Funny how that works.
Last night as we headed to the shelter to deliver gifts was yet another in a long line of examples of this.
Everything seemed to be going wrong and I was quite frustrated before we left for the shelter.
I could not get the top off the Jeep because the tool I needed was locked in Brian's toolbox and he was out of town with the key. Not a biggie, just disappointing. The afternoon was filled with frantic phone calls from all sides. First a call that someone had 36 stuffed animals for us. There were only 11 kids so I scurried to find homes for the remaining stuffed animals. Then another friend called and said she had a car load of shoe boxs filled with various small gift items. A car load?!?!?! There were only 11 kids.... what were we going to do with all that stuff? I surely didn't want to take it and ask them to just hang onto it in case they needed it someday. And I've already got 150 backpacks in my dining room and really didn't care to add anything else to my collection. I dressed in my elf outfit and promptly lost a bell of the toe of one of my elf shoes. I looked like I belonged on the Island of Misfit Toys but I didn't have time to fuss with it.
Things were not going well and I was not a happy elf, and I'm afraid it showed. I'm not so good at masking my real feelings so when things began to pile up, I had a hard time being jolly. None of it big stuff. None of it worth getting bent out of shape about, but I still have a hard time not being grumpy when things start to get overwhelming. Mainly I feel stressed when I feel stuck between trying to do what is best for the folks we are trying to help and all the good intentions of well-meaning people who are trying to help them.
As we left for the shelter I prayed and hoped we could find it. I've not been to this one before and I'm still amazed that people will not question me when I say, "just follow me .... I'm not exactly sure where we're going" and they just get in their cars and follow.
On the drive there I convinced myself that all would go well once we got there, but we were in for another surprise....
We got there and only two of the eleven children were there and one of them was a newborn. Santa and Mrs. Claus were a bit lost as to what to do with no kids and I was afraid that everyone who had put so much into this effort would be disappointed and feel it not worthwhile.
But then it became abundantly clear that things were unfolding according to another plan, a Godly plan. Last night was not supposed to be about the kids. Last night was a night for the moms. As some of our crew carried in bags of presents, a couple of the mothers began to cry. One of the cried the whole time we were there. One said that she was touched because she had never been able to give her children Christmas gifts and now she would be able to tell them that Santa had been there while they were gone and left them presents. Another said, "you just don't know what this means, you just don't know ...." At one point I took a break from taking pictures of them with Santa and walked into the kitchen to find two of the mom's hugging each other and crying. Lots of tears. What else can you expect in a house full of estrogen?? Later another told us that other people sometimes bring gifts but that no one ever stays and visits.
We stayed for about an hour, chatting with them, passing around the newborn baby and eating cookies. My friend pulled out his guitar and played and sang. He shared one song that he wrote after a friend was killed and shared about how God had helped him through that difficult time. Finally, we gathered together and Mrs. Claus prayed for the moms and Santa prayed for the children. We left singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".
Nothing had gone right. Yet in the end, everything went exactly as it was supposed to. That always seems to be the story.
- My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.