The Berenstain Bears Convict Me

One of the books on my daughter’s shelf is The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need. In this book, Mama Bear decides the family has too much stuff. Like dolls without heads. And puzzles and games no one plays anymore. When Papa complains about rubber ducks in the bathtub and Fast Wheels cars on the stairs, the cubs point out that Papa has seventeen fishing poles and stacks of fishing magazines in the attic. When Mama groans at Papa’s excuses, Papa asks about Mama’s bits of yarn and cloth she’s never going to use. The Bear family then sets out to give away their unused stuff to others who will use it.

I was reading this book to my daughter one day a couple weeks ago. When I read the part about Mama Bear’s “bits of yarn and cloth,” I felt an inward stab. I have lots of bits of yarn, cloth, ribbon, buttons, stickers, paper . . .

I like to make things. Sometimes I’ve completed a project and stashed the leftover materials. Sometimes I’ve bought materials for a project I never started.

When I read The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need earlier this month, it was like God tapped me and said, “You need to let go of all these things in your stash. You keep thinking you’ll use them someday, but there are people waiting to use them today.”

So I’ve been working to turn those crafty bits into things others can use. Because I had earlier looked at the donation guidelines for our local children’s hospital, I knew they wanted craft kits for the patients.

January 8. I started sorting stickers. I made two booklets from copy paper and cardstock. I put each booklet into a baggie of loosely themed stickers.

January 9. I made more booklets.

January 12. Today’s giveaway is five more notebooks with bags of stickers.

January 14. Today I made four kits for beaded bookmarks. I used instructions I found online; cut the string; and packaged the instructions, strings, and beads in individual baggies.

January 16. Today’s giveaway: five beaded bracelet kits for the children’s hospital.

January 17. I made three bracelet kits and two paper doll kits. I printed the paper dolls out and packaged them with scraps of fabric, ribbon, and buttons. The girls can design their own clothes for their dolls and glue them on.

January 19. Two paper doll kits, ten bracelet kits, two bead necklace kits, ten ribbon necklace kits, six paper bookmark kits. I am way ahead on my “quota” for the month, and I’ve barely made a dent in my craft supply stash.

Forgive me, God, for so grossly underestimating the amount of stuff I have which I’m not using but which someone else can. Help me be more judicious in the future, God. I don’t think I’ll finish sorting through everything by the end of this month. Help me continue, Lord, even if it’s at a slower pace.

January 21. I am sad today that I have held onto some things for years for no good reason. But it makes me happy to see my box of donations growing so that kids who are stuck in the hospital have something fun to occupy their time. Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?

2 thoughts on “The Berenstain Bears Convict Me

  1. “…it was like God tapped me and said, “You need to let go of all these things in your stash. You keep thinking you’ll use them someday, but there are people waiting to use them today.” ”

    Thanks for this post today, Rachelle. I have been working on letting go of all the clutter in my house, and have made lots of progress with things I know I’m not going to need like old bank statements, or stored furniture I know I won’t want to use again. The hardest things to part with are the ones I keep telling myself I will use some day, like my wool stash – I justify it by thinking that if I have to replace it someday it will cost me money I don’t have, but I need to just let go of these things too, and give them to someone who needs them TODAY instead of holding on to them in case I want them some day in the future. If I need them later God will provide, and in the meantime I am depriving someone else who could be making use of them.

    • Yes, I don’t know if you read the beginning of this experiment, but these are exactly the kind of thoughts that prompted it. As I prayed about where I needed to grow in faith, my thoughts kept returning to this idea that God can provide anything I should need. And if I really believe that, I must act on it.

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