I am embarrassed that I never told “the rest of the story” after posting Part 1 of Divine Serendipity TEN MONTHS ago! I was waiting for the soon-to-come happy ending, to tie up this story with a bow and present it to you. Between that not happening and my full life, this story was never revisited. Under the category “better late than never,” here is the sequel to Divine Serendipity Part 1!
Nearly a year ago, on July 14, 2017 a neighbor walked to our house and asked if we could use two crib/toddler bed mattresses. Honestly, I knew of no one who needed them and we had no building to store them, but I said, “Yes.” I know how difficult it is to find good, clean bedding of any kind and knowing our neighbors and how they care for things, I knew it was something I couldn’t pass up. On August 21, 2017 our neighbors dropped the mattresses off on our front porch.
THE NEXT DAY, I found out that the couple with a nine month old baby who I met on August 14 and introduced you to in my last blog , actually had five other children, all of whom needed a bed. The two youngest needed a toddler bed! I have seen God provide over and over in extraordinary ways but this time I was still in awe as I once again realized He knows every detail of who we are and what we need!
Basically, this dear family found themselves homeless when their car broke down in Kansas en route to their hometown in Texas. They had to make the difficult decision to place their 5 older children in foster care and keep the baby with them, since they did not know what they were going to do or where they would end up. They simply had no idea how difficult it would be to get their children back.
This family was able to obtain a house big enough for their family of 8 through our public housing program. The walk through inspection date was set for September 7, when case managers would walk through to see if the house was prepared for the children. Each needed a bed and the house needed basic furnishings. We wanted to make sure there were food, toys and books for the children, as well. Salina Shares kicked into overdrive to furnish that house and make it kid friendly and ready for all 6 children in time for inspection.
On September 5, I happened to stop by the church we attend to drop something off. As I was leaving, a friend of ours walked in. He said, “Oh, Debbie, I have a bunch of boys’ sheets and comforters. Do you know anybody who needs them?”
He was taken aback by my enthusiastic “YES!”
He said, “Great – I’ll get them to you this weekend.” (I thought to myself, that will be too late!) I asked him if there was any way I could get them before then. This was a Wednesday and inspection was Friday. I explained the short version of the story to him and was at his house and loaded up in the next half hour. They were the right size sheets and comforters in themes like dinosaurs and robots. If I had left the church two minutes earlier or he had arrived two minutes later, we would not have connected in time to have bedding fully ready for inspection. By September 7, the house was fully furnished and felt like a home. Incredible!
Fast forward to last week. I had not heard from this family since Christmas. I had tried calling them a few times, as I knew their children were expected to be back at home with them in March. Unbeknownst to me, their number had changed and she called me last week. With all the optimism and faith a mama can muster, she explained that their twin boys are home but their young girls are not…yet. They have been allowed visits for 5 consecutive days and should be home permanently in the next few weeks. The oldest boy, in a separate foster home, also has not yet rejoined the family.
I told her that someone had donated two electric scooters on June 25 and I immediately thought of her twin boys. I asked her if she would like them, and we scheduled delivery for Thursday June 28 at 3:00. That morning when I left the house, my front porch had a variety of riding and outdoor toys on it that someone had dropped off. As I looked at each one I realized they would be appropriate for the ages of all of their children. The person who donated them knows nothing about this family. I loaded them in the car, along with the scooters.
That afternoon I had lunch with a friend and shared the scooter story. She asked me about helmets. Honestly, I had never thought about helmets. Here’s the thing, though: about three months ago, someone donated two brand new children’s helmets. I told her at the time that I didn’t know of anyone who needed them. She told me, “You will.”
After lunch, I stopped by to get the helmets and also loaded up a bag of footballs for a “Play in the Park” we were hosting. When we delivered the scooters, we showed her the rest of the toys and asked if she wanted them. “Oh yes!” We had unloaded everything (including the helmets and their story) when I thought to myself, I need to give them a football. When I handed it to her, she said, “Oh Miss Debbie!” I heard something in her voice that I had not heard as a response to any of the other things. She explained to me that just that morning, her almost 2 year old had ruined the twins’ nerf football. The twins had cried, knowing they could not go buy another football. I said, “Maria, only God knew that! Be assured that He has His hand on your family and that He is with you and for you.” It was quite a moment.
Before we left, I asked her if she needed anything else as their children are reintegrated into the home. She quietly said, “We could use some food.” I assured her that I would gather some and get it to her in the next few days. When I returned home, there were 3 bags of assorted snacks and treats on my front porch. Even I could not believe it!
We often think we’re just going about our days. We know the things we busy ourselves with are important to us, but do we give much thought as to whether they are important to God? Do we recognize how much he wants us to partner with Him to love people in tangible but truly divine ways? After so many of these encounters, I came up with the phrase “Divine Serendipity.” They are not just coincidences or happy accidents. They are the moments in our lives, whether we see them or not, that God allows us to join with Him to make something happen or to bless others. Usually, it is in ways we cannot imagine or plan, so we KNOW it is Him. So He gets all the credit. So others will see and give thanks to God as well.
Author, Bob Goff writes, “Our time here isn’t meant to be spent forming opinions about the people we meet. It’s an opportunity to draw the kinds of circles around them that grace has drawn around us, until everybody is on the inside.”
We know that this family’s situation has not been easy and their journey is not over. I am not trying to minimize it with a few short stories of the ways we have been able to help. I share them because they are pieces of a bigger picture that we are so privileged to be a part of. I share them so we will be encouraged to look at the people who cross our paths through different lenses; to see them each as unique opportunities to share love in tangible ways, to look for ways to extend grace and enlarge our circles. In the process, we truly become community.
Abundance is experiencing extraordinary provisions!
Watching in Awe With You,