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God Doesn’t Always Give Us the Answers We Want: Finding Faith in God’s Bigger Picture



Today we are going to be talking about the story behind a very impactful ministry called, Love You More Bracelets, and how a life changing event helped one family learn more about the Lord's promises for us, how to rest in His peace and to continue a legacy through colorful acts of kindness. Our guests today, Mike and Michele Coletta from Love You More Bracelets, will be talking about their ministry inspired by their daughter, Makayla and their journey in helping others, but first, a word from our sponsor.



Mentor Mama:

Mike and Michele Coletta are a homeschool family from Wadsworth, Illinois. It was during an unexpected cancer diagnosis of their oldest daughter, Makayla that their comfortable lives changed as they stepped into unfamiliar territory through doctor's visits, test results and disappointment they learned to trust God on a whole new level. Through heartache and pain, they realized that God does not always answer our prayers the way we think He should. They did, however, learn that His promises are true; we just need to be still and obey. They have learned firsthand through the Word to see light in the darkness.


Mentor Mama:

Thank you so much for being here today.


Mike & Michele Coletta:

Thank you for having us. It's great to be here.


Mentor Mama:

You know, I have had the privilege of meeting Michele in person at our mom's group ministry. And it was hearing your story firsthand that I just knew right then and there that I wanted to share with the Coffee and Bible Time community. What you both have endured is not what any parent would want to go through, but just in hearing your story and just learning that when you're grounded in your faith, when you can attempt to see God's bigger picture and trust in His promise of life everlasting, that you realize God's grace can and does see you through. Why don't we just start out by having you tell us about your family and Makayla and the story behind what changed your path of life?


Michele Coletta:

We are a family of five and we homeschool. We're a homeschool family and business owners. Our youngest son, his name is Christian, and he's nine and Isabella is our middle child and she's 11 soon to be 12. And, our eldest daughter, whom is the person that we are here to talk about today is Makayla, and she would be 13 right now. Makayla was our first born and simply just the most delightful child we could have ever been blessed with as new parents. She was just the sweetest, little girl, loving and caring, giving, and just a joy to be around. I never really had to discipline Makayla. She just got it. You know, she just got rules and she knew how to obey. We called her wise beyond years, at like four. She was just my biggest helper, my biggest cheerleader, and the one that would come sit next to you and just want to hug you and want to talk to you. She just was so easy to be honest, and we just loved her so much.


Mike Coletta:

I considered Makayla kind of a daddy's girl. Often, I'd be coming home from work and she'd call me and come out on the front porch and wait for me to pull in. And she would be waving with a big smile, run up to my car and give me a big hug. A lot of times she called me at work just to see how I'm doing, when I'd be home from work. And no matter how busy I was, I would always make sure that I'd take that call because she just had that loving enduring kind of personality that you just enjoyed being around. And so it was always a joy. It never felt like, I'm tired or I don't have time, I always made time for her. But in April of 2019, everything kind of changed in our life. We, consider ourselves very blessed, with health and we were doing well in our careers, but Makayla came to us in April and said, "I have a little pain in my side," and we didn't think much of it; we thought maybe she just pulled a muscle, and then later that afternoon she developed a fever and started saying it was hurting worse. So we decided, let's take her to the doctor, and they ended up ordering a CT scan and about midnight, the doctors came in and told us that we found a mass, we need to leave by ambulance right now to Chicago and she needs to have this removed and the hospital that we're taking you to has a good oncology department. So we went from literally thinking maybe the worst, her appendix, to possibly a cancer diagnosis. So this totally catapulted us in a different direction. The next day she had surgery and they diagnosed her with stage three cancer. While the original report was very optimistic, I remember one of the first conversations with the oncologist was, you're very fortunate that your daughter has this type of cancer because it's very treatable and she should be done with treatment in six months, and it should never come back. And so we left feeling very optimistic that, okay, this is going to be really hard, but in no way did we think it was going to be something that could take her. So, in a few days after the surgery, a couple weeks later, she started radiation and then started her treatment plan of chemo, and after the first scan, there was some spots in the lungs that appeared and they weren't a hundred percent sure at that point if that was cancer. But then the second scan that we had six weeks later showed that there definitely was progression. So we decided we needed to change hospitals and go to a larger cancer center, so we did that and Makayla started the hardest chemo you can do. It was three drugs a day for five days straight, you stay in the hospital, and then pretty much at that point we were living at the hospital because her counts would drop and we couldn't leave. So they had to keep her pumped with antibiotics to make sure that she didn't get an infection. And, that just changed everything.


Mentor Mama:

In the middle of going back and forth to the hospital, Makayla had said that she wanted to go to church. Tell us about that and the blessing that came out of that.


Mike Coletta:

That was a cool, experience. And in fact, this is the reason that Love You More Bracelets exist is this connection. So we went to church and normally Makayla and prior to her diagnosis would go to Sunday school, but she wanted to sit with Michele and I, so we were excited for that, of course we wanted her right next to us all the time, but, that week IREF was there. So, IREF is an organization it's- India Rural Evangelical Fellowship. And, it's an orphanage in India and they were doing a presentation, a man named Tre Moore, the Director of IREF was there and talking about this organization. And so Makayla and I, and Michele were all moved by the presentation. You know, there's over 2000 students that attend this orphanage, some live there and some don't; they come for the day, but they are all fed, clothed, medical care is taken care of, and what's unique is IREF teaches them the Gospel. So in India, many of the people do not believe in Jesus. I have heard statistics that over 70 million people in India cannot write or read, and so, they don't have the opportunities like we do here in the States. So after the presentation, Makayla leaned over and told us that she wanted to give her allowance money to the kids at IREF and that was just like her, she always thought of others. I'm like, are you sure you want to give all of it to them? And she said, "yes, I do." So, on our way out of church, some elders had pulled us aside, Michele and I, and asked us, hey, how is Makayla doing? So we told them that, unfortunately the last couple scans did not go our way. And, we really need to see a miracle and we're kind of running out of options. So, they said well, we're going to reach out to some people and we're going to get some prayer going for Makayla. So, unbeknownst to us they knew Tre and knew that Tre had seen some amazing healings in India. So, Tre had texted me a couple days later and said, I heard about your daughter's condition, and I'd love to come over and meet her and pray for her, and it was kind of funny because I said, well, actually Makayla wants to meet you too because she has some money that she wants to give to your organization. So within a couple weeks, Tre was at our house.


Michele Coletta:

So you can imagine Makayla being so excited. I think it was about a week later, Tre Moore was at our house, sitting in our living room and Makayla was able to actually hand over her allowance to Tre, and she was so excited because she knew where that money was going. Like these kids needed it the most, so she was so excited and then Tre, of course, prayed for Makayla, which was just a sweet prayer. We were all in the room, all five of us plus Tre, so that was just a wonderful experience for us to have as a family, and when you're going through that, it just means the world to you when someone comes over and just says, I want to pray for your daughter. So it was just very heartwarming and touching. But you know, in the conversation with Tre, he went on to say all of these wonderful things about IREF and the culture there, especially with the kids and the women, they love to wear colorful things and outfits and jewelry, so I think that was like ding, ding, ding for Makayla. She was making bracelets at that time in the hospital and she learned to make beautiful beaded bracelets in her downtime, and so she had a collection of them sitting in her room, so she went straight to her room and grabbed like a handful of them and put them in a bag and handed that over as well to Tre and said, I want you to give these to the children. I want them to have them. So Tre's like, absolutely, I'm actually going there in six weeks so, I'll hand them over myself. And so that gave us the idea of, well, let's make more because if he is going, and can carry small, little packages of bracelets, let's make a night of it and make more. So that's what we did. We spent an evening as a family and made probably another couple dozen of bracelets, and I remember that night, it was fun and like we were laughing and it was the first time in a long time Makayla actually had fun and laughed with her family making these bracelets because she knew where they were going. She loved doing things for people. She loved baking. She loved making gifts. That was her heart's desire is to make something for everybody, especially for holidays. She wanted to know what color was their favorite and what size were they and what were their interests? I want to make it for them. And so that was one part of the Love You More Bracelets, the idea was that we wanted that to be a part of everyone else's experience that they have fun.


Mentor Mama:

Yes, and it's just so beautiful that everything that she was going through herself, she was thinking of others, and those children and the orphanage and just how God orchestrated you being in that church service at that time.


Mike Coletta:

We look back at that time and still are in awe of how it all came together. We were just talking about it the other day that, had we not gone to church that day first off, or if Makayla didn't sit with us and be moved by the presentation, and if the elder of the church didn't reach out to Tre, none of this would've all came together and it all did seamlessly, and I think the other thing that's beautiful is, I think a lot of times as people or Christians, we wait for everything to be kind of lined up in our life for us to step out and help others, and Makayla was a true testimony to, you don't need to wait, you can do simple things for people, no matter what your circumstance is. You don't have to wait for enough money in the bank account. You don't have to wait for everybody's to be at a good place in your life. You can step out and help even in the simplest way, and that's what she taught us. She taught us to do that because we could have easily said, well, you know, helping another organization right now, we can't really fit that in amongst cancer treatment, but it was in her heart. She knew she could do something and she did it, and that's been a beautiful thing.


Mentor Mama:

Yeah, she's amazing.



Mentor Mama:

Tell us about what was the next step in treatment at this point?


Mike Coletta:

After that fun day, Makayla had to go back and start treatment again and the next couple rounds of treatment, she tolerated them well, but the next scan that came back, wasn't good. And then just after Christmas they ordered another CT scan and this one was kind of a big deal, and it didn't go good. So, we sat down with the doctors after the scan, fortunately they waited until after Christmas. We had an amazing Christmas with Makayla, and they said the cancer is spread throughout her body, and that there's no other option that we would want to try, that anything known to work we've tried and it's not working, and so take her home. So we did, we took her home.


Mentor Mama:

What was going through your mind when you heard the doctor's report?


Michele Coletta:

Honestly, I was saying, that's not true. God's bigger than this. That's honestly what was going through my mind apart from the hurt, and that report is really hard to hear. I was more reflecting of, that's not my God, that's not what He does, because we were on the path of, He's going to heal her, and you guys just sit back and watch, that honestly was going through my mind and then when we get home, it was a different story.


Mike Coletta:

Yeah. I think the car ride, was probably the hardest because Makayla wanted to know what the scan said, and so we're trying to process this because literally they sat us down a room apart and said, you know, all what they said. So we get in the car and Makayla's like, so how'd it go? You know, how's the scan, what's the results? And all we told her was, Makayla, it didn't go good, and so she didn't ask anymore questions. It's almost like that was what she needed to know and all she wanted to know. And honestly, Michele and I didn't even have a chance to talk about it because literally we had to walk from one room to the next, get her and take her to the car and take her home. So we got home and I think that's when reality set and (we began to question) like what is going on? What do we do now? What does this look like? In some regards we were relieved because Makayla, towards the end, hated being at the hospital. I mean, you're confined to one room, she's hooked up to machines. She didn't want to be there and we didn't want to be there, but we knew we had to do this. And so, I feel like there was some relief in the sense that she doesn't have to go back there, she doesn't have to have any more pokes, she doesn't have to have any more scans or transfusions or anything else. And so, I think that was kind of a relief, but we weren't thinking we were there. We just thought, okay, if this round doesn't work, they're going to come up with something else. Like we didn't realize we were at that end.


Mentor Mama:

Michele, you had shared a story with me that was so heart touching, I was wondering if you'd be willing to share about after Makayla passed.


Michele Coletta:

Bella's dream. So, Bella and Makayla were best friends; they did everything together. They would sleep in the same room. Although they had their separate rooms, they would sleep in the same room every single night and have their sleepovers, and they just got along so well. So the day that Mikayla passed, it was a sudden thing. We weren't expecting the Lord to take her. So, after coming home from the hospital and all of that traumatic experience, was we had to sit Bella and Christian down and say, Makayla's not coming home, she passed away. So that was really hard for Bella to hear because she woke up with Mikayla. Mikayla was here and now she's not. And all of these prayers that we're saying about healing and you know, Mikayla's going to be better, and the Lord loves us; which is all still true. Bella was very mad that night and she started screaming and yelling all of these things like, God, you didn't let me say goodbye to my sister, and you said you were going to heal her and you didn't. And other things that came out of her mouth, which are just so honest that she was so heartbroken; she was angry. And, we had never seen her like that before.


Mike Coletta:

No, that's not how Bella is.


Michele Coletta:

Bella is quiet and sweet, but she's not angry. So we couldn't say much, other than Mikayla's with Jesus, and that's a good thing. She's healed. She's finally got her healing; it's just not here. So we went to bed that night. We all slept in our room because we didn't want to be apart from each other. So Bella and Christian slept on a mat in our room and we have a first floor master in our home. So we're a room away from the kitchen, and so the next morning, as tough as it was to get up, we were all sitting around, I think we were on the front porch, and Bella just kind of, I think she was kind of like making circles on the ground or just making a drawing. And she goes, I had a dream about Mikayla last night and I said, really what was it? And she goes, well, I got up out of bed and I started to walk towards the kitchen and I looked towards the front door and I saw Makayla and she had long hair and she was wearing a pretty white gown, and she had almost like a belt around her and she was wearing sandals and she also was wearing all like flowers on her head, like a crown, but it wasn't a crown like a princess would wear, it was a crown that laid flat like a wreath, and it was pretty flowers, mom, it was white flowers and there was gold. She was very specific about that; there was gold in there, mom, because it was really sparkly and pretty. And I was like, oh my gosh, that's wonderful, Bella, and then she said that Makayla walked up to her and gave her a hug, and I was like, oh my gosh, Bella, that's wonderful. How do you feel? And she goes, but wait, she was holding a man's hand, and I thought immediately, oh, that must have been daddy. And I said, well, who is the man? She goes, well, I don't know. I couldn't see him because he was so bright. His face was glowing. And he too, was wearing like a white gown and like a belt around himself. But I couldn't see his face because it was almost like a bluish, like bright, white color. And I was like, oh my gosh, Bella, I think that was Jesus. I think Jesus brought Makayla to you, and gave you that gift of saying goodbye. And afterward the Lord has just brought Scripture after Scripture of how we look in glory, how we're dressed and how we are given a crown that we throw at His feet, and also how when Jesus transfigures Himself, this is the glory that you see, and Bella never knew any of that. You know, we go to church and she knows the Bible stories, but she never knew any of those little details. So, when the Lord revealed these Scriptures to me, I was just in awe and I had to be in such praise and thankfulness that God showed that to Bella, and it was real. I mean, it was like, it was such a vision for Bella to hold onto, that we latch on, and we can envision as well and it has brought us so much peace. So that day that Bella told me the dream I had her draw what she saw, so she drew the dress with the crown and the little slippers. And it's just so precious because we believe that Bella was completely healed of her hurt because of that vision, and that dream. Because even in the vision, she was wearing the same PJs, she went to bed and she said it was almost like, it wasn't a dream, it was actually A vision because Jesus was here and Makayla was here . That veil was was lifted so Bella could see that.


Mentor Mama:

Without a doubt. It's incredible, and so beautiful. It shows how much Jesus loves us and loves Bella. Tell us about what you've learned about yourself during and after and on this journey.


Mike Coletta:

For me, there's so much we learned, and we're still in a sense, peeling back the layers of what we learned through this, but I think one thing I learned is I had a lot of pride that I didn't even know I had. As a business owner, I started a company when I was really young, so I have been in a lot of situations and experienced a lot of different things. And you know, over the years, you always have a plan and you have a plan B and a plan C and you always come up with a resolution to a concern or a problem. But when Makayla got sick, initially I treated it like I do everything else, you know, weigh our options and try to gather up as much information as you can to make good decisions, and we did all that, and no matter how hard I tried, we couldn't find a solution. There was a point where I had six hospitals across the U.S. looking into Makayla's case, trying to get some kind of other solution. We were praying, we looked into all sorts of different types of prayer, just trying to find something, just grabbing it, anything that seemed to make sense, and I couldn't get it done, and I think after Makayla passed, I really felt like it wasn't my job, that nothing I could have done, would've changed the outcome. That was really hard at first to realize, but the more I kind of let go and really just give it to God, and I mean that in the truest form, just literally give it to God because you know, people will say that, and I think it's almost a cliché at times for people, like, oh, I'm going to give this to God, but then you're still doing what you do need to do behind the scenes and thinking it's going to move God in some way. But truly giving it to Him and understanding that, I am not in control. I am completely not in control of this. I can do my part as a dad. I can do my part as the caretaker of her, but after that, it's up to Him. I think also we learned that she's not ours; she's His, and we've been blessed to take care of her as parents, but ultimately she's His, and that's a hard thing to let go of because she was so good and she was perfect in our eyes. Just submitting and learning to submit.


Michele Coletta:

I think what I've learned about myself throughout this whole journey is that I didn't know God to be God the way that He is now. I just thought that God; He's always there, and, yes, He knows me and He loves me, but I can't access Him like an actual person. So this journey has really brought me into diving into more seeking Him more deeply, and knowing that His word is true and alive and that He's always here and He does want to hear from me. He wants me to talk to Him and He wants me to worship Him, and that's part of why He created me. And there's so many good things that He did put inside me, that I should love myself and I never did. My perspective of Him is so much more raw and deeper, and that's truly what I've learned and, you know, He has our daughter and I, of course I want to know what she's doing. I want to know more about Heaven. I want to know all these things, and so I've got my hands on a lot of good books and that wasn't me prior to this.


Mentor Mama:

That's beautiful. And, clearly God has been at work in both of your lives in a mighty way, walking with you every step of the way on this journey. Now I want you to talk about your non-profit organization you've started called, Love You More Bracelets in honor of Makayla. Tell us about that.



Mike Coletta:

A few months after Makayla passed, Michele and I decided that we really need to continue what we experienced that night when Tre came over and prayed for Makayla and we got to build bracelets as a family. We just had such a good time in it. We just kept going back to that and saying, if Makayla was here we'd be building more bracelets. I know she would love to see that and continue that. And so, that's what really sparked this idea that, okay, she's not here with us, but she's definitely with us and we wanted to continue that experience so, that's what started Love You More Bracelets. And so what it is is, we're a 501c3 organization and we build kits, and it's everything you need to build seven bracelets and then the kit that you get will have all the contents you need to do that. Also in the kit, there's information about Makayla and the connection between Makayla and IREF and why we're helping IREF, and then there's information about IREF, as well. So you, as a family, will build these bracelets and then you ship them to us, and then we send them off every quarter to India and all the proceeds go to benefit these kids. Also, they get the bracelets, which is amazing, because they love it when they know that they're coming. They get very excited and they're lining up waiting for these bracelets to get to their village. It's a combination of that, but it's also, then you get to spend time with your family, and Michele can talk to you more about how church ministries have reached out to us and moms groups and children's ministries of churches have done this, and they just all report back how much fun they had building these bracelets and it's just bringing the community together.


Michele Coletta:

I think since we've started this, it's almost been a year, I've been in contact with a few ministries at church that have just latched onto the meaning behind it and the whole process of it. They just find it fun and they find it just wonderful how they can participate to keep Makayla's honor alive and her story alive. And, we've met a lot of great people like you, Ellen, that's how I met you, Ellen. And, I'm so thankful for that day. The Lord just keeps on blessing us with different avenues of experiences and divine appointments, really are what they are, because we were able to meet a lot of great people that are just so supportive and understanding. So we are welcoming more of that and we pray that the Lord brings us into more of that, because it is Makayla's heart that we want to keep alive, and also to benefit the orphanage there in India where her heart was also.


Mentor Mama:

It's absolutely an incredible thing in so many ways, just to share with our listeners, or mom's groups. So you get like a box that has the kit with the beads and the string that you make the bracelets with, and you can sit together with your group and make these bracelets. And there's joy in doing that together. There's joy in learning about Makayla's story and how God has used His transforming power to make an impact on IREF and these kids that are in the orphanage. And like you said, the colorful bracelets that brighten their lives and then also the sharing of the Gospel message, which is invaluable. It's just amazing how, all of what Makayla has done has fueled the sharing of the Gospel to hundreds of children, probably thousands, and it's just going to keep on growing. So how can people help support Love You More Bracelets and where can people locate them?


Mike Coletta:

We have a website we just officially launched a month ago. It's www.loveyoumorebracelets.com. And on there, you're going to find a lot of information about the story behind Love You More Bracelets and a lot of information on IREF and the impact that Love You More Bracelets has on on the children there. You'll also see a lot of pictures of Makayla and the bracelets being built. We have an amazing team of volunteers, so all the kits are handmade first off, so we don't buy them in bulk and things like that, we're hand-making every single kit in our basement, so very ground level, but we will get 20, 30 volunteers at each of these box building get togethers; and we have fun. We'll throw on music, the kids will be running around. In fact, the kids are probably more productive than the adults, so it's pretty funny. Actually we joke, because at first we thought the kids would not really get involved, but I think that adults do more talking.


Michele Coletta:

The kids are faster because adults like to talk, but they're all handmade with love in our basement. And so we have our website and we also have an Instagram channel, it's Love You More Bracelets, so you can find us there too. If you're not on social media, the website is universal for everybody to find us and there you can get kits and we also have merchandise now. We have a logo that is a butterfly, and so we have little merchandise that if you want to purchase something, that also supports our organization and those proceeds as well will go to the children at IREF and we have a beanie, we have a pop socket and a journal.


Mike Coletta:

The journal is really nice. Very nice.


Michele Coletta:

And we also have handmade bracelets that you could purchase and just keep for yourself that you can buy them separately, and there's also different packages that can buy. It's all on our shop on the website. So that's how you could locate us and support us and we would greatly appreciate it.


Mike Coletta:

We package everything too. So if you want to give it as a gift, you can do that. And we've had church ministries buy 20 boxes so they can pass them out at their church, so there's a lot of opportunities to help, so you don't have to build bracelets if you don't want to, but we would encourage you to do it because we've had fun every time we've done it.


Mentor Mama:

I just want to encourage all of our listeners, please check out their website, help support the Love You More Bracelets and in doing so, it's honoring Makayla, the beautiful life and sweet girl that she is. And also just helping IREF in the orphanage there. So check that out. Before we go, I just wanted to ask you real quick, our normal three questions and especially, just because I know God's word has really sustained you through all of this, what Bible you use and what translation it is.


Michele Coletta:

So I'm currently using the Inspire Praise Bible. It's a Bible for coloring and creative journaling, actually. It's the NLT version and it's just every page or not maybe every page, but every other page has a little picture that you can color with pencils. That's what I highly suggest if this Bible is for you, and you purchase it to have colored pencils because they don't bleed through the pages. It's definitely a Bible for those that need to journal as they visit the Lord and read his Word, or just have a therapeutic thing to do with their hands and coloring and just make it your own design and colors. And all the pictures really do reflect the verse of what it is relating to. So it's been fun for me and I think they come in purple or blue color Bibles.


Mentor Mama:

Do you have any other favorite journaling supplies that you like to use?


Michele Coletta:

I like the colored pencils and then I do have these little thin pens. I don't remember the name, but they're felt tip and they're fine for my journal, I don't really write with them in my Bible, but I do like those for my journal.


Mentor Mama:

Lastly, what is your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?


Mike Coletta:

For me, I use the YouVersion App.


Michele Coletta:

Yes, we both do.


Mike Coletta:

I really like that just because you usually have your phone with you and I like the Bible plans. Then just having the Word at your fingertips anytime and you can save various Scriptures. A lot of times I do screenshots of various Scriptures just so I can scroll back and look at them and meditate on them. But I like it because in between coming and going, you can always have that instead of jumping on other things. You can you have that at your fingertips.


Mentor Mama:

Yes. That's a great suggestion. I never thought of taking a screenshot of your verse. That's a great idea. Well, Mike and Michele, thank you so much for being here to share your amazing story of Makayla, how she's inspired the Love You More Bracelets. it's just been a joy to meet you and just to continue in the conversation and I just want you to know too that I know there are people out there listening that very well could be going through the same, difficult, challenging situation that you've had to go through. And I know it will be just so much of an encouragement to those people. And again, just how you have clung to God's Word and your faith has really seen you through. So thank you so much for being willing to share.


Michele Coletta:

Thank you for having us on and letting us share our story. And there's so much to say, and I think the Lord uses us in ways, like you just said that people can latch onto and that need to hear it. So we're always welcome to share what we have gone through. So thank you for the opportunity. Thank you.


Mentor Mama:

Yes. You're most welcome. To our readers, you can find the links to everything that we talked about here today throughout this blog post. You can also also head over to our YouTube channel where we will also be posting this as a video, and you can share comments on this episode with us there as well. And finally head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. Thank you so much for joining us today on our blog. We love you all have a blessed day.







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