Have you ever…

It was a Friday which meant it was a grocery shopping day. I was still getting used to taking all four kids out to grocery shop. We were doing our normal rounds; BJ’s, Aldi, and Publix. That morning I went to BJ’s first. Then I whispered prayers of help me please get this done without it ending with everyone staring at me as I grabbed our bags and we headed into Aldi.

One thing you should know about me is when I am grocery shopping, I am in the zone baby. It’s about speed and efficiency. I need to get in and out of a store as quickly as possible as three boys can tear down displays, rip open bags of food I have not purchased, and play hide and go seek faster than I can get down aisle one.

We were in and out lightning fast and I was loading the car. It. Was. Hot. I’m talking 89 degrees at 9am hot. The baby was crying. I, who can organize a grocery list by aisle for multiple stores forgot the baby’s bottle. I mean, how does that even happen to a seasoned mom of 4? I’m feeling the stress of the sun and cries from inside the van and sweat begins to build on my forehead. “I’m hungry!” Shouts the then, 3.5 year old. I crank the van and we are on our way. There is this one hill on the way to the stop light. I have to take a left to get up that hill to get to that stop light to get home. It’s always a game of chicken to take that left to go up that hill. I make the turn. Should be easy driving from this point on.

Another thing you should know about me is that I have this uncanny ability to spot a deer, a raccoon, or in this case a wallet while most never even see them.

We are headed up the hill. I am going about 35mph. Wait, what’s that? Is that a wallet? I quickly look for a purse. Left to right I look. No people, no purse. I quickly glance in my review mirror. No cars.

“Stop the car.”

“WHAT? Are you serious? Is this a trust exercise? Like, right now? In the middle of the highway… with screaming kids?!”

“Pick up the wallet.”

So yeah, this is the inner war that was going on with myself and God. I’ve heard all of these amazing stories about how God has asked someone to do something completely out of the norm- like pick up a jug of milk and take it to a home with the light on… turns out the family was praying for milk for their baby and didn’t have the money to buy it- but that’s never happened to me. As seconds passed, I realized this was it. This was a test in faith and trust.

“Are you going to answer the call?”

And… I kept going. I rolled right past that wallet and justified it in seconds as saying, it’s probably empty anyway. I’m sure it was stolen and someone threw it out the window. No one looses a wallet in the middle of a very busy highway. The moment I drove past that wallet though, guilt and panic came over me. What did I just do? I looked in my review mirror again and I saw it… and about a half dozen cars coming up behind me. I was at the light. Could I do a U-turn? Was it legal at this light? What was I thinking, I couldn’t turn around and park the car in the middle of the highway and grab a wallet. What if people thought I was crazy? What if someone hit my car or me while I was trying to get the wallet. The light turned green. I said out loud as I did a U-turn, “FINE! I’ll answer the call, but you better keep my babies safe and not let me get a ticket for this.” I sped down the road, completed the turn-around and there it was. I hit my flashers and looked in the review mirror again. No cars coming. I was shaking. I hopped out of the car and grabbed the wallet and jumped back in. I was smiling. I felt peace again. I did it! I did what He asked me to do. We are alive and safe, but now what. The kids were stunned by what they just saw. With shaking hands, I called my husband.

“Paul, you won’t believe what I just did! I listened to God and got a wallet out of the middle of the road!”

Silence.

“Are you there?”

“Yes. What do you mean you got a wallet out of the road?”

I tell him the story and am pulling into the parking lot of a Publix because I am shaking so bad I need to stop and figure out what to do next.

“Open it up.”

I do and it’s full of credit cards, cash, pictures, and a work id. I ask him if he knows a contact at the resort that was listed on the work id. He doesn’t, but pulls up their HR department. I call, explain to them that I have such and such’s wallet, I found it in the middle of the road, I am just trying to return it. Could they call her and get her in touch with me. Everyone is confused but thankful. I decide to take the kids to MCD’s so I can buy some time. The baby fell asleep in a fit of hunger. Thirty minutes pass and nothing. I start to drive home and my phone rings.

“Hello.”

“Hello, is this Tara?”

“Yes, it is.”

“I am such and such and I believe you have my wallet.”

“I do! How can I get it to you?”

We agree to meet that the same Publix parking lot I just left, AFTER I run home to grab a bottle and put away groceries. She explains she was dealing with two littles herself and as she was loading her car from her trip to Aldi, she must have put her wallet on edge of her bumper and it fell off while she was driving. She wanted to know where I found it. She had been frantic looking for it. I explain briefly… no need to freak her out and give her all the deets.

My phone rings again.

“Hello.”

“Hello. This is such and such. I believe you found my wife’s wallet.”

“I did. I just spoke with her.”

“Oh thank you. Thank you. How can we repay you? I am a chef, can I cook for you?”

“I may take you up on that.”

“You have no idea how worried we were, we have our work visas, important cards,… everything in there. Is anything missing?”

“Um, I’m not sure. I can say for sure I saw cash so I don’t think anyone went through it.”

We hang up. I am back on the road heading to meet the wife at Publix.

“Ok, Lord. You took me on this wild ride. What is it you want from this? What am I supposed to say?”

Silence.

I pull in the parking lot. I see her sitting in her car looking for me. She’s across from me.

“This is it. What am I supposed to say?”

Silence.

We greet each other. As she takes the wallet,…”I want her to know that I love her.” I have no time at all to even think about how I am supposed to fit that into conversation that involved, hey,  here’s your missing wallet…

She starts to walk away.

“Hey listen. If you have a second, …I know you have babies in the car. I do too… I’ll make it quick. I just thought you should know how I found your wallet.”

She stops and nods. I quickly relay the story in 2 minutes.

“God wants you to know that He loves you.”

She stares at me. I feel really stupid.

“Anyway, I hope it’s all there.”

She heads to her car without a word. I climb into mine. The kids are eager to hear what she said, what I said. I sit for a second and watch her go through her wallet. What if something IS missing and she thinks I took it. Panic.

“Lord, did I do it right? Did I miss something?”

Silence.

I drive off. I feel like a fool. Did I dream all that up just now? Maybe I just thought God wanted me to say that. But that’s crazy? I don’t just imagine stuff like that. That felt real. The way she looked at me… she just walked off. I mean I wasn’t expecting a hug or anything, but I had hoped it would have meant something to her… like she was waiting to hear that…

and my story ends there. Have you ever answered the call? It takes guts and faith. And yes, you may look like a complete fool.

2Chronicles 7:14

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.’

This verse comes to mind often when I think of that day. I had to humble myself and answer the call, give up my pride of not looking like crazy person and give the message that God wanted her to hear. Listen, He was so desperate for her to that message that the whole thing was orchestrated by Him so that I could deliver it. Do you think it was coincidence that I found that wallet. That I saw it? Who knows how many cars before me had driven past it. Do you think it was chance that I, with 4 kids, as non- threatening as can be was chosen to deliver that message to a busy working mom of 2? He cares about all of His children and will do whatever it takes to let you know, He loves you.

That adrenaline rush. The feeling of hearing from God and answering the call. Sometimes it’s about simply answering the call. Maybe she needed to hear that message and waited until she was alone to face it. Or, maybe it was a test to see if I would simply obey. Maybe both or maybe something entirely different. I don’t know. What I do know is that this story has been in my memory for 2 years now and I have never felt the need to share it. Until today. I don’t know why, but I felt I needed to write this out for someone reading tonight. So if this is for you, be strong and of good courage.

Joshua 10:25

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.

Don’t miss the call. Oh, and God loves you.

Comments

  1. Awesome awesome Tara!!!!!

  2. Wow, what an experience! Honestly, I don’t know if I could’ve brought myself to tell her that God loves her, but I would’ve walked away kicking myself for NOT saying it. I love your courage for doing that!

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