I read a beautiful book recently that detailed stories of the author’s life in a Middle Eastern country. On a particular day of a difficult season, she asked God to keep her company by showing up in some way. Three days later, she received a box in the mail from her friends in the States. The contents of that box spelled love by way of encouraging notes, nail polish, CD’s, snacks from Target, magazines, and gifts for her kids. The author writes,
“Who says you shouldn’t put God in a box.” ~ Leeana Tankersley, Breathing Room
I’ve come to see that sometimes, putting God in a box is the best thing you can do.
Five months ago, I turned 40. In honor of that momentous birthday, I invited others to partner with me to send 40 care packages to 40 military spouses. I picked this particular group of people to support for a couple reasons. First, as a woman who spent almost 19 years as a military wife, I recognize how military spouses share in part of the sacrifice. I wanted to honor other spouses’ sacrifices by saying thank you in some way.
Second, I wanted to give this gift to a few military spouses because in the opinion of yours truly, they are a forgotten people group. They often go unheard and feel unseen. Combine that with war weariness and various everyday realities of military life, and there exists a cocktail that when fully ingested can have devastating consequences.
I wanted to do one small thing that would move in the opposite direction of that.
I wanted to give our community here at Chasing Blue Skies a way to show military spouses they are seen and appreciated. It’s a small gesture, really, an offering of loaves and fishes for a small number of hardworking wives and husbands.
But God moves just as powerfully in the small as in the big. So bolstered with prayers and support from wonderful folks like you (as well as the amazing Pure Charity), this project grew wings and left the ground. Before long my family and I boxed up all the delicious-for-the-stomach-and-soul happy and sent the packages off into the wild blue yonder.
And in a manner of days, I saw how our loaves and fishes multiplied into big blessings for the hands that received them.
Sending something like this was a kind thing to do for others–it shows military spouses they are loved and valued.
Sending something like this was a kind thing to do for you and me–it shows us how we can be the vessel through which God shows up.
Indeed: who says you shouldn’t put God in a box? It feels good and right to do so, to create a space for him to be seen and valued.
So others know they are seen and valued, too.
I sure love you, friends. Thanks for holding my hand and heart on this one. xo
(A standing ovation to all the folks who kindly donated products or offered their products at a reduced price for the care packages, including Lisa Leonard, DaySpring, JRU Prints, Be Small Studios, Cheryl Clanahan, Jocelyn Green, and Ellie Kay.)
If you are a military wife looking for additional encouragement, check out my Resource Page for Military Wives (and Those Who Love Them).
Susan G. says
What an awesome idea! Brings back the times our “Support Our Troops” team (Republican Women) send off boxes to our deployed military. Time well spent on thanking our local military men and women. We can never thank them enough!
Bless you as you keep blessing others!
What a blessing. I would feel so blessed and loved if I ever received a care package like that. I am sure each of those women felt loved and treasured.
Julie Joiner says
Thank you for following the leading of the Holy Spirit and blessing so many. Today a young lady named Caity sat in my dining room and told me how she was blessed by a gift box from Kristen Strong. “Kristen Strong the blogger?!” was my reaction. I am mentoring Caity. Well, she may not know it, but she is also mentoring me. Your gift came to her at a much needed time. Tears come to my eyes as I try to find a way to say thank you for blessing my dear friend.
And tears come to my eyes as I read this. Thank you for gifting me with this part of the story, Julie. I can’t imagine all the ways you bless her with your mentoring friendship. What treasures you both are.
Diane Bailey says
Kristen, You are such a good wife. I know your husband is wild in love with you! It was great to see you at Allume. Wish we lived closer.
Holley Gerth says
I love your beautiful heart and how you love others so intentionally. You are a blessing and joy!