Jul 30 2013

God Took the Dream of a Young Boy and Made it a Reality!

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NIV

Miracles still happen…every day. We were so very blessed to be right in the middle of one over the weekend as we saw God taking the dream of my Josh and making it a reality! I witnessed the Lord working through the Body of Christ and I am still in awe!

Here’s what happened…

This past December I was sitting in church with my boys watching a missions video giving us a glimpse of what life is life in some of the communities over seas and how we can help the special people who have answered the call to bring the Gospel to people who need it most. Josh leaned over and whispered to me with his heart in his voice…”Mom, our family needs to raise money to help them. It is important.” I gave him a hug and told him I understood and that we would talk about it after the service.

He didn’t forget. As soon as the service was over he started talking about what he wanted to do. He felt that we needed to give the missions $600. Now you need to understand something…we live on a VERY limited income. I am a disabled widow with two young boys. My husband would say that we live a missionary lifestyle and do the best with what God blesses us. I would absolutely love to donate $600 to the missions but don’t have the money to do it. 

But there is something else you need to know. Our family makes goals to help mission organizations for each year. We have a passion for helping spread the Gospel in our community and around the world. Josh knew that and felt strongly that this is one of the goals we should have for 2013. I swallowed hard and told him that it would take a lot of work to reach a goal that size and I wasn’t sure that our family could manage it. He looked at me with complete confidence and told me that God would help us make it happen. Wow. 

And so it began…

We talked about having a little yard sale and lemonade stand as a family to get started in the summer. Josh had big dreams for how much money we could raise doing it…I didn’t want him to be disappointed…so I prayed about it on a regular basis asking God to help us know how to do this.

A few weeks later, after Christmas, Josh told his Bible Club at our church what his goal was and what our family was doing with a yard sale and lemonade stand to raise money for the missions. His enthusiasm was contagious and the leaders came to me and told me that the kids wanted to help us raise the money for Josh’s missions goal. I was surprised but happy to accept the help and we began talking about it informally…but nothing set in stone yet.

In the weeks before Easter, our church had mission moment videos sharing what is happening around North America with mission efforts in rural and deep in the inner cities. With tears in my eyes, I looked at Josh and whispered “Daddy was ordained a missionary a month before he went home to heaven and our family would have been one of those missionary families”. He whispered back, “we need to help them too, Mom. Would you like that?” I smiled through the tears and nodded in agreement and he gave me a hug.

So it was decided…we would raise $600 and split the money between the International Missions collection at Christmas 2013 and the North American Missions collection at Easter 2014. In my mind that gave us a year to complete our goal. Josh had other plans…he wanted to raise it all during the lemonade stand and yard sale and he was sure we could do it. He had a God sized plan.

Our family continued to pray about it and started sorting through our things…we didn’t have much we could sell. But God had a solution ready. One Sunday evening near the end of May, I was approached by our church choir director who told me that the choir had heard about what we were doing and wanted to know how they could help.She asked me to come talk to the choir and explain what we were doing and what we needed. During that conversation with the choir, our small family yard sale with help from a few children’s families started to grow even more. It was decided that we would have a Yard Sale/Bake Sale/Lemonade Stand and do it on July 27th, Saturday.

No one made a list of names of who was bringing what…people just wanted to help. One of the Kids for Christ Bible Club leaders announced that we would have the yard sale/bake sale/lemonade stand each Sunday after that and I would stand up and tell about them about Josh’s goal and what we still needed help with. It was decided that we would have it in the front yard of our church so that we would have good traffic coming by and have “more room” for everything.

Now mind you, I have planned events and fundraisers in the past and did it in a very organized fashion. This even was different. The past few months have been very busy and emotional times for our family. In April we faced our wedding/family anniversary, in May we faced my first Mother’s Day, Annie’s high school graduation, and Will’s birthday all with him in heaven for the first time. In June we faced our first Father’s Day with him gone. And in July…the ONE YEAR anniversary of Will’s homegoing and the traumatic car accident that the boys and I survived by a miracle but were all seriously injured on the 15th. Then my family headed out of town on the 19th to be with my Dad and Step Mom for their 25th Wedding Anniversary party the weekend before the yard sale. (They had delayed it because it is falls on the same day as our accident’s anniversary.)

So God took care of the planning for me…

A couple of days before we left for our trip we posted signs advertizing the missions sale around the neighboring towns. People were very interested and businesses were happy to put up the signs. We didn’t get back into town until three days before the big Yard Sale event and I had no idea how much stuff we would have to sell…and we were completely exhausted from our trip. I advertised on Facebook and asked people everywhere to be praying for God’s hand to be on it…but we didn’t know what we had to work with until we went up to the church on Friday morning to start sorting and preparing for the next morning and to drop of the donations my mom had brought to my house and the small amount of things our own family had to donate.

When we walked into the Fellowship Room of our church my mouth fell open and eyes filled with tears of amazement. Tables and the floor were covered in items donated to be sold in our yard sale. And in the middle of it all stood Becky, one of the Bible Club leaders. We couldn’t believe our eyes! She explained that people started bringing things in on their own and it had been coming in all week. WOW! On top of that…everything that had been donated was in great condition and there were even many antiques, valuable handbags, and furniture among many other things.

The look on the boys’ faces was beautiful. Their eyes were the size of saucers. And we all just kept saying “Wow.” I looked at her and at the boys and said, God is blessing this. As the tears ran down my face I told her how awesome it is when the Body of Christ catches the dream to serve and help spread the Gospel. They all wanted to help Josh reach his dream goal! Such a selfless God-sized goal!

I hadn’t had enough time to bake as much as I wanted to have for the bake sale, but Becky told me that several women had mentioned that they would bring some baked goods in when they dropped off their donations and at church the previous Sunday. I wasn’t sure how much we would have but I was grateful for whatever it would be.Josh and I looked at each other and suddenly it hit us that we would have to get all of these amazing donations out of the building and tables set up, sale items set up all before the start time of 7:30am the next morning. Again, I hadn’t thought we would have that much so I hadn’t pinned down any helpers. We put it in God’s hands and trusted that He would take care of it.

The rest of the day it poured down rain. We started praying immediately for good weather and I spread the word on Facebook for prayer for the weather and the day.

The next morning, the boys and I arrived at 6:00am and sat in the parking lot waiting for Becky and her husband to arrive to open the church. At 6:10am the boys and I walked inside with Becky to find a huge counter filled with baked goods for the bake sale and MORE donations for the yard sale!!!  Within fifteen minutes, an entire crew of people arrived to help! More God sized answers to prayers!!!

In total throughout the day we had more than twelve adult volunteers and four children!!!!!

Someone donated a lock box for money and filled it with all of the change we needed and I noticed there $20s, $10s, $5s, and $1s under the change tray too to start off the day.

We had two full tables of baked goods to sell!

We had nine large tables filled with great items that were donated to sell and a huge area on the side walk filled too…in addition to two racks filled with clothes some of which came from a women’s special clothing store that valued approximately $78 retail each!!!

I taught the kids to make homemade lemonade and they had a ball selling it at the beginning of the day and then giving a free glass with every purchase as the day progressed.

The weather was perfect!

And one of our dear deacons was there helping set up and stayed the entire day working and making balloon animals for all of the children who came to the sale…and made balloon swords for the children who were working which they enjoyed so much!

Our pastor and his wife were there for most of the day in the middle of everything working too…and I was so blessed to watch him visit with customers from our community who were sharing the struggles of their hearts with him. My prayer was that this would be an event that touched the lives of our community with God’s love in addition to raising money to helping missionaries all over the world. Again my prayers were answered.

I saw the joy and love of serving in the eyes of the volunteers that day…young and old alike. Our youngest volunteer was five and the older ranged in their late seventies. The day was filled with story telling, meeting new people, encouraging people, and laughter, lots of laughter.

My strength was completely depleted by 2:00pm when I realized I had been running on fumes for a few hours after accidentally dozing off in a chair. I knew I needed to get home and get a nap as every inch of my body hurt but I felt bad about leaving these precious people. They insisted that we go home and get some rest.

At the end of the day, our church treasurer who is also our choir director and a dear friend sent me a private message on Facebook. We ended the day with $535 dollars…and the donations were still coming in is what she told me. By the end of this week no one doubts that we will have reach my dear son’s God Sized Goal of $600…in ONE day!

All of this started with a nine-year old boy wanting to help the missionaries…He had a God Size dream goal. One there was no way we could do on our own. In the midst of our grieving and healing God worked through Josh to give us a way to focus on how we could spread the Gospel instead of focusing only on what we have lost. My husband’s legacy was his passion for bringing the Gospel to people in our communities and around the world. And he was a man who never dreamed small…he knew how to listen to God and dream God Sized dreams. It was in working on this goal and watching God make it happen that more healing happened in our hearts.

I am in awe at how God worked through a young boy to inspire an entire community of believers to be the hands and feet of Jesus to bring his dreams…which became their dream…to reality so that we can help spread the Gospel around this nation and around the world.

The next morning at church Becky and I shared the story of what happened and announced the total money raised and that it was still coming in! They congregation was covered in smiles and the room was filled with their affirmation and applause. Nothing is impossible with God. He is always faithful and always right on time!

So I end this with more tears of gratitude and I remind you…God can do what seems impossible to us. No matter how young or how old we are. No matter what our limitations may be. As Josh says…Little Guys really can do big things with God!

What is it that God is calling you or your family to do with Him? What’s stopping you from stepping out in faith and going for it? I am so, so glad we did! Nothing is impossible with God!

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Abiding in His Grace,

Mary Joy

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2013/07/30/god-took-the-dream-of-a-young-boy-and-made-it-a-reality/

  • Janice VanHorne Lane

    That is awesome! God says we should have the faith of a child. I think your son proved that! But now you have my curiosity up! How much did you raise?

  • Janice VanHorne Lane

    Oh, nevermind. Somehow my mind read over that paragraph. =)