She was a good mother. She was hospitable when it made no sense. She was a pagan who God used mightily, yet we aren’t even given her name. We simply know her as the Widow of Zarephath who opened her home and her meager pantry to a foreign prophet. (I Kings 17: 8-16)
As I was reading in I Kings this week, I was once again struck by this lady’s story. She isn’t a Jew. She doesn’t necessarily know Elijah, but she does know about his God. For some reason she notes that “the Lord [his] God lives…” I find that pretty interesting, but that is not what the Lord really spoke to me about this week.
This week, as I read her story, I couldn’t help but wonder how many things I do that I honestly don’t care if anyone ever sees or knows about. Sincerely. Am I, as a child of God, really willing to give my last bit of oil and meal to help a stranger in distress– trusting my God to sustain me even when I can’t imagine how?
How about a larger view? Am I as a mom content to serve in the shadows, pouring every last ounce of time and energy into shaping those amazing children God has given me even when it means that worldly applause will most likely pass me by? Does my heart cry out for recognition and the limelight, or do I remember that God sees those things done in secret? Am I willing to sacrifice my own ambitions– even when the limelight comes calling– for the good of those God has called me to serve?
As homeschool moms or moms of littles, we are with our kiddos all the time. There is very little time for extras during some of their more involved school years. It is very tempting to cast it all off and go chasing my own dreams sometimes, losing sight of God’s call on my life. And I cannot help but wonder if this is a contributing factor to why some leave homeschooling all together. The world places a lot of value on applause and affirmation, but what is God’s position on that? God certainly does give us a lot of information about a pagan widow who gets to see God work in miraculous ways– even though we never know her name.
My heart was challenged by this thought. I hope to pay closer attention to my motives going forward. I want to always live my life in view of the One I truly serve. I want to set all my priorities and wants according to His will. I want to serve humbly and faithfully, never looking for the limelight or the applause. I want to see my children succeed and love Him with all their hearts, souls and minds. At this stage of my life, that takes a lot of my time– and it is worth every single second… Even if no one ever knows my name.
Earlier this month, South Carolina was hit hard with heavy rains and flooding. In the aftermath of that tragedy, Teach Them Diligently teamed with the South Carolina Home Educators Association to try to bring relief to the homeschool families who had been affected. David and I asked Teach Them Diligently families and vendors from across the country if they would help these families by sending curriculum to help replace what they had lost in the flooding.
The response was completely overwhelming!
Boxes and boxes of curriculum and resources started arriving, and our dining room was quickly beginning to look like our vendor hall as it is being set up. Even more boxes came, and the first load that went from our house to the SCHEA storage and distribution facility in Columbia was a van load so tightly packed and heavy that it made the van almost scrape the road.
And then MORE boxes came!
A homeschool group from the Charlotte area not only gathered a ton of great curriculum, but they even drove it about 2 hours to my house one rainy morning, and that same morning I received a call about more boxes being delivered. I am planning to take another trip to Columbia later this week or early next week to take more resources down to those families.
In case you are interested, we had boxes come in from NC, SC, CO, TN, MI, GA, OH, AL, AR, VA, SD, CT, WI, DE, NY, and even Canada– and that is not counting the boxes we have yet to pick up from the post office! In addition to some phenomenal curriculum, we got everything from crayons and chalk, to soap and shampoo, to boxes of family-friendly movies and vouchers for online math games. God is abundantly good!
Your generosity and care for other homeschool families was truly overwhelming both to our family and to our state association. I was not surprised at all, though, for you have proven over and again that your families are engaged in the mission of meeting needs and showing Jesus’ love to those around you.
Led By A 5th Grader, Another SC Family Is Meeting Needs In Their Community
(The following account is posted with permission from the mother.)
A few weeks ago, my 10 year old daughter, had to write a persuasive business letter for her 5th grade English class. After taking a trip to San Francisco, her eyes were opened to the homeless. She was moved to write a letter to Walmart to see if they could help donate socks “since winter is coming and they will be very cold”. I wasn’t planning to send it so I just pulled out my phone and gave her the first Walmart address that showed up. It wasn’t the closest one to our house, but I just needed to show her how to write a business letter. She finished the letter and wanted to mail it. I was going to give her the nearest address, but she said she already memorized the other address. We mailed it off. A few weeks later I received a call from Walmart asking me to come pick up a donation that they had for Ellie. When we were leaving to get it she asked to bring the big van. I laughed and said the smaller van would be fine since it would not be much. Her child like faith caused her to imagine a huge amount of items. On our way we prayed that God would exceed our expectations. I told her that she should expect a few cans of beans and a couple of socks. We waited for about 30 min to speak with the assistant manager. I was beginning to feel like this was a waste of time. The manager said she would return with our donations. She came back with a flatbed that had 8 large boxes on it. She said that her store had a very giving manager. Now, I know why God had me write down the wrong address. I just stood there and cried. I should have brought the big van. They barely fit in my minivan. God is so good. I am ashamed that I underestimated what God could do through my child’s letter. I was told that if I brought a truck next week she would have a whole lot more. We cried all the way home. After going through all the items, we called different shelters to find out their needs. I divided everything into boxes and delivered them. There is such a need I am asking for God to continue to provide as we are currently out of items and the need is so great. God can use homeschooling to meet needs in the community. Thank you BJU Press for your curriculum.
It is never too early to teach your children to make a difference in the lives of those around them! One great way your family can make a difference this year is by participating in the Operation Christmas Child’s Shoebox initiative. It is an easy way for children of all ages to reach out to others around the world and show the love of Jesus to them! Get more information Thursday afternoon, October 29th at 3 pm during a Twitter party we are hosting with them. Get full details on that party by clicking here. Also, if you would like more information about the child gathering supplies for the homeless shelters here in South Carolina, send me an email, and I will give you more details.
Just imagine how many lives we could all impact together if each Teach Them Diligently Family packed just one shoebox, sponsored just one child, or looked out for just 1 need they could meet! The ripples would be felt all over the world!
Please leave a comment below with some of the ways your family has made a difference in your community. I would love to start sharing more ideas with our families.
Nine-year-old Faith Russell was born with the worst form of spina bifida. She endured three surgeries within her first year and then amazed her doctors by learning to walk at 21 months, even though she has no feeling in her feet.
When Faith was 4, her older brother Griffin was moved by news reports from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He began asking his parents to adopt a child from Haiti so there would be “one less without a house or a family.” His parents, Greg and Robin, explained that they couldn’t just go to Haiti and bring a boy or girl home, but for Griffin’s sake, Robin began looking for a way they could help a child in Haiti.
That’s when she found Operation Christmas Child.
Griffin’s heart was comforted as he packed that first shoebox, hoping it would bring joy to a child in Haiti.
Faith joined her brother in the effort and she celebrated her eighth birthday by holding a shoebox packing party. She set a goal of 50 boxes and shared it with her church, Oakland Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee. The congregation of 100 packed gifts for 150 children!
A few months later, Faith told her mother that she wanted to participate in a 5K race “to show people that God made me walk.” Robin feared failure, but when Faith crossed the finish line, Robin sensed God say, “Don’t try to limit Me.”
Along this theme, Greg and Robin decided that God was using their children to prompt them to adopt a child. So for her ninth birthday, Faith asked to sponsor her own 5K in order to raise money for an adoption. She also asked every participant to bring items for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes
This past year, Faith encouraged her church to double their shoebox goal, and they packed enough for 300 children.
“When we were told that Faith would never walk and that her life would be of no quality for her, I lost hope and it was a dark time,” Robin said. “But I had hope in Jesus Christ, and that’s what pulled me through. The child who receives a shoebox has a mom who might feel hopeless because she can’t feed or clothe her child. In that shoebox that mother can find that same hope I have in Christ.”
Hear Greg and Robin share Faith’s story here
Share Your Faith With Those In Need!!
Learn More About Packing Your Own Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Online by clicking here or on the graphic.
Every year, people in the U.S. pack shoeboxes for needy children overseas. Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are packed with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and prayer. What goes into the box is fun. What comes out is eternal. Through the power of Christ, one shoebox gift can inspire pastors, multiply congregations, plant new churches and inspire children to share the Gospel with family and friends.
When churches use shoebox gifts to reach out to their communities, God often blesses them with dramatic growth and a great harvest of souls. Nothing energizes a church like a generation of children who love Jesus.
Opening Doors for the Gospel
Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse has established church networks in over 100 countries to empower pastors, train teachers, supply Bibles, and prepare the way for those who preach the Gospel.
Children often invite their parents to attend the churches where they received their shoeboxes. Many struggling families and broken marriages have been restored as mothers and fathers discover how deeply Jesus loves them.
Samaritan’s Purse developed The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson Bible study, especially for children who receive shoebox gifts. We teach them how to live for Jesus and share their faith, multiplying the Gospel among their family and friends.
We are thrilled to have Operation Christmas Child as a Change The World Sponsor at Teach Them Diligently 2015. We will be talking more about their involvement and ways you can get involved in this special ministry in the days ahead.
Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.
Yes, I want more from this Homeschooling Community!