You might be wondering with all this train talk about traveling beyond, if I am still serving beyond – like for Operation Christmas Child. Well, I have an answer for you and I learned a life lesson in the deriving of it. I hope it will encourage you, too.
The simple answer is: yes, I still help Operation Christmas Child by creating, collecting and coordinating, but this year only sporadically so. One could say, seasonally so.
The explanation is: I am in another unique season of life.
This season is still about loving and serving at home and beyond, just heavy on the beyond. From the beyond.
My crafting time within the cottage walls will be pretty limited this year, as will be my shopping time, so shoeboxes won’t be filling up as fast.
[Enter Massive Loads of Guilt]
Have I had to deal with guilt for not doing as much this year? Sure.
Not everyone understands a post-homeschooling (or even homeschooling) lifestyle. If there are general guilt inducers in our lives, we need to consider the source, as my mom has been often know to say.
If they want to hand out guilt for not doing things the world’s way, we can say, “No, thank you,” and walk on pleased as punch to have the opportunity to do whatever it is we are doing.
I, however, have had to ask myself the question …
Is God mad at me?
And there it is: I don’t like God being mad at me.
Truthfully, I don’t like anyone being mad at me. (That has gotten me in a heap of trouble, I’ll tell ya.)
However, I have to accept that God doesn’t grade the way teachers, sometimes parents and peers, do. He doesn’t demand extra credit, an A++ in every activity.
God looks on the heart.
That has become my hope and my fear, if you know what I mean. I can get the extra credit from the world and fail before God’s heart.
We need to look to God’s Word for an accurate guilt meter measure.
- If we’re guilty, we have options (ignore God or ask for forgiveness).
- If we’re not guilty before God, well, on we can go!
Either way, we can lay our genuine burden or the world’s made-up burden at the foot of the cross, which frees us to …
Pick Up the Heartbeat
When we aren’t distracted by guilt (real or false), we can pick up the heartbeat God has beating for us.
This year’s heartbeat for me spells F-A-M-I-L-Y and A-M-T-R-A-K.
The great news about our Operation Christmas Child team is that some have picked up the S-H-O-E-B-O-X heartbeat and are creating, gathering, encouraging, inspiring and buying goodies year round this year!
As one person’s seasons change, God has others in the lineup!
Examples from the World of Shoeboxing
Here are a few examples of what’s going on in the Westside Chapel shoebox world:
K’s mom, G, is crocheting these beautiful bags by the dozens!
K is sewing stuffed animals …
… and drawstring bags!
And somebody’s been chowing down on Altoids,
so we have lots of tins to fill with sewing kits, games, etc!
If you are wondering what to make for shoeboxes this year, how about goodies to fill these tiny tins. There are lots of Altoid tin ideas on Pinterest.
Going Beyond Affects Serving Beyond
Does going beyond affect serving beyond? Of course.
Ask the One who is far beyond all of our beyonds. He has perfect perspective. And I think that’s one thing – of many – I need this year.
God keeps all the plates spinning. We only need to serve the ones He asks us to catch.