So this wasn't planned to be my first "What I'm Thankful For" post, however, it's so relevant.
Last night, myself and some great friends from my church shopped at Walmart for 91 kiddos. (Huge thanks and props to Katie for organizing!!!) These were 91 kids who may otherwise not stumble anxiously out of bed on Christmas morning to find gifts wrapped under a Christmas tree with their names on them. We shopped for pillow pets, Zhu Zhu pets, My Littlest Pet Shops, Pokemon cards, backpacks, Webkins, Barbie dolls, footballs, basketballs, and so much more. It was so much fun to play Santa and think about what the children on my list might like the most!
After it was all done and we had 6 shopping carts overflowing with toys, we prayed in the middle of the toy isles of Walmart for the 91 children who would receive those toys and I was HUMBLED. How many times had I gone to Walmart for groceries or to pick up pictures or to get a birthday gift or for shampoo and found myself making a quick detour to the toy isle to grab a random toy for Tucker without even looking at the price. Countless times. And here I was, trying my best to find the top two toys on each child's list and get him or her the best 2 toys for under $20 total. I keep thinking about the 10-year-old girl who listed craft supplies and hair accessories on her wish list and I hope she'll really like the stamp kit I picked out. And the 5 year old little girl who wanted a backpack and I imagine how cute she'll look in the one I picked out that wrapped around to make her look like a fairy. And their parents. I can't imagine how it must feel to not have that $20 to spend on your child for Christmas. I hope that they will see joy in their daughter's face Christmas morning and feel a sense of peace and overwhelming love, God's love.
I've spent that and then some on Tucker just about every time I've been to Walmart or any other store. I've taken the ability to do that for granted. I've taken it for granted that the only reason I have to wonder what in the world we'll have for dinner is because I haven't been to the grocery in a few days, not because we don't have the money, but because it's not something I enjoy doing. I've taken it for granted that if I don't want to wear socks in the evening I can just click the heat up a few degrees and not worry about how that will effect the electric bill. I think about how frustrated I've been that Wes and I have not had a weekend to look at carpet and wood samples so we can get a move on our floors, taking for granted that I own a home and don't stress about how the mortgage is going to get paid. I take for granted that if Tucker gets a runny nose and a cough that I can take him to the pediatrician without thinking about how much it will cost. I have a beautiful home, 2 nice cars, a closet full of clothes, a son who has more toys than he cares to play with, a TV that's much bigger than necessary, cabinets full of food, the list could go on and go. And the families we shopped for may not be able to say the same.
And in all that humbling, God convicted me. He gave me all those things. I don't deserve it. I don't even come close. But He gave them to me.......to use for HIS glory. I pray that I am continually reminded of that. I pray that I take advantage of the opportunities God gives me to use those material things to His glory and to just love on others....like inviting people into my home, giving someone a ride in my car, paying someone else's bills, or just shopping for someone else's kids at Walmart. So much of it seems so small to us, but we don't know how those little things affect someone else. We don't know if someone is praying about how a need of theirs will get met when we offer to pay for their gas at the pump and are used by God to answer a prayer. Or if we notice a mom adding up the cost of her groceries as she checks out at Kroger and slip her a $20, how that small gesture will show her someone cares. Or when we see a young mom with two small children walking in the cold, how giving them a ride could be just what she was praying for.
I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given me. But, I am even more thankful for humbling opportunities like this one that remind me of the many blessings I have and what I am met to do with those blessings.