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Hey Friends ~
As we enter into this Thanksgiving week/pre-Christmas season, I need your wisdom!
First, some background…
One of my close relatives works at a local public school with emotionally impaired children ages 3-5. This relative is the most kind, hard-working, and generous woman I know ~ so it is a perfect environment for her to work.
However, some of the stories she shares with me (without disclosing names, of course) are heart-breaking, to say the least.
Most of the kids come from homes with little to no money, minimal parental support, and lack the basic everyday living necessities. Stuff like coats. hats. underwear.
Typically we pass along to her any coats, hats, and mittens my kids have outgrown. I was amazed to hear how many kids get off the bus in the freezing cold (remember, I live in Michigan!) without wearing anything to keep them warm.
This week my relative called to see if Benj had another coat he had outgrown. She also asked if he had any old underwear.
One boy at her school arrives most days with pants that are broken, zippers that won’t zip, and no underwear.
On Friday, the bus driver didn’t want to help him, and said to my relative, “The boy can’t even keep his pants up and smells like pee everyday. Yuck”
When I heard this story, my heart broke.
And God is using this real life example to mess with me in the best possible way.
When I think of the many things I’m grateful for ~ I forget to say I’m thankful we have the undergarments (and outer garments) that we need. Thank You, God.
As we enter in the Christmas season (even though it’s still November), and we are bombarded with Black Friday ads (are they driving anyone else crazy?!)…I think about this little boy who has no underwear and smells like pee and no one cares (but my relative).
I don’t need one more blanket, or appliance, or even new sparkly sweater. Instead I’ll buy some size 4T underwear.
As my kids make their lists of stuff they want, when truth be told we have a basement filled with unplayed trinkets and toys, I think of this little boy and countless boys and girls like him in my neighborhood, my community, the world.
Thank You, God, for all of our stuff. We don’t need more ~ we just need more of You.
How do we live differently in a culture that shouts, “Buy me. You need me. Life is all about stuff”?????
I miss the days I worked at The Salvation Army with homeless teen moms and their kids.
I want to be reminded daily of the needs, the opportunities, the call.
I don’t want to get so comfortable, complacent, lukewarm in my faith that I forget that there is a lost and hurting world and God wants us to be a light that shines bright for Him.
An agent of Truth, hope and healing.
A reflector of His love and generosity and kindness.
This year I am more determined than ever to get my kids to think outside themselves. And that starts with me.
As we enter into this Thanksgiving week, I am grateful for a God who supplies all of my needs, family and friends (like you!) to journey with along the way, and the opportunity to bring hope and joy (and underwear) to others in Jesus name.
*She Sparkles* friends, I’d love to hear from you. How do you live differently in a culture that shouts, “Life is all about stuff”? How have you reached out to help those in need in your community? Please share your stories and ideas!!!
Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. God’s richest blessings to you!
Thanks for sharing this Cindy. I have been witnessing so many needs recently with so many in our community not making even enough to cover their basic needs. I recently was sharing with a mom that she could sign up for toys for her kids at her local food pantry. Her reply, "I am thankful that people are willing to help with toys, but is there anyone that can help us with clothes or food?" That reply really took my breathe away, and has been tugging on my heart. I pray that all of us as Christians can become more aware of the needs around us, and respond the way Christ calls us to. As for an idea, every grade level in our school picks an organization to collect something for, instead of purchasing gifts for students in their class. I have really appreciated this opportunity for my kids to share with others, instead of coming home with more stuff we don't need. If anyone in West Michigan needs an organization to collect for, I would be more than willing to help them brainstorm ideas. Thanks again for your inspiring words.
Thanks, Becky! I miss our days at The Salvation Army together! I'd love to get together and brainstorm sometime. I want our family to be a part of the solution, not just at Christmas, but through every season. Grateful to have a wonderful resource ~ you! :)xo Cindy 🙂
Thank you for this post. My heart breaks for this little boy. Yesterday morning at Mars Hill Rob spoke on peace and about the ways we can use our energies to help creation live as God intended us to live. Last night at small group we talked about Acts and about the ways we affirm (and deny) the resurrection in our daily lives.
This a great post!!! I could not agree more – we are all too in love with stuff – I don't know how to get the girls to change their focus though – I see your point about it starting with me, but….. they seem so far gone….. I am maybe just being too negative about it….
Oh Cindy, great post. I'm right there with you. It is a constant battle to get away from the 'stuff'. I'm hoping one day, my family will be able to go through the christmas season without gift exchange. (we too have all kinds of stuff that doesn't get played with) And just celebrate Christ all year long. But, we are not all on the same page yet. As one friend put it, "it's not about what we got, it's about what we got to do" This is what I'm aiming for. Amazing how many basic needs there are right in our community, and we often don't realize it. Blessings to you.