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A Journey of 20 Pins by Amanda Barbour
I strive to love intentionally. Audrey’s life – her gigantic smile, infectious spirit and uninhibited hugs and I love yous – inspired me to love even bigger.
Back in September 2018, I bought 20 pairs of red glasses pins. I wanted to focus on seeing the bold love in others. I decided I would write down the stories of giving these 20 pins away.
First, I gave one to my soon to be husband, Steven. I experience his love for me daily. I wanted to recognize that I will try my best to put my love for him first – to affirm him and see his love first. A couple days later I was having coffee with my prior boss Peter and gave him two pins. He was inspired by Audrey’s story and wanted to pin someone he saw loving boldly.
I gifted pins 4 and 5 to Ken and Edie, a couple who generously share their wisdom with me. They know Audrey, but it was a way for me to thank them for their bold love of the Children’s Healing Center and so many other organizations.
A couple weeks in to my RGM journey, it became more of a challenge. I thought about giving pins a few times and held back. I was not living into my boldness and I was disappointed in myself.
Mid-November I met a new friend in Ann Arbor. As she told her story of living life after her son Chad passed away, I knew deep inside I needed to give her a pin and share about Audrey. I hesitated, but worked up the courage. In a divine intervention, she happened to be leaving our meeting to see a friend who lost her daughter to Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Her friend’s daughter would have been 15 on that day. So, I gave another pin to pass on. I hoped this interaction would help me be bold in pinning more people.
I gave two pins to my friends Lydia and Adam and we talked about Audrey. We talked about the importance of speaking to who a person is becoming. This could be another way to use Audrey’s pins to express love.
Even still, I struggled seeing others love boldly and sharing red glasses pins. In December I headed to meet a mentor for coffee and on my drive, I thought about giving her a pin to acknowledge her kind heart. I put the pin in the front of my bag. Which I then forgot about until I returned to my car after coffee.
As I looked at the pin, and the others in my purse, I felt like I was failing. It had been months and I had given out less than 10 pins. I was doing a horrible job at seeing the bold love in my life. I wasn’t passing on Audrey’s legacy.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve. When I greeted my parents, I noticed my dad was wearing a pin – like he always does. After dinner, I watched him share Audrey’s story and give his pin to my cousin Bethany. She is a hospice chaplain – definitely worthy of being pinned.
My dad, who only knew Audrey briefly, was doing so much better than me at sharing pins. At first, I was frustrated. Then, in that moment, I realized I had it all wrong. My journey of 20 RGM pins wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about me giving pins for bold love. It wasn’t about me sharing love through her pins.
Audrey was leading me to see the person who loves more boldly than anyone I know, my dad. My dad, who shares love daily by helping people. Who gets immense joy from fixing things for people, creating things for people. Who quietly loves without recognition. Who has dedicated his life to service. Who shares about the Center and Audrey’s story to anyone who will listen.
This recent Facebook post is an example.
I often don’t acknowledge the blessing my dad is to me and so many people. Audrey helped me put this into words.
Audrey is working from heaven in mighty ways. They might not always look like how we expect them. But she is pushing us to love bolder and live bigger. I will continue to pass out pins, give myself grace for the slow pace, and stay close to the extra big love happening all around me.