By: Dawn Birdsong
Shopping for my children’s back-to-school clothes, shoes and supplies can be exhausting and frustrating. It usually involves days of making multiple stops at Walmart, Office Depot, School Days and… the mall. That can drive a momma bonkers!
It can also be equally as exhausting to shop for families in need. Choosing sizes, brands, colors, cool backpacks, and the right binders/folders for kids you haven’t met…well it’s difficult sometimes. I always have this desire to choose the perfect stuff for each child I buy for. I know how picky my own boys can be and I want these kids to have special things too.
I’ve spent four full days shopping like this for precious families who don’t quite have enough money to get their kids the back-to-school necessities. I wanted these mommas to be able to rest knowing their babies will have it all as this school year begins. It was important to me that these boys and girls feel special on their first day of school. I also wanted to have Connor and Cole’s things bought and prepared for their first day of 7th and 11th grade. Oh my goodness…where did summer go?
My plan was to be completely done with all shopping and have it all delivered by last Saturday afternoon. This way I could concentrate on making sure my boys had all they needed/wanted. Well, Sunday and Monday my phone didn’t stop ringing. I was receiving phone calls and text messages with so many needs. I am embarrassed to admit that I was aggravated and a little ticked. I wanted Monday for myself, to do what I wanted to do. That sounds awful, I know. The thought never crossed my mind NOT TO HELP though. I was just gonna do it with a heart that wasn’t right.
The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me, faithfully reminding me of the verse in 2 Corinthians, “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” Was my heart cheerfully giving? Cheerfully shopping? I had been cheerful during the first 4 days I shopped for hundreds of dollars of school supplies and uniforms. But my cheerfulness quickly disappeared when I realized there was more to do. God doesn’t ask me to delight in my giving part of the time. He wants my heart to be like His all of the time I am serving. Have patience with me. God isn’t through with me yet. I have such a long way to go.
I struggled with my selfishness and frustration for the first hour, and then I remembered how God’s grace, love, kindness and gentleness are poured out on me daily. Daily. And He gives to me CHEERFULLY. Wow…I was acting like a brat. I had a to-do list for my Monday and I didn’t want to change it. My attitude and heart changed quickly as I thought of my neediness. I may not have needed school uniforms, binders, and booksacks, but I have many needs daily that I ask the Father for.
At the end of the day, I had delivered to all but one family. I didn’t know much about the mom from the last family I delivered to. Cole and I sat and waited on her to meet us. When I laid my eyes on her, I could barely hold back my tears. She was a beautiful lady with gorgeous eyes. She looked sad and broken.
“Thank you” and “I’m sorry” repeatedly came from her lips.
“Sorry for what?” I asked.
She answered, “Because I can’t buy my kids these things right now.”
I hugged her and she was shaking. She had not had a good nights rest in days, worried and anxious about her children starting school without everything they needed.
“Tonight I will sleep well,” she said. “My kids and husband will sleep well.”
God sent *Heather as a gift to me this past week. What a blessing she was to me. I needed to share a hug and some tears with that precious momma. Our tears were flowing for different reasons. My tears were falling because I could have missed out on meeting this precious momma because of my selfish to-do list. When will I get that God’s plan for my days and my life are way better than mine? I am so glad I met Heather last week. I have seen her a few times since and I thank God in advance for the Christ-centered friendship we will someday have.
I love God sooooo much because he lets me be His coworker. 1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers...” I am so blessed that He uses me to be part of His plan to serve those in need. I am so thankful He forgives me when I have an ugly heart and that He continues to allow me to be His Hands and Feet.
I found out that Heather is seeking a relationship with the Father. I hope she doesn’t see a bit of me, but ONLY HIM! Only Him who lives in dirty ol’ me.
*Used to protect identity