It’s worth paying attention to.
Because sometimes it’s a SACRED BECKONING.
The other day I came across a great garage sale. It was a new neighbor who had just moved into a beautiful house down the street.
It was obvious that she had some great things, and because I am always on the lookout for potential staging stuff, I stopped to take a look.
True to form, shopping in a driveway turned into touring her beautiful new place and a sweet conversation about the dreams she had for it. The future she saw here.
I left with only a small portion of the things I ended up buying because I was walking. I told her I would come back later to retrieve the rest of the items.
We said our goodbyes.
Her hug was a little longer than you would normally get from a stranger and I noted a sadness in her eyes that I couldn’t quite place. Nothing in our conversation had given me a clue as to what it might be.
Two weeks passed, and with traveling and kids coming into town, I didn’t get back to her house to pick up what I’d left.
I came to the conclusion that she probably got rid of it all, tired of waiting for me to take it off her hands.
But on Saturday, I felt this strong sense of obligation that I needed to check in and let her know I hadn’t left her hanging. It was just the right thing to do, and I couldn’t put it off any longer.
Little did I know….
Jesus was prompting.
So on the way home from running errands in my paint covered overalls, I showed up at her door.
Before I even made it to the door, I was greeted on the porch by her son and a friend who were both dressed formally, which seemed a little strange for weekend attire.
I apologized for the fact that I looked like a preschool art project. Her son smiled and assured me it wasn’t a problem.
As he opened the door to let me in, he informed me that they had all just been at a funeral.
All the cars in the driveway were starting to make sense.
Never have I felt such a sense of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That my messy appearance and the lame reason that I had stopped by were completely inappropriate in this setting.
“Mom!” he called up the stairs. People were staring. I didn’t belong here, in any sense of the word. Everything about me standing in the doorway, clueless and disheveled, seemed disrespectful.
I wanted to slither back out the door and disappear.
But she was already on her way down the stairs to greet me. I apologized before she even had a chance to explain the who and what of the situation.
And then I saw them.
Her eyes were so very sad.
All I could do was hug her and whisper in her ear, “I don’t know what’s happened but I am so sorry. I’ll come back later.”
The reason I’d come seemed so insignificant and pointless.
Everything believed that the person who had died was a distant relative, an elderly person who had lived a good, long, and celebrated life.
I was not prepared for what she would tell me next.
“My son died.”
My heart stopped. An old familiar grief took hold of my soul at that moment.
My mind wouldn’t let me believe it.
Like I couldn’t let this be true for her.
This young man, 28-years-old, her sweet son with all of life in front of him, had battled cancer in various forms for the past four years. His youthful body had endured more than most of us will ever experience in a normal life span.
Aching because there was really nothing I could do, I just held her tight. She held me right back.
I asked her about her beautiful boy. His name. His story.
Because hurting mamas want to talk about their babies, the parts of their souls that have just left them to experience eternity.
Smiles came through tears as she shared his name. Her pride in who he was. All the plans he’d had in store.
She told of his high school sweetheart, sitting in the next room, who had walked the journey of cancer with him and stayed close to his side every step of the way.
On the Sunday prior, these two had said their vows and become husband and wife.
Two days later his new bride became a widow.
Precious mama shared stories of last days and moments spent with family and friends. Bedside conversations. The kind you have when time is almost up and you know it. Those things you say because you know you will never get another chance.
Everyone had gotten the time they needed to say goodbye.
It was a peaceful sendoff.
But this mommy was shaking with the pain that overtakes you when you lose a child. That excruciating sense of, “how will I possibly face tomorrow and why would I want to?”
I showed up at her door right at the time when her body was finally feeling the emotional and physical fatigue that comes after all of the arrangements and preparations have been made. After the public celebration of life has come to a close and you begin to experience the grief that sets in after everyone goes back to normal life,
knowing that your life will never be normal again.
I showed up in the most inappropriate of ways. Completely unaware. Wrong place, wrong time.
But God knew better.
He knew that if I hadn’t gone back to pick up my things, I never would have known that this mamma, just a block down the street, was hurting in indescribable ways.
That she needed someone who understood her pain.
Even someone in paint clothes.
He knew that it WAS appropriate for me to be there.
That it was not only the RIGHT PLACE, but also the RIGHT TIME.
He was COMPLETELY AWARE, even though I was not.
As I was turning to leave to let her get back to her friends and family, she stopped me.
“I actually thought of you this week,” she said.
Funny, since we had only met once prior, at her garage sale.
“I was thinking that you would be the person to ask to help me create a special memory tribute for my son. Something creative and meaningful and beautiful?”
Her smile was asking through tear-rimmed eyes.
All I came to do was pick up what I’d bought.
But I left with so much more than I’d paid for.
An opportunity to love.
A fresh chance to be a bit of salve to a hurting heart.
A new friend I could accompany on the journey down a road she has never travelled.
So, next time you feel that familiar tap on your shoulder, pay attention.
Even if it doesn’t seem like the right time or place. Even if you’re not dressed for the job, or don’t have the right words.
He will fill in the details.
You’ll discover things you never would have imagined. He will use you in ways you would never have thought possible.
And without a doubt, you will find out more about the love and wisdom of Jesus. Your faith will plant a little deeper and your trust for future steps will come a little easier….
James 2:17 – Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
John 10:27 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;