Sunday, November 24, 2013

Operation Gratefulness

Over the weekend I had several opportunities to focus on Celebrating Thanksgiving. The last few days have been filled with reminders that I am blessed with family and friends who love and care about me. I am so grateful for this long list of incredible people. It's humbling when I stop and think about it.

There are times when life is difficult and we experience pain. I believe God uses those kind of times to remind us of the very special network of people He has specifically woven together for each of us. These blessed loved ones surround us when we are in need of prayer and support. Sometimes it is exactly who we expected would be there...but then again sometimes we are totally surprised by some who take the time to come along side us and see us through the terrible times.

So while our heart aches from whatever painful event we are dealing with...it also begins to heal from the love and concern shown to us by those who share the burden with us. It's another reminder of how much God loves us. I truly believe He puts together our healing process even before we are in need of it. How amazing is that? I am so grateful to God!

So this weekend I realized God was already healing my own sadness with friends and family who were there...hurting right along side me....with loving concern...and prayers.  And as I marveled at the beauty of such precious support, I became so incredibly thankful for each of them and for God providing these relationships for such a time as this.

Another way I focused on Thanksgiving this weekend, was putting together Operation Christmas Child boxes. I love this awesome mission project for Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse International Relief. It's a wonderfully simple process of shopping for little gifts for children, packing them into shoeboxes and then sending them off with love and prayers.

I told all about this very special yearly family project in a post last December. As I put together the OCC boxes every year, I am filled with such gratefulness for all we have been able to give our own children. When I think about the fact that this little shoebox...with a few little trinkets in it...could be a child's only Christmas, it is so humbling. We truly are overabundantly blessed and so are our children.

After I finished getting the boxes all ready, Hubby and our Engineer helped me load them into the van, and we drove down the road to the local church that is serving as an OCC Drop-off Center. In a few days, those little boxes of goodies will be on their way to children around the world.

When I was teaching in the classroom, I had the privilege of teaching several children adopted from Russia. Because of that amazing opportunity, I know quite a few children who have actually received an OCC shoebox when they were little. I have watched their eyes light up as they shared their stories of the day the Samaritan's Purse workers brought them their special boxes. And yes... I am very thankful for that! It has made me believe in this mission all the more!

It has been a very blessed weekend with many reminders of God's grace of gifts in my life and those around me. And I really am so very very thankful.

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