Today's post was written by Sheri Stephens.

Last November, our small group became involved in a wonderful ministry started by Laurie McCain delivering toiletry baskets to the residents at Olivia’s House (OH). Olivia’s House is a state run facility providing holistic care for chemically dependent women and their children. Most of these ladies come to the facility without any personal items and no way of receiving these items during the first few weeks of their stay.

The reason this ministry worked so well for our group is because our small group is mostly made up of ladies working full-time outside of the home. We wanted to be involved in a ministry we could participate during the evenings. Our group collected towels, washcloths, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, etc. We would bring items to our Wednesday night small group, and a designated person would assemble these items together each month and place in baskets to take to OH. We wanted each new resident at OH to know that someone on the outside cared about their success in the program and was praying for them. The most important item we placed in the basket was a personal note. The notes were written by individuals in our small group who would take a special interest in praying for the future recipient of each basket. We wanted to let the person know they were being prayed for and most importantly - God loves them. No matter what their circumstances may be, God’s grace is sufficient. Since we would most likely never come in contact with these new residents, we wanted to plant a seed in their heart that they are never alone when they have a personal relationship with Christ.

As I mentioned above, most of us in our group would never have the opportunity to meet these ladies or know if these baskets were truly distributed as promised by the staff. So, throughout the year, doubt and an “I need a confirmation that this is worthwhile” would pop into our heads (or at least mine). I know on more than one occasion I would discuss with the group that we needed to do something else or something more. I did not think this ministry was really making an impact. Well, without fail, God confirmed to this doubting Thomas that YES this is where I want you, and YES, you are planting seeds.

One example of confirmation happened the same week I was so adamant about going in another direction. I made the monthly delivery as usual, meaning I go up to the door, ring the bell, and one of the staff helps me unload my car - the end. This time, one of the staff asked a young lady to help me bring in the baskets. As she was unloading my car, she said, “Oh, you’re with the group that delivers these baskets. I received one when I first arrived to OH, and I really appreciate what your group is doing. It really meant a lot to me.” That is all I needed. This is the first time an OH resident helped unload my car and also the last time. God put the right person in my path to confirm that these ladies were receiving these baskets and needed them. I drove away with a huge smile on my face full a praise and thankfulness that God allowed me the opportunity to serve Him in this most precious ministry and that He orchestrated the timing perfectly to allow me a simple confirmation for me to share with my small group.

Along with the baskets we deliver each month, our group made 30 adult blankets and 12 children’s blankets last year to give out during the OH Christmas party. Throughout the year, we have continued to pray for God to lead us in ways to serve Him. This summer our group discussed making the blankets again for Christmas, but we needed to get started quickly. Then one of the ladies suggested we make blankets for only the children. Then someone suggested we do this for every child that came to OH to live with his mother throughout the year. Then someone suggested we have a Scripture verse embroidered on the back of each blanket (planting seeds). Again, I was putting on the brakes, thinking this will costs too much money for our small group. We were already spending an average of $16/basket, and blankets can average up to $10 a blanket. Then you add on stitching a verse to each blanket. We are a small group of working women, single moms, single women, and a doubting Thomas. How can this be possible? Again, keep your focus on God, and He will work out the details.

Lori Higginbotham, one of the ladies in our small group, and her son own Magic Stitches in Birmingham. She gave us a quote on how much she could do the stitching on our blankets but would need to run it by her son first. She was giving us the family discount. Well, as she was arranging the blanket on the machine to start embroidering our first “Jesus Loves Me” blanket, her son shook his head and said, “No, I don’t like it.” She looked at him thinking that he was not going to approve of us doing this at the family discount and that he was not going to like us doing these blankets all year long. To her surprise, he said that it needed to be larger. She changed frames to the next size and again he said, “No, larger.” She ended up with one of the largest frames they have, which meant she would need to do one blanket at a time on a special machine instead of 12 blankets at one time on their 12 machines. Her son said not to worry about it, for he would do each blanket himself. Each blanket takes about 2 to 3 hours to stitch on this machine. She also asked him what price to charge, and when he told her the amount to charge, she was completely shocked. The amount was even less than the family rate at the smaller frame. Wow!!! After Lori told our small group this story, there wasn’t a dry eye in the group. How amazing is His love for us. Our group went forward on the task God gave us, and He took care of the details.

God continues to confirm to our small group that we are where He wants us to serve. “God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).