I grew up in a home that did not attend church. We did not pray or have Bible stories read to us and while we celebrated Christmas, the celebration had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus.
My parents both grew up in Christian homes but for reasons I don’t understand, they chose not to raise me and my siblings in faith. My only exposure to Jesus came through my Grandma Hazel who occasionally would take us to Sunday school at her church and who sent me to Forest Home summer camp when I was in Jr High.
My Grandma Hazel passed away in 2011, she was 97 years old, and the last 15+ years of her life were devoted to Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child where she would pack countless shoeboxes to send Christmas gifts and the message of Jesus to children overseas. In the final years of her life, filling these shoeboxes meant the world to my grandmother and while sometimes we would help (her birthday presents were always things she needed for her boxes) most of my family honestly just rolled our eyes at it.
Fast forward to December of 2017 when my husband and I found Friends Church. We deeply want to raise our children with a Christian foundation and love for Jesus. This is the first time in my life where I have attended church more than once in any given year – we rarely miss a week and if we do we make sure to catch the service online. It has truly been a life-altering year in so many wonderful ways. Tim and I went through Rooted together and now have an amazing life group community. We completed a marriage study called Love & Respect, and most recently completed a study called Habits with our church.
I’ve had one consistent prayer during this year. I’ve prayed that I would actually “feel” the presence of the Holy Spirit within me.
In the spring, I joined a women’s Bible study and this fall I signed up for The Mom’s Connection (which is basically our church’s version of MOPS). The Mom’s Connection group participates in donating shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child – the same organization that my Grandmother loved to contribute to!
National Collection Week for the Shoeboxes is November 12-19, 2018 (you can even build your box online)!
Last weekend, as my boys and I were preparing our own shoeboxes I remembered that there was a newspaper article about my grandma and the shoeboxes from long ago. I thought it would be fun to share the article with my boys as well as with my Mom’s Connection group. I know I have an album somewhere that my grandma made for me that has that article in it but I looked everywhere and wasn’t able to find it. So, I went to Google to see if I could locate it. I never did find the article that I was looking for but what I did come across was infinitely more special. This video is everything and is a true testament to how good God is and how deeply and personally he speaks to us.
I am so humbled and proud that I can share this legacy of giving back with my boys in a way that was so important to my grandmother. I am so in awe of how intimately God is speaking to me through this project. How He has allowed me to be able to share who my Grandmother was with my boys who were born years after she had already passed away. How she loved Jesus and felt closer to Him through these shoeboxes. Thank you, Mom Connection for being the catalyst that put the project in my viewfinder and thank you Jesus, for reminding me what a loving and wonderful God we have when we simply open our hearts to receive you.
If you donated a shoebox this year or in the past, please leave a comment and let me know how you came to learn about and get involved with Operation Christmas Child!