She posted this the day after her birthday.

Yesterday was truly the perfect birthday. Thanks to all of you for reaching out. The boys and I went shopping on Saturday to purchase things for the homeless. We assembled 60 bags to distribute yesterday. The highlight of our shopping trip to Walmart was the two employees who helped us find the items for our bags. One of the employees walked up to me and handed me a twenty dollar bill as her personal contribution to our purchase! I was blown away by her incredible generosity. After mass and brunch we headed downtown to deliver the bags. There is truly no other way I would want to spend my birthday than loving on others with my family. My heart was so full looking around seeing my kids engaging, serving and loving others. The takeaways for my kids were: that every person is important and deserves unconditional love, that a smile and conversation can make people feel better, that when we are tempted to complain about something, to realize that we have all that we need and that so many others live without. To whom much is given much will be expected (Lk. 12:48). We ended the day with a delicious meal and lots of heartfelt, handmade gifts from my children. Truly such a lovely day.

You’re following me now, right? Here’s my point. Joni Abdalla is a woman who knows that the souls of her children are in her hands. She takes time to teach them to love the Lord and others. Her priorities are on things that truly matter. I think she’s a living saint, raising the next generation of saints….and I wanted you to see her light. It shines incredibly bright. There’s so much more I could share about her because the story of (what little) I know of her life that I haven’t shared here is unbelievably compelling.

Instead, I just offer her to you as a beautiful example of someone who gets it right, and when she doesn’t she just keeps doing her level best to glorify the Lord the next day. I wish I could remember which saint said it and the exact words they used, but it went something like this…sometimes the greatest gift we can give God isn’t something we do, but someone we raise. Thank you, Joni, for the curious, optimistic, joyful and faith-filled woman that you are. Your example inspires me and gives me SO MUCH HOPE!

HAPPY ALL SAINTS DAY, EVERYONE!! #WhoAreYourFavoriteSaints

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel…pray for us!

St. Michael the Archangel…pray for us!

St. Therese of Lisieux…pray for us!

St. Louis de Montfort…pray for us!

St. Padre Pio…pray for us!

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