Sunday, April 27, 2014

I was stealing JOY

I will never forget the teenagers hugging the new fleece blankets they received at our annual Christmas party at the soup kitchen. The younger kids' squeals of delight when they tore open the packages to reveal the new toys that had been carefully selected especially for them by my kind-hearted friends.  Their parents stood quietly by and watched this wonderful scene unfold, smiling and celebrating with their kids when they brought their treasures for them to see. This was most definitely one of my favorite days of the year because it brought me great joy.  It brought all of us great joy, pride, and abundant blessing.  None of which belonged to me.  The truth is, we were stealing that joy, pride, and abundant blessing from the parents and they didn't even know it.   It wasn't until I read the book, Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton, that I began to understand that sometimes our "helping"
actually hurts people.  This past Christmas, The Dream Center of Pickens County opened the Santa
Shoppe Assistance program.  The experience of watching parents attend classes to earn store credit, shop for their children's gifts with that credit, and wrap the gifts themselves was overwhelming.  Most were single moms and many wept while they shopped and wept while they wrapped.  It was a surreal experience for volunteers as we all realized that these parents were weeping because they
were experiencing for the first time..the joy, pride, and abundant blessing of exchange that they never
knew existed. The joy I felt watching these parents was exceedingly more than anything I had experienced before. We prayed for 100 families to participate the first year. God sent us 528 parents and children and 100% of the parents said they would not go back to accepting one way giving at
Christmas.    God wants far greater things for these families than a hand out.  It is pure joy to see
them realize it. We welcome you to come see it for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment