county-pictures-from-moll-012 I was so blessed by hosting a surprise birthday party for one of the women who goes to our church and attends our Alongside Women’s Ministry group. One of the other women in our group suggesting we have a birthday party for this individual. This “Mary” (not her real name) was raised in the foster care system and never had a birthday party. The scripture our women’s group has claimed as our theme is 2 Corinthians 1:3 from The Message Bible, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. ” So, we thought we would come alongside Mary and help her celebrate her birthday.
When Mary came into my home, she stood in front of my couch and said, “Oh, it is a looking at couch.” I didn’t really understand I just knew she was unsure to sit on the couch. I assured her it was fine, five kids and two pets later…you can sit on my couch.
Mary came into the house and was in there 10 minutes, before she even realized this party was in honor of her! And when one of the ladies told her, Mary was speechless. There probably wasn’t a dry eye in the room. To think this women was 46 years old before anyone had a birthday party for her. And then to see her so excited to be the honored one!
As the gifts were handed to her, and she began to unwrap her gifts. It was very obvious she never had been given these kind of gifts before. Some gifts were very practical and others were just gifts us “girls” enjoy!! During the time she unwrapped her gifts, again she commented on “looking at.” Then went on to explain the “looking at” was nice things some people have in their home, and don’t use. Like, “Looking at” towels!
Unwrapping gifts continued, and Mary commented on “only rich people” have those. That comment came after unwrapping a set of coasters. And also, after holding up a box of bandages that were given as a practical gift. Bandages weren’t in her budget, so she used a cotton ball and grey tape when she or her son needed a bandage.
She couldn’t contain her excitement as she unwrapped a crock pot she had been praying for!! Or the awe she felt as she unwrapped her own, “new” cross necklace. With the giver of the necklace assuring her this necklace was one to be worn, not a “looking at” necklace. 🙂
I sat there listening to her comments and my thoughts drifted off..I started feeling very guilty about the complaining I had been doing about my beautiful house that still needs trim and curtains, then the guilt being turned into gratitude for what the Lord had given me. I thought “but by the grace of God go I.” It could have been me in Mary’s shoes. I thought about how fortunate I was to be born into a wonderful family with two loving parents and lots of extended family to grow up around. I truly never have had to want for necessities in my life. I am healthy and able to work a full time job and have a loving husband who has provided and protected me and my children for 25 years! And I know if I really ever was “down and out” there would be dear family and friends who would help me up again. I never have had to experience the feeling of being truly alone. Because I never have been….
Here I thought we as a women’s ministry group were coming alongside Mary to help her celebrate her birthday and feel as loved and treasured as she truly is….But when it came right down to it…Mary came alongside me and made me realize that 1.) I don’t trust God as much as she does and as much as I should!! Could it be because I have always lived in middle class America and had my needs met? 2.) I am far more blessed than I deserve to be.
I challenge each of you during this Holiday season to 1) come “Alongside” someone who is less fortunate than you. I assure you, that you will be ministered to probably far more than those you are trying to minister to. 2.) Take a good long look at your life and thank God for what He have blessed you with! You truly are blessed!!!