Monday, August 26, 2013

When You're Depleted, God Can Use Costco to Fill You Up

"Stay in the car while I go get a cart," I told Noah and Elias with a stern voice and eyes that meant it. I already had Jude strapped on me and I wanted to snag the boys' double-wide ride just across the aisle. But before I got to our van's silver bumper, there was a woman waiting with a cart for me. She must have overheard my instructions to the boys. "I remember what it was like having young kids," she said warmly.

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After flashing my membership card at the door a stylish couple with an adorable toddler with blonde pigtails shot a smile my way. "That use to be me!" the wife said. "This is our youngest and our other two are now in school. I hardly know what to do with myself without all three to look after." We exchanged a knowing look, from a mom who's been there to a mom who's there.

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While deciding which brand of organic whole grain bread to buy, a dashing elderly man stopped his cart next time mine and with a cool Scottish accent said, "What a handsome family you have. Such a blessing."

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As we were making our way to the last samples stand, coconut granola I think, another sweet senior flagged us down. His wrinkles were deep but his eyes shined with life. "Twins?" he asked pointing to Noah and Eli, sitting side by side. I told him their ages, 4, 3, and 1, and Eli showed off his new silly face. "Do they have a piggy bank?" he asked and then took two crisp one dollar bills out of his pocket, folded in rectangles with perfect creases. The boys' eyes lit up like the man's. "That's for being good helpers for your mama. Take good care and save that in your bank," he said. I thanked him for his kindness, and for his service, nodding at the WWII veterans cap he wore proudly.

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When we finally made it to the front of the store, there were long lines of carts piled high. I calculated our chances for the fastest check-out and made my way over to the most promising line. Another shopper pulled up at the exact same time. Though we were pushing lunch time and nap time, I told the man to please go ahead. But he kindly insisted I move in front of him, even though my cart had double the stuff. "Thanks a lot," I smiled. Then when we finally made it to the loading zone, I was straining to reach the avocados that has slid to the depths without squishing Jude who was still strapped on me in the baby carrier. "Can I help you with that?" the same man asked. And then loaded the rest of our groceries onto the black conveyor belt.

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Is my neighborhood Costco just full of kind-hearted citizens all ready to offer a helping hand or encouraging word? Maybe. Or does God pour out his loving kindness in everyday ways because he sees you always and knows what you need most and when? Absolutely.

Yes, it was a more pleasant than usual trip to the big box store. But more than that, it was gifts of goodness from the Lord's heart to mine. 

It was him saying,  I saw you up all night long with a coughing four-year-old and I see your tired eyes and weary soul now. I saw you this morning when you snapped at the kids because your patience was depleted and you forgot to keep your focus on me. But I heard you say sorry to your precious little ones and you are precious to me, too, even when you fail. And I see the day and week and months ahead and it's gonna be long and you're gonna feel weak, but I am your strength and I'm always by your side. My goodness never ends, not even in Costco, and I'll use every stranger you meet to show you more of who I am and how much I love you.


Amy said...

Great post!

ohjust MEY said...

The little things and ways that God uses people to minister to our hearts. Love it!