Do you love this time of the year as much as I do? I have a lot of great memories from childhood until now, of time spent with family, sharing, giving, and a lot of laughter. Frankly, our family borders on crazy...that good kind of crazy though. We laugh so much it hurts. When we are all together, it's ridiculous. Those are special moments that mark our childhoods that we never forget. We take them with us into our adult years. I've posted some special pics from my childhood I wanted to share with you.
My brother and I growing up in Maryland. I loved winters in Maryland, the snow, cold, sledding, and warm memories with family. Time passes too quickly - I wish I could relive some of those great times.
I remember a couple years ago watching 4 teenage girls, who lived in our children's home at the time, sit like bumps on a log, not moving, not saying a word as all the other children excitedly dug in to their Christmas gifts. They had blank stares on their faces and I saw them whispering among each other. I was perplexed with their behavior, and quite frankly a little put off. I make a big deal about gratitude and it irks me really bad when I see ungratefulness or sore attitudes. I didn't say anything, but I kept being bothered by what I perceived as this smug attitude.
We had worked hard that year to make sure the kids had a great Christmas, one that would be marked in their memory banks for the rest of their lives. I had a great day planned. Opening gifts, games, story telling, baking, eating lots of good food, and just spending time together as a family with all these beautiful children, but these girls were really putting a damper on my plans. I couldn't hold it in any longer, I needed to know why they were acting that way. So I pulled the girls aside and asked why they seemed uninterested in participating in Christmas with the rest of the children. I told them that acting as if they are ungrateful in front of the smaller children is irresponsible and not being a good example. One of the girls began to cry, soon followed by the others. I was perplexed but I knew something else was going on that I didn't account for. One of the girls spoke up and said, "This is the first time in our lives that anyone has done anything like this for us. We've never experienced Christmas before and no one has ever given us a day like this in our entire lives. Not our mothers or fathers or anyone else, ever." We went on to talk about how they were feeling and I learned that they were completely overwhelmed with these unexplainable emotions they were feeling - so they froze unable to process all the emotion, completely overwhelmed by the love they felt. After we talked it out and had a good cry, we all went back to celebrating the day. At the end of the day the girls, along with most of the kids told us they would never forget the day for the rest of their lives. We left a good mark that day in their memory banks!
This was such a great Christmas. I remember it clearly. I had wished and hoped for that baby doll for so long. That year my wish came true. As I grew older, I knew what a financial sacrifice it took for my parents to get me that doll and it means even more to me to day than it did then.
Our children's minds are so incredibly delicate. We make marks on their little minds that last a lifetime. There is not a perfect parent. We all make mistakes. I know I've made plenty. But we have to put our kids emotional well being above anything else. Love, love, love, love your kids and then love them some more. Love takes forms in all sorts of ways - discipline, consistency, patience, grace, mercy, generosity, selfless acts, touch, compassion, etc. Parenting is tough work. One day that child, that listens and like a sponge absorbs all of your words and actions, will become an adult who will in turn one day parent a child, more than likely in the same manner in which they were exposed to growing up. I've met too many adults who have been so wounded in their childhood, it has set them up for absolute disaster in their adulthood. It takes a lot of healing and the grace of God for those minds to be redeemed from so much abuse and neglectful parenting.
If you are a parent, THAT is your ministry. He knows you aren't going to get it right 100% of the time, but He makes Himself available to you every hour of the day to help you, and give you wisdom, discernment, grace, love, patience, and determination through all the tough spots. Parents have an incredible amount of responsibility, but in Christ we have all the resources we need to do our job and raise them right, filling their memory banks with images of a loving, compassionate, generous, kind, nurturing, encouraging, and God-centered family. No matter what choices they make as an adult, you can be confident that you planted good seeds that were not sown in vain. If you're a parent that hasn't loved your children well, it's never too late, no matter how old they are. Forgiveness is the first step. It takes work, but God will pour His grace over you as you work to make it right.
For those who know my dad, he'll be so happy that I shared this picture of him from his hippie days! Here we are opening gifts together. Looks like I've unwrapped a record player. WOW, I just aged myself! Dad always had a way of making Christmas memorable.
We are still working and believing to make Christmas a great memory for some very special children. If you want to get involved to help us make that happen, it's not too late to give and help us reach that goal.
We are also praying and believing God for miracles to help us end this year meeting all of our financial obligations and move in to 2017 strong. Yes, ministries have bills too! Oh, how I wish it weren't so. But, that's reality. Will you stand with us in faith for the $10,050 we need this month in addition to the resources we could really use to launch us in to 2017? God knows all the needs! He is a God of answers, not problems. Aren't you glad for that? I wake up some mornings and think, what problems will I have to solve today? But God reminds me time and time again, He's already met my day with answers! He is the way maker. There is not a time in my life that I could ever say, well God didn't come through this time. That's just simply not the case - He ALWAYS comes through. We are children of the King of Kings. We have total access to the Kingdom of God and all it's resources. He's going to come through for you too! Hang on....it's not over and the answer is just right there within reach. Thank Him today for the solution.
As always, we love and appreciate you all so much. We hope that you are making lots of great memories with your children and family. If you are alone and don't have family to call your own, we consider you a part of ours. We love hearing from you and we want to know how we can pray for you. Please write to us and let us know! You're not alone.
God bless you all, abundantly. Karissa Washburn Bless An Orphan
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