Memorial Box Monday is here again! I am absolutely loving all the stories you guys are posting in the comments!! So amazingly wonderful! I know I've said this a million times (okay, maybe not a million to you sweet friends) but really, truly, when the rubber hits the road....it's the many, many, many stories of God's faithfulness that matter. The times He has intervened on our behalf. The times He has healed. The times He has provided miraculously. Or how about the times He has shown up with an amazing surprise?
And it just so happens to be an amazing surprise that I have to tell you about this Memorial Box Monday.....and it is a little wooden Christmas tree that is a symbol in our Memorial Box of this story......
It was December of 1996 and we had just packed up our stuff a few months prior (including our five kids - Abi, Tyler, Autumn, Emma & Graham) and moved from where we were pastoring in Charlotte, NC back to Virginia to plant a church. We were giving up our salary in NC and praying like crazy that the church would be able to pay us something before too long. And for the record, our bank account was empty. It was purely an act of faith and obedience that took us to Virginia to plant that church!
As Christmas was coming we wondered what we would do for gifts. We had had many, many lean years since we were married but given the circumstances it was indeed the leanest of all. Like way lean. We weren't losing sleep over Christmas gifts, but we wondered what Christmas would look like.
Someone had graciously given us a tree off their property (it's a tradition to cut one down for our family) and truly it was the most Charlie Brown tree ever. It had a few branches and even those were basically bare. Every time we would look at that tree we would laugh hysterically. Even Charlie Brown probably wouldn't pick our tree, but we loved it - and were thankful for it. We were also just so thankful that we were there to plant a church among some of the sweetest people on Earth.
Christmas Eve arrived and the tree was still bare underneath. It was weird. I remember just not really being all that concerned. It just seemed that the Lord was going to do something sweet, no clue what, but He just loves to bless His kids who are being obedient.
Christmas Eve arrived and just as dusk was approaching we heard bells. You know the kind!?! Sleigh bells!!! And they sounded so beautiful. We lived out in the country in a little teeny, tiny house we were renting and so it was usually pretty quite up and down the dirt lane we were living on.
What were those bells and where were they coming from?? We ran to the door and threw it open to see and as we flung the door open we saw a guy in a red Santa suit shaking the leather strap of bells and running from the house. I laugh thinking about it as I type. Truthfully, we don't "do" Santa Claus....but let me tell you that year we almost became believers. haha
We didn't even get to see his face, he really was gone in a flash.....and as he rode away we looked and there in front of the door were huge bags filled with wrapped and labeled presents. *tears welling* Yes, "Santa" had surprised the daylights out of us and left bags of treats for each of us -from Dw down to baby Graham, we all had several very special things to open on Christmas Day....it was amazing!!!
It was one of the sweetest surprises we have ever had in our 31 years. We look back on it and laugh with delight at what a blessed treat the Lord gave us that year. He was looking out for us and blessing us with good things just because. Just because He loves us. Just because He cares. Just because He wants to surprise his kids. We are forever grateful for our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God who every now and then surprises us with special treats!! Yippee Jesus!!
And just for one last reminder.... if you have not signed up for the Memorial Box giveaway to possibly win one of the Memorial Boxes I found on our RV (not!) trip then enter by leaving a comment. If you want an extra entry post a story of God's faithfulness in your life. Some of you told stories both weeks - I LOVE IT! Please don't be bashful....enter again....it is such an encouragement for all of us who read them....... Infact one of the stories ministered to a deep need I have at this very moment and as I read it to Dw I bawled.......and soon I will tell you about that.....it made me cry my eyes out and spoke to my deep and very real need. I knew it was the Lord speakin' directly from one of you!! So cool.....so share your stories!! Do it!
And if per chance you are new to A Place Called Simplicity and are wondering what a Memorial Box is you can read about it here.