so we've been on the heavy duty receiving end of gift-giving lately. without name dropping, i need to share these miracles.
you see, some things you keep to yourself. like, we are struggling financially in a serious way. mostly, it is just annoying to talk about. but sometimes, its embarrassing, or just not a thought. but i shared this little secret with a friend not too long ago, and the love, generosity and blessing that flowed forth were breath-taking.
i received a box. in it, was a bag of fresh coffee, a book for the family (the tale of despereaux) and a card. i called chris at work to share the message of the card. slid open then envelope, pulled out the card and found another envelope. different handwriting. different friends. two gift cards for trader joe's. in big amounts. i burst into tears. then i see the check. another big amount. very big. big enough to cover our bills this month. and buy the kids christmas gifts. and take us all out for breakfast. and buy our christmas tree. all of this was from a group of friends. people we don't speak with all the time. however, they are all folks who have carried this family through the past couple of years in prayer. and now in very generous gifts. i was so overwhelmed (as was chris). we cried in joy for hours. i shook as i stared at the handwriting. i couldn't move.
then i had to go to work. i don't share secrets often...if ever. but i couldn't hold it in. i shared this special story of god's providence with one of my violin students and his mother. as tears were in her eyes, she was overjoyed to hear of our blessings. she asked me what i wanted santa to bring me. i laughed. how could i even want for anything! all i wanted to do now was buy the kids their gifts. they both have been asking for bikes for a while...so that is what we were going to do. she begged me not to buy stella one - she had a hand-me-down in perfect shape...she'd drop it off on wednesday!
on wednesday, i went into my studio and found a gold box. i thought is was candy. you know, hershey's pot-of-gold or something. nope. i opened it to find a catalog for the local bike shop and a $200 gift certificate. signed, santa. (sorry rachel, but i'm now with francis! hee hee !) i again burst into tears...and went to tell the receptionist. something about this kind of news requires sharing. she was so happy and excited. all she kept asking is "what can i do?" in laughter, i said nothing! i went to the bathroom to clean up my runny eyes and returned to find a big gift basket from her. she had been to an auction that morning and won this in the raffle. two george and martha books and the stuffed animals to go along. now i had a gift for under the tree, she said.
so today, chris and i went to workman's bikes and got stella a "big girl" bike. brand new. schwinn, with a basket, streamers and sparkles. i cannot wait for christmas morning.
all this to say, it's not about the material stuff. AT ALL. in fact, we were fine not having a thing. we are happy to be together. to have god taking care of us all. but we realized that's not all god has for us. he has this body and it works. may we be able to bless others one day, the way our very dear friends have blessed us.
thank you all....from the depths of my heart (and chris' heart. and stella's heart. and eli's dear little heart, too.)