My 14 year old daughter and I had to stop at the store for a few items after leaving my son’s house. He suggested a store I rarely frequent, but it was on our way home and I only needed a few items.
Upon entering the store, we were solicited by people standing at the door, asking if we’d buy groceries, place them in a bag and bring back to them. I inquired, “Who will be receiving these groceries?” When they responded with “the local shelters”, it was a no-brainer for me. I gladly accepted the invitation of purchasing a few cans of food to put in the plastic sack.
As my teen daughter and I are perusing over the canned fruits, my daughter exclaims, “Mom, nobody likes peaches, get the fruit cocktail.” As I’m declaring my love for peaches, she interrupts with “And Mom, don’t get the generic ones, they deserve name brands.” This was a proud mom moment for me. I don’t know where she learned that or what prompted to her say that. Was it because she heard that from me before? Or someone else? Or did it catch a memory from deep within her? I thought about it for a moment and decided it didn’t really matter where she’d learned it, but I was marveling in the fact that she knew it, said it and lived it. I could’ve gone into a whole spiel of generic vs. name brand products (we typically buy generic ourselves); instead I chose to affirm my daughter’s exclamations with “I couldn’t agree more. I remember receiving name brand; it was like we struck gold for the day.”
I could clearly see that I needed to allow my daughter to drive this bus. She needed to pick out the items and give them to the solicitors out front. And she did. She not only got one of everything on the short list provided, but two and a few extra things, as well. Another proud Mom moment.
After the cashier finished ringing up our items, I swiped my card and she says, “Ma’am, your card has been Declined.” Say what?!?! I assumed I typed the wrong pin # so I tried again. The same response was returned. Still wanting to pay for the groceries, I walked over to the ATM to try and retrieve cash, but for the third time I got the same declined response. After calling the bank and getting everything worked out (suspicious activity on my account, but that’s a whole other post), I was able to use my debit card to purchase the groceries….finally! So we grabbed the bags and handed them to the outside can collector on our way out the door.
My daughter or I haven’t talked another thing about donating the groceries, and quite frankly it hasn’t even crossed my mind. I didn’t gloat about it, talk about it, post it (to make it ‘official’) or even tell my husband because I thought it was no big deal. Until…..
In the wee hours of a still morning about a week later, the first post on my FB newsfeed was a local shelter praising the Lord for adonation that brought their bare shelves (literally) to brimming full. As I thumbed through the pictures my eyes started to water as I realized that the groceries my daughter and I donated were part of this praise report post. I thought to myself, what a gift from the Lord, to actually see the fruits (pun intended) of our labor. There are many, many, many, many times that we don’t see the end results of our giving. God gave me the privilege to see the sea of white, tied-up grocery bags that filled the shelter’s cupboards to overflowing.
One picture in particular made me realize the magnitude of one person’s giving. If I’d have been the only one to give it would’ve never filled the shelves. But because several strangers who will probably never meet felt compelled at different times and locations and for whatever reason to fill a white grocery bag with a few canned goods, look at the outcome…..overflowing abundance!!
Experiencing this also made me reflect when I was on the receiving end of donated groceries. I realized it had been almost 10 years since I stood in waiting lines at such places crossing my fingers in hopes that I’d get enough food to make a meal for me and my two kids that night. It’s funny how a seemingly insignificant act of dropping a few canned goods in a grocery sack can lead to such feelings.
Now, I could’ve easily said forget it, left my items and walked out the door without looking back (in embarrassment) when my card was declined. Or the cashier could’ve politely asked me to move on, even through the irony of nobody else in line behind me (how odd is that in a popular grocery store). Or I could’ve walked by and ignored the man soliciting us for groceries. Or I could’ve simply said no. To which, I would’ve missed out on the gift God handed me. I didn’t realize at the time of haphazardly buying a bag of (name brand) groceries would speak to me as much as it did or quite possibly as much as it will the receiver of the goods. But God works like that.
Living through Wild Abandon for Christ,