How This Story
Came to Be
When I first became a Christian, one of the hardest things for me to do was give my burdens to the Lord. I would worry over all kinds of things. I remember a friend talking about putting prayers in a lunch bag, and that got me thinking. One of the many jobs I had held was that of a secretary, and I remembered the "in" and "out" boxes. From that memory came the idea of a "God box." I took an ordinary cardboard container with a lid and covered it with beautiful wrapping paper. Then I cut a slot in the top. Whenever something was bothering me greatly and I couldn't let it go, I would write out a prayer about it. Then I would tuck the written prayer into the God box. Sometimes my husband and my children would write prayers and tuck them into the box as well. It was amazing to me how this physical exercise helped me give up worries and burdens to the Lord. Every few months I would open the box and read the prayers. What I found was a source of great joy and comfort, for many of the prayers were answered, often in completely unexpected ways.
My God box gave me the idea for "The Shoe Box." While I put worries and burdens in my box, I wanted Timmy to put blessings and praises in his box as well. It reminded me that there are all kinds of prayersworship and praise as well as cries for help. Scripture says the prayers of believers are the sweet scent of incense to the Lord.
Timmy carried it everywhere he went. When he put it down, it was always where he could see it.
"Should we ask him about it?" Mary said to her husband.
"No. He'll talk to us about it when he's ready," David said, but he was as curious as she was.
Even Mrs. Iverson, the social worker, was curious about the shoe box. She told Mary and David that Timmy had the box when the policeman brought him to the Youth Authority offices. Timmy's dad was put in prison. His mom had a job, but she didn't make enough to take proper care of Timmy. A lady in the apartment house where he lived found out he was by himself all day and reported it to the police.
"They brought him to me with one small suitcase of clothes and that shoe box," Mrs. Iverson said. "I asked him what was inside it, and he said, `Things.' But what things he wouldn't tell me."
Even the children at Timmy's new school were curious about the box. He didn't put it in his cubbyhole like things the other children brought. He would put it on top of his desk while he did his work.
His first grade teacher, Mrs. King, was curious, too. "What do you have there, Timmy?"
"My box," he said.
"What's in your box?"
"Things," he said and went on with his arithmetic.
Mrs. King didn't ask him about the box again. She liked Timmy, and she didn't want to pry. She told Mary and David that Timmy was a good student. He wasn't the brightest by far, but he always did his best work. Mrs. King admired that about Timmy. She wrote a note to him about it on one of his math papers. "Other students will learn by your example," the note said, and she drew a big smiling face on his paper and gave him a pretty, sparkly star sticker.
Mary Holmes learned that Timmy liked chocolate chip cookies, so she kept the cookie jar full. Timmy would come home from school on the yellow bus and sit at the kitchen table, the box under his chair. Mary always sat with him and asked him about his day while he had milk and cookies.
Timmy asked Mary one day why she and David didn't have any children of their own. Mary said she had asked God the same question over and over. She said while she waited for an answer, she was thankful to have him.
Every evening when he came home from work, David played catch with Timmy in the backyard. Timmy always brought the box outside with him and set it on the lawn chair where he could see it.
Timmy even took the shoe box with him to Sunday school. He sat between Mary and David, the box in his lap.
When he went to bed at night, the shoe box sat on the nightstand beside his bed.
Timmy got letters from his mother twice a week. Once she sent him ten dollars and a short note from his father. Timmy cried when Mary read it to him because his father said how much he missed Timmy and how sorry he was that he had made such a big mistake. Mary held Timmy on her lap in the rocking chair for a long time.