Tag Archives: Walmart

“I lost my stuffed animals when my house caught on fire.”

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IMG_0634“I lost my stuffed animals when my house caught on fire.”  Naomi told missionary Mary.  Even though her house had burned to the ground the day before, little Naomi and her family were at peace.  They were thankful that no one had been hurt.  They had very little to begin with, and now they had nothing.  But they still had the peace of Jesus in their hearts.

The Bible calls God’s peace “The Peace that passes understanding” which is just a fancy way of saying, “Unbelievable peace!”  There’s no way to explain that to someone who has never experienced it.  It’s crazy.  Standing in the middle of their pile of ashes and debris, the family said, “Maybe God has something better for us.”

We just happened to be there on the scene, some of us missionaries.  We just happened to be hosting a team this week.  And the team just happened to be working at the school just around the corner from the 3 houses that burned to the ground.  And the families just happened to be Christians.  And the children of those families just happened to go to the school where we were working.  Was it all a coincidence?  I don’t think so.

The next day we walked down to the charred ruins to see what the family needed.  Turns out they needed everything.  They walked us through a sad tour of the destruction.  I saw a broken plate, some red fabric from something, the skeletal remains of furniture, stairs that lead to the open sky where the second story used to be.  Then I saw the wall with the hand prints painted on it.  The entire family had painted their hand prints on one wall… and that wall was not destroyed!  They still had their family.

New backpack and stuffed animals for Naomi.

New backpack and stuffed animals for Naomi.

The team and I went to Walmart that morning.  We bought clothes and shoes for the children.  We bought a new backpack and school supplies.  We bought bedding.  But the thing that meant the most to little Naomi was that we bought her stuffed animals.  The ones that she lost were the ones that her sponsor family had sent her over the years.  The value of those lost treasures can never be replaced, but maybe, just maybe a new stuffed dog or bear will bring her comfort as the families begin to rebuild their lives on the ashes.

I read this quote on Facebook today.  “The right thought, plus the right people, in right environment, at the right time, for the right reason, always produces the right result” by Dr. John Maxwell.  I can only thank God for putting us in the right place at the right time to help these poor families who have lost everything.  God is Good.

Second Guesses Don’t Count

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Every once in a while I second guess myself.  Most of the time I am totally sure of my impulsive self (get it?).  Most of the time my actions are completely congruent with my vision for my life, where I think I should be going and the kind of person that I’m trying to become.  But every once in a blue moon the stars align and I’m hamstrung with self-doubt, paralyzed with indecision.

This cosmic even usually occurs in a Walmart within the first week of arriving back in the United States.  We have Walmarts here where I live, but they aren’t the same.  They are purely functional.  If you want a plastic spatula, a laundry basket or a bag of Kitty Litter then a Costa Rican Walmart is your place.  All the basics are here.  Walmart is just a grocery store on steroids.  For example, they have an entire aisle of yogurt and another complete aisle of coffee products and milk in unrefrigerated boxes.  Here I never feel paralyzed with indecision because my choices are quite limited.

I’m still so frustrated with my reaction to shopping when I go home.  The minute I set foot in a big store like Target or Walmart I feel the count down to a migraine beginning.  It’s a race against the clock.  I better go in there with a list or else I’m doomed.  This star-crossed shopper has been known to leave the store without buying a single thing simply because I couldn’t make a decision.  I know it’s time to leave when I hear my decision-making brain cells start to sizzle with the over load of information.  Sensing fear, Self Doubt sees its opportunity and pounces on the weakest of the herd.  It takes me down like a predator to its prey.

I found the Emergency Exit… in the middle of a forest.

This happens in my Spiritual Life too.  I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, you have to make your will SUPER clear to me, ’cause I’m not hearing you so well right now.”  I make a move in one direction and doors start to open.  I usually take this as a sign that I’m on the right path and keep moving along that route until I hit a wall or come across a fork in the road.  Usually I live by the philosophy that if you don’t hear anything new from the Lord then you just keep doing the last thing he told you to do.  No new instructions mean “keep on keeping on.”  Stay the course.

But sometimes I’m pushing on doors and they are opening smoothly when suddenly I’m griped by that old self doubt.  I second guess my decisions.  “Oh my word, this might actually happen!”  I gasp.  “Am I ready for this?  Is this really what I want?  Is it too late to back out of this commitment?”  I get cold feet.  This thing takes on a life of it’s own!

That’s when my prayer switches from “God lead me” to “God give me courage!”  Of course I want him to stop me if I’m wrong, correct me if I’m off course, and keep me from making a bad decision.  But when self doubt and fear come knocking on my door, I need courage to stay the course and not go running back to what is familiar and safe.  I commit my way to the Lord again and pull out his promises to strengthen my resolve.

“The steps of a Righteous Man (Woman) are ordered by God.”

“Direct my footsteps according to your word, let no sin rule over me.”

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.  How then can anyone understand his own way?” 

Then I breathe deeply and resolve to Keep on Keeping on until I hear differently from the one who orders my steps.