It was the morning after the second massive toy Shop and Christmas Outreach we ran for greater Atlanta.
And it was such a relief.
I could wake up and JUST be a mom.
JUST cuddle with kids in bed.
JUST be pregnant.
JUST focus on preparing for my own family-of-ten’ Christmas morning prep.
For over a month now, I had been gathering and collecting new and gently used toys from amazingly generous donors from all over the country. Had been coordinating over 56+ volunteers. Corresponding with two different administrators about two different locations for the events. Prepared to load over 73 parents up with nearly 1000 gifts and/or stocking stuffers for their 237 kids. Presented the Gospel message 5 times and handed out and facilitated over 80 Isaiah 61 Bible Studies for parents and teens. This was on top of caring for my own 8 children and all their school Secret Santa’s, Christmas performances and Christmas parties. I crammed two delayed birthday parties for my kids into this past month as well. It was an intense whirlwind. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to some tearful evenings crumbled on my bed from the sheer exhaustion of it all.
But that morning as I took it slow, I could breath and just BE THERE with the cuddles. I was about to spend the next two days on a whirlwind of Christmas shopping and tradition keeping, but at least it was for this immediate family unit. And despite the exhaustion, my heart was full for how rich I was.
One of my favorite experiences (besides getting to work with awesome volunteers and meet incredibly thankful parents and grandparents/caretakers), was the very last couple who came through the Grove Park Christmas Shop. I didn’t even know how they heard about the event and they had driven 45 minutes to get there. I shared the power of a God who humbled himself to enter into creation as a baby and die for the sins of our world and we prayed together. They shopped for their young kids and as they prepared to leave with freshly wrapped presents nicely hidden in a giant black trash bag, they broke down crying. “We didn’t know how we were going to do Christmas for our kids this year. This is such a blessing. just such a blessing.”
Earlier that day as volunteers gathered to set up an entire store in one day, we had spent time praying. My specific prayer was, “Lord let this bless and empower parents. Even if I don’t know where they are coming from, send parents who don’t know how they are going to do Christmas otherwise”.
I was privileged to witness EXACT answers to my prayers-and the prayers of so many.
To everyone who donated items, sent Amazon wish list toys, showed up and helped to set up or run the event or clean up, to all those who prayed, THANK YOU and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! The Messiah has come!!
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”