Cancer crushes – Generosity brings hope

rtIMG_1706I walked into Piney Grove Elementary this morning to drop off some presents that a family had left Sa
turday at the Unexpected Christmas Store and was reminded what a difference Ridge Church is making in this community

. I was bombarded with hugs and ‘thank you’s from the principal and the administration as I walked into the office, because of the ripple effect the Unexpected Christmas Store and Ridge Church’s partnership has already had on these families.

When I left there this morning I was reminded of one the most heart breaking stories that

has come from the 14 families that were able to come shop at the Unexpected Christmas Store. This family ca
me to the store Saturday morning with a life story that would break the
average person into and leave them with no hope. As this single mom came in I could again see the heaviness on her face but could have never imagined what she is going through. We began her shopping experience by piling bags upon bags on a table and all around the floor for her and her 4 childre

n. When I brought her into the room to look over everything and she was in absolute shock.

“This is ALL for us?!?!”
“Yes ma’am. We wanted to make sure we could take care of your wish list and give you a bunch of household items that you could possibly use.”

Hugs and tears flowed but more than that smiles and joy began to appear. When she was done looking through all of it I told her that we still wanted her to go shop and pick out some cool toys and things her children would love to open from her on Christmas morning. But before she finished her shopping I told her that we had one more big item for her. I showed her a very nice dresser that The Blacklion had donated to the store for this family. She did not not
ice what a nice piece it was at first, she noticed that it had 4 drawers. “God must have known that I needed this since it has 4 drawers. Now we have one drawer for each child!”
This is when she began sharing her family’s story with me. Her oldest son who is ten years old was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer last year. This crushed her and this journey was crushing the whole family. The only option for saving her son was to try and have another child. She did get pregnant and had a wonderful little baby boy, who was there with her at the store. The doctors saved the stem cells from the baby’s umbilical cord to use for the older son’s cancer treatments. So with the cost of having another child, having to pay for cancer treatments and becoming a single mother of 4 the family began to lose everything. They gave up their house, car, sold all they had even furniture, and now live in an extended stay hotel. The mother told me that this entire Christmas break they are spending their time at a cancer hospital in NYC. That was the extent of their Christmas until the Unexpected Christmas Store. This mom was so happy when she left that she went and got her children and came back. This time when she walked in her face was full of hope.
Most of us could never imagine having to go through what this family is faced with and most of us would never imagine being as generous as the small group was that took this family’s wish list and went over and beyond. I truly believe that when we realize how blessed we are and with what responsibility comes with those blessings we can change the world and make a lasting impact…maybe one family at a time.

Thank you Father for allowing us to be apart of this family’s transition from being crushed by life to a season of HOPE. We don’t always see the effect of our generosity but thank you for allowing us to see just a glimpse of the reward this day and allowing us the opportunity to give!

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