A Lesson from Love

Seeds of Faith Team MemberI thought I’d take a break from the chapter-by-chapter discussion of Vicki Courtney’s 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter this week in lieu of some Christmas encouragement. The coming chapter is a little heavy, and since I’ve spent the last two days wrapping presents and packing boxes, driving through the snow and ice to the post office while listening to Christmas carols, and enjoying the increased excitement as the days ’til Christmas are counted off one-by-one, I thought I’d take a break from heavy for a minute.

As I explained on my blog last week, I’ve been having a hard time this Christmas. We just celebrated my husband’s birthday with him being gone from home for the third year in a row, and now we’re facing another Christmas with him still in Afghanistan. I battle the desire to go to a corner and just cry at the unfairness of it all. Every day I have to intentionally put my chin up and pray for good cheer.

Wednesday morning, I was feeling really sorry for myself. Wednesday is my day to volunteer and cook at the soup kitchen, which normally is so fulfilling to me, but that day was the day before Gregg’s birthday and I was dwelling on it. That afternoon, a young wife and mother came into the dining room to eat.

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She comes every day with her 3-year-old and now 1-month-old. The last time I was there, she had looked so worn down – like someone had pulled her plug. I’d been keeping an eye out for her to come back in so I could ask her if she had help, try to get her address so I could maybe go clean or do laundry for her. So, I was excited to see her and warmly greeted her. While I was dishing up her plate and her little boy’s plate, she asked about being part of the church’s angel tree.

I do not attend the church that runs the soup kitchen, so I left the kitchen to find the woman who runs the kitchen and does attend there. She was in the dining room talking to someone else. She informed us that the angel tree had already happened. Then the young woman said that in the weeks leading up to her birth and the three weeks following the birth of her daughter, she had forgotten to get put on any community help lists for Christmas. She said that they had no income, three children, and a mother-in-law who was dying of breast cancer.

Gregg and I try to do as much as possible to meet a need when we see a need. Despite just about reaching the limits of what I could give this month, I felt compelled to get her information, thinking that I could get a toy or two if nothing else. Doing so, I discovered that she also had a 6-year-old daughter, and that she and her husband lived in government housing and that what little work he was able to get went to supporting his dying mother. She said, “I don’t mind that, of course. She is a wonderful woman. We have the soup kitchen and government housing, so most of our needs are met. But I would like to try to get a toy for the two older kids for Christmas.”

It broke my heart. I came home after lunch and posted the need on my Facebook wall. I didn’t expect much of a response, because so many people seem to post such needs all the time. But, I have wonderful friends and knew that if they could help, they would want to.

Within 5 minutes, I had over $100 sent to me via paypal, and private messages and responses to my posting asking for what was needed and information on sizes and such, and phone calls coming in on top of each other. As much as I shouldn’t have been so surprised, I really was floored. One friend told me that she had been wanting to give this year but didn’t quite know where or how.

This amazing love and generosity that so mirrors God’s love for us has humbled my selfish heart more than anything else could have. I whine about my husband working and making a living so far away, and forget that there are people out there like this lovely mom who just wanted one toy for two of her three children.

She has that and more now. My basement is filled with presents that came over the last two days. My bank account is filled with money for her. And our church adopted her family to buy clothes and boots and toys. God has used my friends and church family to bless this struggling family with abundance in this season of Love.

And He used the experience to teach me a lesson — to be thankful for His provision even when there is a cost involved.

I pray that you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas.


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