Shoe Boxes and Sore Knees

Last week several people from my church and I went to Atlanta,Georgia to help with shoe box packing for a project called Operation Christmas child.  This was our third year doing this and as always we had a lot of fun and it was a huge blessing.

This year I was a little concerned about going because for the past few months I have been feeling pretty rotten from arthritis and some knee issues left over from two knee surgeries in September that do not seem to have helped a whole lot.  I had been having a lot of pain and I could not stand for more than 20 minutes without having severe pain and locking up of my knees. When I planned to go on  this trip in August I really expected to be well by the time it came time to go.  Since I was not healing as expected I was quite concerned that I was not going to be able to do the work this year.

I have been praying and praying to God asking for healing and even asked him a few times if he truly wanted me to go.  Every time I prayed about it he would tell me to go and also after every prayer I would have peace and know it was going to be alright and that I just had to trust him, yet the pain still did not go away.

It is about a 9 hour drive to Atlanta and about halfway there we got out of the car at a rest stop. As I got out of the car I noticed I was stiff kneed but as I was walking I realized my knees did not hurt as bad as they had been hurting lately. From that stop and forward each time we would stop and get out of the car I would realize my knees felt better and better.  I began to think to myself “could it really be possible my knees are healing?” By the time we got there I realized I could walk a whole lot better than I had walked in weeks!

When we went to work the first day I was able to stand our whole shift.  My legs hurt but somehow I did not notice the pain to much.  It was like God gave me what I needed to endure it and I kept going with only a few small breaks.  That night I was prepared with my ice bags and did my exercises that I am supposed to do each day.  I was amazed because my knees seemed to feel much better than they do at home.

Day 2  my knees made it about 2 hours but then started hurting enough to send me to a sit down job for a few hours. I can be pretty bull headed at times and I have a really hard time admitting weakness. For me it was pretty hard to give in and go to the sit down job area and work…but I did it anyway.  At the sit down job area I was blessed by a group of people who I found worked just as hard as the stand up people.  I really wished I had come over to check it out sooner it was a lot of fun over there.  I actually felt a bit ashamed of myself for thinking I did not want to go over there in the first place. I am not sure why I never thought about it before, but all the years I have been going to OCC I have always told those who I brought with me that if they can not stand they have sit down jobs for them to do.  I never thought that it was not an important job or sign of weakness for someone else but when I was the one doing the sit down job why did I feel that it was? Even if it did show weakness on my part, I do think God maybe wants us to be weak so we can be strong in him.   Actually every single person in the kingdom of God has an different job to do and they are all important jobs made for each individual person by him. Some may seem smaller than others in our eyes but in God’s eyes they are all very huge and all just as important.

My week in Atlanta ended up being a great week and by the last day I was back in the standing area working again and my knees felt pretty good.

I am not sure why I thought things would turn out differently because from the beginning I knew God wanted me to go on this trip and as I have been shown time and time again if God sends a person to do a job we do not need to worry about how it will get done.   If he is sending us He will equip us, really all we need to do is pray and show up for the job ready to work.

This may sound like the end of the story but there is much more story to tell,   Tune in for part 2 tomorrow 🙂

If you would like more information about Operation Christmas Child you can click the picture below.

250x250_occ

Operation Christmas Child

Thanks for reading!

It’s About Giving ~ Biblical Giving

160-India-Blue

When I was a child I used to love Christmas.  After all these years I still get that warm mushy feeling inside when I think of Christmas when I was a child.   The thing I remember most about Christmas as a child was the excitement of Santa Clause.  I would be so happy when the Sears Catalog would arrived at our house.  I remember my brother and I would rush to get it and then we would look at it every day for for hours picking out that one special gift.    I would then write my letter to Santa and place it in the mailbox  with hopes that I had been a good enough little girl that year to not be on the naughty list so that Santa would bring me my special gift.

Sadly not all children in the world have that same sort of privileges I had growing up .  I realize now as a grown up Christmas is not all about Santa and toys.  There is not a ‘good’ or ‘naughty’ list and many many good little children will not receive anything at all for Christmas.

Last week I had the privilege of going with a group of women from my church to Atlanta Georgia to help process packed shoe boxes for a program through Samaritan’s Purse called Operation Christmas child.  Each year thousands of people pack shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts which will go to children around the world who may never have received a gift of their own.  When each child receives a shoebox they also get a booklet Called ‘The Greatest Journey’ which is an exciting discipleship program that teaches children to become faithful followers of Jesus, of all the gifts in that box that gift of Jesus IS the biggest gift of all.

I know this was supposed to be a blogger assignment for Compassion and I got to talking about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child but the truth is this story is really not just a blogger assignment sent to me in my email from my Compassion blogger leader,  this is an assignment from God.  Christmas is not all about Santa and presents.  Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, it’s about how God loved us so much he sent us a savior.  Jesus was and still is the greatest gift of all.

Jesus was a King who lay in a manger because there was not room for him at the inn and sometimes it seems to me with all the hoopla of Christmas maybe not a whole lot has changed since that night.  I sometimes have to ask myself do we have room for Him now?

What I saw last week at Operation Christmas child was proof we do have room for him, I saw hundreds of people working together giving the gift of their time and love to help children in need.  I saw people working hard yet they were joyful.  They were not caught in the frenzy and stress Christmas shopping for presents instead they were working together packing presents for children in the presence of Jesus.

There are children in the world who not only do not have Christmas presents they also do not have the basic necessities such as food, medical care and safe drinking water.  Compassion has for the next 20 days started a Christmas Catalog  campaign called ‘It’s About Giving’.   You can help children in need by browsing the 2012 Christmas Catalog and help a child who is registered in Compassion’s program who has not been sponsored yet by giving them a gift of many things such as clean water, livestock, medical care, food and most of all the gift of knowing Jesus.

This Christmas make it a season of giving, will you give a child a gift of Christmas Joy this year? You can click the picture of the little girl below to browse the Compassion 2012 Christmas Gift Catalog.

Gifts-of-Compassion-Print-Catalog_150x195

 “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. ~Deut. 16:17

Thank you for helping and for reading.  God bless you 🙂

For more information about Compassion you can click here -> http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431

For more information about Operation Christmas Child you can click here ->  http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC

#ItsAboutGiving