It’s amazing how God orchestrates your life in such a way that every single thing you go through and every single person you encounter creates who you are today and helps fulfill your purpose here on this earth. When I was in my 20’s and home raising my 3 children, my husband and I struggled. We lived week to week and one single out of the box expense could put us back to where we would struggle even more, sometimes for months. I remember one Christmas that was really tough for us. My husband was working 7 days a week and we barley were able to cover our expenses. I knew it was going to be extra tough for us to provide a good Christmas for our children and it broke my heart. I remember going out that year to Toys R Us and buying them each one gift they wanted. Some sort of action figure for the boys and a doll of some sort for my daughter. My older sister went down to her basement and sent me all the older toys she had kept from her kids when they were young, and we wrapped them up. I’ll never in my life forget the exact feeling I had when I watched them open their gifts. They were so excited and thankful and never knew what was going on, while I was sick to my stomach. I felt embarrassed, I felt sad, and I literally held back tears because I knew that they would be going back to school to hear of all the things the other kids got and they would proudly say how they got legos that came in a weird box, or just one of those action figures that were so popular, and it just happened to be their favorite. I remember every second of it to this day.
I remember a year someone gave us a huge turkey and how thankful I was because I knew not only would it save me money at the grocery store, it would make turkey soup and that could last a few days. That particular year, although my children probably don’t even remember it, has stayed with me for my entire life. The fact that a few extra toys, a turkey or ham, or just a gift card for groceries, can make a holiday for a family who struggles unimaginably good. And it’s not just a holiday. There are times for people who struggle weekly that one single incident, like the need for new tires, or a school event or a class ring, or anything that is not a normal purchase can really take a toll on a family’s budget.
All those years of struggling brought Brightseasons to fruition. All those years of struggle, all of the people who’ve crossed my path, both good and bad, have brought lessons on how to help others. All the jobs that put me in a place to meet or help someone have created the foundation to move forward with purpose.
This year keep an eye out for the unseen. For the families you may come across who just need a little help. It’s not always the obvious. Bring joy to whomever you can, year round. The small things that were done for us throughout my life have made the biggest impact on me. Therefore, I am passing it forward. Always help those in need, but help those who are struggling too. Although they may not seem as important, the impact you have on them can literally change the course of someone’s life.
Look for opportunities. Act even if you’re not sure. Keep your eyes open to the obvious and the less obvious. Spread joy this season and every month thereafter. And more than anything, remember what this season is really about. Jesus.
Merry Christmas to all of you. I pray you all have a beautiful holiday, surrounded by those you love, and a very blessed New Year.