Saturday morning was the first day the store would be open for the parents to come enjoy this red carpet shopping experience. We had no way of knowing the impact this would have on these parents and we were left speechless and yes full of tears. We heard some heart breaking stories that will now be filled with hope this season. These were not just families that were struggling but families that are in desperate need! A mother that had be sexually abused, a single mom of 3 whose husband died a couple years ago, a teenage daughter who has to raise 2 elementary age children, and a grandma of 4 who received chemo moments before she came shopping and she just told the children that they were not going to be celebrating Christmas this year because they had no money for gifts or decorations. The one story that I can’t get out of my mind is this one of a foster mom trying to help the real mom get established with her children.
I had the opportunity of hosting these two ladies on Saturday, the mom and foster mom. We had bought toys, shoes, coats, pi’s, underwear, socks, blankets, sheets, and a lot more for this family. The foster mom shared with us on the families wish list that was sent home of her desire to help this mom since she has just moved into her own apartment, so we bought somethings for the mom too. When we brought out the multiple bags full of gifts they were in amazement and the tears rolled down their face. They could not believe all of this. The mothers thought that they were just going to get a few little toys for the kids not bags of gifts for the whole family. After they had time to look at all of the gifts I told them that I we had one more gift for them. I took them over to these boxes and said, “you told us that your kids needed a bed to sleep on so…” The foster mom said, “NOOO WAAYYYY! You did not get some beds?!?!” I said, ” we actually got you brand new beds from Ikea with new mattresses, mattresses covers, and down comforters.” ** And a side note, a family in our church felt like the Lord was telling them to go buy some beds when they heard about the store. How cool is it when people are obedient to His leading!** The two mom’s began crying, hugging me and each other, and yelling over and over, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” It was like an episode of Opera’s Favorite things giveaway. The foster mom told me that this would definitely be the best Christmas that these 2 children will have ever had.
This day was about two things: blessing families that needed it and providing a way for the people of Ridge to be generous and serve together. Mission accomplished, no wait mission exceeded! We have one more day of the Unexpected Christmas Store this coming Saturday so please be praying for Ridge Church and the 9 families that will come shopping.
Proverbs 11:25, A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.