With Night to Shine looming in just 3 short months, now is the time of year things start really ramping up in preparation for this awesome event. As you may be aware, last year we decided to launch a boutique to go along with Night to Shine. Because of generous donations and a lot of volunteer sweat, a few weeks before the event we were able to open up the doors and invite in the participants to shop for their formal wear. This year, we want to do it again.
Writing these things is never easy for me. And in this case, for two reasons. One, I’ve been asked to let this be personal (if I feel so inclined) and two, I’m going to ask for help. Two of the most natural things for me to do. (If you know me at all, you know I’m not serious about that last statement.) And here’s the thing, friends. I tried to write this without making it personal, but I just can’t, because it is incredibly personal. And as such, there’s no way I can avoid asking you to share my passion for this….and that’s where the request for help comes in.
The dynamic here is that we are serving a community that may never be able to repay us and I think that is exactly as it should be. This is the epitome of being Jesus to those around us! Allow me to paint a picture for you regarding last year’s boutique. We had to prepare to serve a couple hundred people, so we gathered more than enough. The team’s prayer going into the event was that we would have the appropriate styles and sizes to suit our participants and that no one would leave empty-handed. Can I just tell you how God showed up for that? We had around 20 "shoppers," and while some of them were super psyched, some of them were clearly skeptical. We fielded quiet questions from caregivers (‘Is this really free? Because we don’t have the money to pay you for this’). We watched as each lady or gentleman came out of the fitting room, some strutted their stuff, some appeared sheepish- a little embarrassed to be attracting so much attention. Some found the “right” outfit in one try, and others enjoyed (or not, really, depending on the individual) an elaborate trying-on of nearly every article in his or her size. All but one person left with an outfit that looked as if it had been made for him or her. No hemming and no adjusting necessary, and not one compromised on what he or she felt confident in. If you’ve ever done formal wear shopping, you know alterations are almost always necessary, and you may not find that exact “look” you were going for. The fact that this went so seamlessly… that, folks, is nothing short of divine intervention!
So about those 20-ish people. As Christians, I think we sometimes fall into the trap of believing our efforts can be measured in their worth to the Kingdom by the number of our turnout. From a business standpoint, I suppose that makes perfect sense. But from my perspective, that evening of serving the few, was just as God had intended. Perhaps this year we will have more; perhaps less. But I can assure you I would do it all over again—happily and joyfully—for far fewer a number. Because to create an atmosphere of joy and love, and to know it isn’t about me or how it makes me feel, cannot be measured in the number of people who came. It can only be measured by the effect sharing God’s love can have on a person that may never be able to repay us. That, my friends, is priceless. That is our purpose.
So, please, consider donating items you may no longer have a use for. For me, I know that can be challenging. Formal wear is expensive! And “what if” I get another chance to get some use out of it? Well, I have chosen to believe that as God is using me to provide for others, so He will provide for me should the need arise. If you’d like to see those items put to good use, consider volunteering for a shift. The boutique will take place on January 11, 2019 from noon-6pm, here at TCC. Contact Amber Bellamy with any questions. Amber.firstname.lastname@example.org