Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
I heard her before I saw her in the parking lot that day. She wasn’t yelling but rather pleading; pleading with the oldest of her three children to stop jumping, stop running, stop yelling, stop poking, stop flopping… stop Stop STOP!
I smiled at her and the “oldest” who appeared to be about three. I went inside and it wasn’t long before I heard the familiar chorus of “Stop Devon” rising above the crowd. It was one of those times that God quieted me and said, “Tammy look at her. Really SEE her.” She looked to be in her 20’s with three children who appeared to be 3, 2, and an infant in her carseat. This totally explained the exhausted look and pleas for compliance she continually looped to her children. I captured the blue ball that Devon threw down the aisle and returned it to him. I put my hand on mama’s shoulder and said, “How are you today mama? Looks like you’ve had a pretty active day. Are you doing allright?” She looked at me with bloodshot eyes and and quivering lip and began to cry. I put my shopping basket down and wrapped my arms around her while she sobbed on my shoulder.
Was it awkward? A little. Two grown women, complete strangers hugging in the middle of the grocery store with two children swirling around us had to seem odd to at least one of the 20,000 people crammed into that store for Black Friday deals. She explained how her cat had destroyed their small artificial tree, her husband was away for weeks at a time for work, the baby was allergic to anything and everything, and the bank was at $-17.00 til Monday. She had $22.00 in cash for gas, some organic veggies to make baby food with, and to buy washcloths to use instead of wipes for baby girl who smiled endlessly the entire time. Devon and little brother created their own vortex in the aisle wrestling around and somehow avoiding displays and product pyramids. We hugged some more, talked about her strength and worth. She allowed me to bless her babies with a gift card and we eventually parted ways. That night I prayed for my new friend.
I felt as though I could have done more and hoped that someone else would be able to pick up where I left off in caring for this girl’s tender heart.
The following day I listed some items for sale on a website for our area. Baby clothes and toys had been collecting dust in a corner of my house and the extra cash would come in handy for Christmas. A buyer set up a time to meet me that night and as I drove up I recognized her right away, along with Devon and the other two sweet children. I walked over to her and hugged her marveling at God’s impeccable timing and divine placement. I didn’t make any extra cash that day. But I made a new friend and God made an astounding impression on both of us as He wove our paths together to reveal Himself on a mission of love and friendship. You can bet I didn’t leave that particular divine appointment until I felt assured that I had done everything we were both placed there to do. Social Media has ensured that I don’t lose her either.
This world is chaotic and time is of the essence when it comes to sharing the Hope and Love of Jesus. We don’t always get second chances so we simply MUST be ready to love on those around us and shed light on the glorious fact that our Lord meets us right where we are; whether we are filled with hate, filled with love, drowning in depression, struggling with kids, questioning our sanity, or crying in the middle of a grocery store. Take every chance you’ve got. Anything less is wasting time and this is literally a life and death situation. Stand ready. Your chance is coming today. Guaranteed.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.