I know. That was really mean of me to leave everyone hanging like that. I was shocked how many people sent me messages via facebook trying to pry it out of me.
Let me just start by saying, since many people asked if it was a plane ticket to Paris, the ending of this story may be a little anticlimactic for you. However, that would make for a REALLY good story! So, if anyone would like to send me a ticket, I'll gladly change the ending to this story or give you your own blog post. Should I set up a paypal account on my sidebar? I kid. I kid.
OK. So, before I tell the ending (because I just love story telling and drawing things out to keep one in suspense), I'm going to tell you something I have learned about giving. There are different types of giving, and although I always feel equally grateful for any gift, there is a certain emotion that is evoked when a gift is given to you that is truly sacrificial. For example, I periodically clean out my closet and either give my unwanted clothes to a friend or to goodwill. Although this is a type of generosity, it truly isn't anything I am feeling a loss over. The same could be said for money or anything of monetary value that doesn't really put a "dent in my wallet" so to speak.
I pretty much felt like the world took care of us when I was pregnant with the twins and I'll never be able to repay the kindness. And I struggle with pride...really, really struggle with it. I don't like "needing" anyone. I would probably just drown before I asked someone to throw me a lifesaver so to speak. Being a nurse, I was called to serve. I enjoy serving. But when someone serves me...well, I just don't even know how to respond.
Am I talking in circles? Yes? I'm sorry. I'm still a little overwhelmed.
Because I know this person would never want any attention brought to this, I am going to have to be very discreet. She is a true example of Matthew 6:2. You also must understand that this is someone who I am going to guess does not have many extras in life. I know she works several jobs. She works very, very hard and has the best attitude of anyone you will ever meet.
So, I'm opening this letter with a big smile. Although I could not tell you when her birthday is, it is no surprise that she would remember my birthday...because she's just one of those people that keeps up with those things and always tries to make others feel special and important. But, when I opened the letter, a very large sum of money fell out of that envelope. It doesn't matter how much it was, what matters is that the amount she put in that envelope I am sure was a huge sacrifice for her. It was money that I am sure she had to put in extra hours to give away.
But there was more. You see, this wasn't really a birthday card. Inside was the loveliest letter that also included a list of babysitters that she had found for me. People she knew and trusted. She had also remembered that it was my tenth wedding anniversary. And she told me to use that money to go out as well as towards a babysitter on that list.
But, there is even more to this story that even she does not know. The money she gave, was exactly the amount of money Andrew and I had budgeted for going out for lunch and getting a babysitter for the afternoon. The EXACT amount. (And when I say budgeted, I mean that we were taking money out of savings to celebrate...because we did not really even have the money without dipping into that account).
And at first, I thought about giving that money right back. Because I just couldn't accept something so generous from someone who I know really needed it herself. So, I prayed about it a lot the past 24 hours. I even prayed for God to tell me someone else who could use that money more than us...someone in true need and not just simply celebrating an anniversary.
And last night, I got an e-mail from someone who was inquiring about a photo shoot. This someone is also walking through some very, very difficult trials. I also knew that money was certainly an object for them.
And I felt this divine presence of God. I read that e-mail and I saw that money fall to the floor in my mind. I replayed the scene over and over. I didn't need to physically hear God's voice. He had made it very clear. He had given Andrew and I a gift, and in return, I could gift someone else with my own gift.
At first she refused...saying she knew I ran a business and wasn't a charity. But, I made her understand that God had been very generous to us. And it was my turn to pay it forward. And I have never been so happy giving away a photo session.
I cannot wait to share with my friend how her gift blessed more than just me...but, that it blessed someone else. And the fact that God had given exactly the amount we felt like we needed...that just blows my mind. And then how He immediately showed me how to give back, well...my friends...I have never been so overwhelmed at seeing God at work. Because only He could have orchestrated that whole event.
So, I may not being going to Paris. But, this is WAY better than that plan. This will forever leave an impression on my heart. I got to experience God in a huge way. And that is priceless.