Sunday, June 5, 2016

Season of Weakness

My Operation Christmas Child life has seasons.  As I sat in church this morning I realized I'm entering what I call the season of weakness.  For most of the year I focus on watching God grow our team and enjoy buying items for our upcoming packing party.

When the packing party is still quite a few months away it's fun to shop for things and see how God provides what we will put into those shoeboxes.

Then comes June.  We are nearing T minus three months from the date of our September 17th packing party. It's not a long way off anymore.

Now I spend time thinking of how I should get a team together to plan the I should figure out a way to organize our items I should ramp up our game to make the packing party run more smoothly.  I think of all the things we mentioned in last year's debrief and wonder how to implement improvements.  I. think. too. much.

Meanwhile, I'm praying. I'm telling God I trust Him to make this packing party happen again. I remind myself He always comes through. Still, I think there may be things He wants me to be doing and I don't want to be neglectful.

I was re-reading Exodus chapter 18 this week.  It relates how Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, advises him to recruit more leaders so he won't wear himself out.  It's a great idea, but now Moses had the job of recruiting (and, if he was high-impact, he had to select and equip and lead and develop them all, too.) Yikes!  And he thought being "slow of speech" was a problem...

Now I'm even second guessing the way I sort all these stuffed toysI

Yesterday's seven hours of yard sale shopping only yielded 218 stuffed animals and many of them needed to be washed.  Today as I sorted them I started to worry that just sorting them into 'girls' and 'boys' wasn't enough.

I looked at those cute baby dolls and thought they should go to girls in the 5-9 age group. So...should I keep them in a separate bag?  And if I do, where will I store that?  I'm already keeping some larger stuffed animals in bags in a section of my attic for the 2-4 year old boxes.  For now I guess I'm going to leave them all together and trust God to get them to children who will be blessed by them, regardless of their age.

As I sort toys and clothing items I try to remember to pray that God will lead each one to a child who will be blessed by it.  I want so much for each box to bless a child, and I sometimes long for the days when I carefully packed each box myself...but there's a limit to how many one person can pack.

In some ways it would be easier if each box at our packing party had exactly the same items--or even the same sized items--so I would know each one was full but not too full.  But that's not how God's provided for us, so we take what He provides and pray for ways to make child-blessing combinations in those boxes.

I've attended some fundraising events recently where the signage was magnificent and the organization impeccable.  We don't have that at our packing party, and I don't see it happening this year either.

As I was discussing this with Cathi, my friend and fellow-team-member, the other day, she reminded me, "But really, that's good because it keeps us from boasting.  We always know it could have been better."  She is so right.

I don't really have a life verse, but if I did...I think 2 Corinthians 12:9 would be a top contender.  Paul says, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  Somehow, Paul actually heard Jesus say that to him, because in the red letter edition of the Bible--right in the middle of all that black ink--Jesus's words to Paul are in red.  Jesus said it.  Paul heard it.

And I am hearing it, too.  I can't boast in my leadership; we can't boast in our packing party. But we can boast in our weaknesses because on September 17th when those trucks are stacked with cartons full of 26,000 gift-filled boxes, we will see once again the power of Christ.

And for that, I'll embrace this season...

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