Noooo, I'm not referring to the recent disgusting scandal associated with the furry red guy. That's just really coincidental and certainly very bad timing for this story.... In fact, maybe when you read this story, you'll have a far more pleasant association to imprint in your brain. And more importantly, in your heart! Settle in, it's a bit long this time, but I hope you are encouraged and find it worth your time.
Several weeks ago, when I started promoting our Holiday Open House, I added the pretty red invitation as a picture into my Purchase With a Purpose yard-sale album on F@cebook. My thought was to allow folks from my different blogging and on-line communities to access the details since that album is set to "Public." I then shared that particular picture in several of my on-line groups.
The next day, a member of the Creating a Family forum contacted me. I didn't know her personally but had had several pleasant interactions with her on this forum and she usually posted very hope-filled, encouraging things to folks in the discussions in which we mutually participated. But that's all I knew of her.
Turns out, in her note, she indicated that she wanted to "invest" in our adoption journey but didn't need or want to buy any of the items being sold at the Open House. She wondered if I'd be okay with sending her my address so that she could send me a monetary gift directly. Before I even could respond to that with a yay or nay, she popped another message right back into my inbox and said something like, "Never mind, I want to buy that ELMO TMX toy for $100.You can send it to this address and I'll send you the check when I get the toy." Apparently, she'd been paging through the whole on-line yard sale album and found the furry little guy. She was convinced he'd be perfect for a little friend of hers, so I packaged him up and sent him off the next morning.
Frankly, that morning I made a conscious choice to keep my expectations of this transaction really low. It was certainly nothing personal to her or her promise, but I know how life gets and I know that sometimes things don't work out the way we think they will. So when I sent Elmo out the door and on his way in his snug little box, I did so with a prayer and a release. I was determined to be okay with whatever came of this interaction with this virtual stranger.
Cut to this past weekend. I hopped on the forum to check up on any new news. I was heart-broken to read that this same gal had recently experienced a very difficult situation in her own quest to build her family. I had no words, beyond a simple apology and prayer for comfort. I prayed for her right then and there while I was logging out. I moved on to preparing for our Holiday Open House and frankly forgot all about Elmo or the stranger for the time being.
Tuesday afternoon, I opened the mail to find a check from this virtual stranger. Only, it wasn't for $100.
No. Friends, instead, God showed up in a Holy SWOOP of love and generosity.
The check was for $200.
You did not read that wrong. This total stranger, who loves adoption and loves God, sent our family TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.
That, my friends, is GOD.
I mean, who else would tell a total stranger to send TWO STINKIN' HUNDRED DOLLARS for a furry, red, crazy noisy toy to another total stranger?? And a SECOND-HAND toy to boot!
Certainly NOT anyone I know. Or rather, any human I know. It reminds me of the verse in I Corinthians:
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." I Corinthians 1:27
I can't think of much that is more foolish than a crazy, slightly freaky Elmo TMX. And I am totally okay with being "shamed" by my very low expectations of the transaction. Cuz it ended up show-casing a kind of glory and love that few of us really fully know without events such as this happening to get our attention.
That, my friends, is God. And only God.
You see, the other piece to this amazing crazy story is that just Tuesday morning, I was sharing with a friend that God had been showing me how important it is for me to keep my focus on Him. To keep my heart and mind pure of negativity; to flee from vain imaginations that only become distractions to the purposes to which He has called me. To rise above the "human" element of things like our adoption journey and parenting, and keep my eyes trained on HIM and His heart for my family. I had been at our denomination's annual women's retreat on Friday and Saturday. While the event was amazing and refreshing and re-charging in many, many ways, the big take-away that I had was that I was coming into that retreat "battle weary." And that I was there to be reminded just how INTENTIONALLY He pursues me. How DETAILED and EXPLICIT He is in His desire for ME and for relationship with ME. It was like I got a re-charge of "He Loves Me" down to my tippy toes. I was sharing that with my sweet friend on that same morning, as we encouraged each other by phone on this long journey to our little ones.
And then in the afternoon, this check arrived in the mailbox. A gift from a stranger. But make no mistake about it. That gift was from God. And as long as I have breath in my body, I will give HIM the glory and honor and credit for reminding me of His love in such a sweet, and tangible way. I am incredibly grateful to this stranger who listened to His voice and obeyed, even in the midst of her own painful circumstances. It is humbling in all the best possible ways.
Only God knew when Elmo left the building just what his trip across the country would come to mean for this momma.