Today was Gabby's birthday party. Back around Christmas, someone from work anonymously gave our family a big gift card to Incredible Pizza which we saved for today. (Didn't sound like fun during the Daniel Fast and this seemed like the best way to make it a memorable event!) Well, memorable is exactly what it was. Not only did Gabby have the time of her four-year-old life, but I think we executed a near-perfect ambush on their mom Ashley and her friend James. After sending out a message to my LifeGroup, some family, and close friends, we ended up having over 40 people and an seemingly endless mound of presents to demonstrate very tangibly just how much God can love a displaced little girl and an aimless young mom.
Some tactical wins to share from this attack:
- Ashley visited a different LifeChurch.tv campus and got to see that God is there to welcome her into His house even on a different side of town and with all new people.
- Her friend James who gives her rides (she's never even had a drivers' license) has never stayed any of the previous times. This time though, he came to church and sat with us. He seemed to have a fine time and commented on how much he liked the security for the kids.
- Gabby got to feel what family really feels like at a birthday. The only people she could call family before was her mom and her mom's step-dad who lives in another state. Anyone else she's ever known as family has demonstrated something far different than God's love than what she saw today.
- I got a text this afternoon from Ashley who asked me to "tell my people thanks." She said she had a really great time.
- On our way back home, Brannon and I were talking about how overwhelmed we were with the number of people who came and how cool about it all everyone was. Then he said he just realized that all of those people came as much for us as they did for Gabby. We are so tremendously blessed and grateful for friends that would dump the money on food and games but also on presents for a little girl some of them had only met once.
- Like I did on the first week we had the girls at a Christmas party for foster families, we saw the face of Jesus again today. It's so beautiful to see the body of Christ unite around a mission of love and awesome that God would honor even a relatively small group of 40 believers and incarnate His image for a misguided young mother.