Today I'm hands-clasped, jumping up and down excited for you to meet Abby from Fan the Flame. Writer, poet, mama, and friend, this girl won me over months back with her sweet verses and this post. She has a heart for Hungary, a passion for young people, and guess what? Abby's here today to Share Her Story.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
It was the first day of our two day 1000+ mile trip. We were traveling down the East Coast from our hometown in Pennsylvania to where we currently live in Florida. Our children are three and one and yes, on these long trips only, we let them watch that convenience our parents didn’t have…a portable DVD player.
We were only planning to travel one third of the way to my aunt’s house that first day. We decided to take a scenic route through Delaware and avoid the Washington D.C. area that has many a time been like swimming through molasses.
I had already welled up in frustration as that other convenience, GPS, kept steering us back to I-95 and south by way of our nation’s capitol. Doesn’t it understand what I am thinking? Once the new fan-dangled GPS came, our old-fashioned atlas abandoned us, so my husband and I were both trying to remember a way we hadn’t driven in years.
For a stretch we ended up on Route 13 ‘Business’. You know that way you try to bypass as it hits every town and light. We were stopped for gas and I was talking to a friend on my cell phone when a woman knocked on my car window.
She said, “Runnin’ a bit low on gas (this part mumbled), I notice you have a child and I have some books in my car that you might like. I’ll sell them to you dirt cheap.”
I was a bit confused and said, “That’s okay, I don’t think we need any right now.”
She said with a bit of a sigh, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”
She left and went into the convenience store, but I had this unsettled feeling like I should have taken her up on her offer. When my husband returned to the car, I explained a woman had knocked on my window and I didn’t quite understand, but maybe we should still try to find her and look at those books.
We pulled up for gas and she was at the next pump over with her husband. I sent my husband over to look at the books with a $5 bill and three $1 bills. She had said ‘dirt cheap’ so, if she’d take the $3 then that was what he was to give her!
As my generous-as-the-day-is-long husband returned with the books that were cool, but well used, I knew he had given her ALL of the money and I let out a huff! Our son loved the truck book with movable digger parts and our daughter clung to the Barney book, but this didn’t matter. He wasn’t supposed to give ALL of the money! She was planning to take them to a consignment shop and I knew they would have rejected them because of their condition, so we were doing her a favor.
Here’s where I highlight the stony cold of my heart by the fact that my dear husband had explained that this couple was homeless. Their building had been condemned and he felt like they were to get all $8. This woman had said to him with a smile, "We serve an amazing God!"
He had prayed at the beginning of our trip for safety and that we could bless someone somehow even in the midst of our travel. He knew God had answered, but I resisted.
We are fully supported missionaries who are being stretched right now financially, and this $8 was a part of one of the two $20 bills we received from two dear ladies at church the day before earmarked for our trip home. It was quite clear to me. That meant things we, us, OUR family needed—NOT to be given away! If my husband had his way, he’d give away our last dime, so someone has to rein him in to protect what we need to live!
Well, we are nowhere near our last dime and my husband gets the practical realities much better than I do. Everything we have has been given to us. This is very literally true for us as voluntary-supported missionaries. But, He gets it even better than that. God gives us everything and it is His to move our hearts to do with it as He leads. He understood this when we were earning two full salaries and didn’t have kids.
Well, back to our story. At this point we have our gas, but he realizes one of our tires needs air and who is also getting air for their tire? You guessed it. This same couple.
As he puts air in our tire, he talks with the husband. He finds out more of their story. Their building condemned. Out of work. Children given. over. to. the. state. Just until they can get back on their feet and bring them back home. He didn’t ask my husband for another thing and smiled with a light that only comes from faith in a good God.
My husband had gotten two sandwiches for our lunch. After this conversation, he could barely contain himself for desire to give them more. I am softening (a bit). And easily let go of our second sandwich. Then he wants to give them MORE money. Oh dear, still hard. All we have is the other $20 from the second lady at church and two $100 bills given to us for Christmas by his parents.
He wants to give at least the other $20 bill. And I am still holding on. He rebukes me with “Sweetie, God’s Word is very clear that we are to give to those in need.” Ouch. So I let go and see the smile on this man’s face and know it was the right thing to do.
But, I still have a long way to go.
As we head back on the road I am processing what’s just happened and realize how hard my heart was. I am pouring this out to this dear husband of mine, and he says, ‘but you were the one that first told me about her.’
I am so thankful for the Grace and Love and Goodness of God to give me such a man to walk side-by-side with in this life.
He knew just what I needed on the way Home.
Thank you, Abby. Haven't checked out Fan the Flame? Take a minute and click over to Abby's place.
*Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons