Cardboard Angel (My Christmas Miracle)
It is true that the best way to receive comfort is to be a comfort; the best way to alleviate pressure is to assist in alleviating someone else’s pressure. It’s simple truth that when you give, you receive…now you don’t give in order to receive because somehow you taint the process when that is your motive. Last Sunday, we had a guest speaker at Church tell the story of her husband who “sent her home” as she put it. He tricked her into going to her parents’ house and a few days later served her with divorce papers. She told of her hurt and humiliation and how during her healing process people at church who had experienced similar hurt, would approach her asking for prayer. She often wondered what she was doing praying for them when she herself needed prayer. She would eventually start having meetings in order to share how the Lord was ministering to her through scriptures and in doing so she not only was healed from that hurt, but many others benefited from her experience.
Her story reminded me of the time several years ago, when I first came to Christ. I was asked to participate in an outreach that provided gifts for children whose parents were incarcerated. I was assigned the task of contacting the caregivers of the children assigned to our church in order to determine a want and a need for each child. The idea was to write the request on a cardboard angel and have our church members take an angel and be an angel.
The last call I made was to a tired mother of six whose newborn was still hospitalized and due to come home around Christmas. That child had no “wants” but he had a whole lot of needs. I made a mental note to snatch that angel. Days later, armed with the directions to the nearest Target, I set out to be that baby’s angel. Time out for a bunny trail…
At this point, I had been married for 11 years and had been told by scores of physicians that I was not able to have children naturally, a fact cemented by an ectopic pregnancy just a few months prior. We were believing God for a miracle. End of bunny trail.
I had the best time going up and down those aisles imagining what a child that age would need. I rolled up to the register and looked down at my cart and realized that I had gone way over the budget, but who would care…it was for a baby and surely his siblings wouldn’t notice that his gift box would be much larger than theirs…it was for a baby! When it came time to wrap the gifts, I was corrected (big time) for having gone overboard and way over budget. I tried to explain why and ….did I say I was CORRECTED BIG TIME. My face was red and I felt my lip doing that downward dance it does when I’m trying to suppress a cry. I left hurt and discouraged and called my sister who was my first mentor in my walk. She listened and asked me what my motives were. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t trying to outdo anyone; wasn’t trying to break any rules; wasn’t trying to do anything except bless that mom and her baby…period. She asked me if I felt peace with the situation and I did, so she encouraged me to drop it and she also encouraged me not to be offended at the correction. I heeded her advice.
A few weeks later on Christmas eve, I had a very vivid dream and in it I was very pregnant. I woke up on Christmas morning, remembering all of the details and wondering if it could be true. I couldn’t shake the dream so a couple of days later, with trembling hands, I tore open a pregnancy test. It would seem that around the time I was wrapping the gifts for a baby I would never meet, there was a secret growing in my womb. (I can’t wait to one day share that testimony!!)
You see, when we put others’ needs before our own; when we go about doing good, God has this genius way of seeing to it that we not be forgotten in the process.