With the Christmas quickly approaching I wanted to share a true story of a family facing tragedy and how one person became a lifeline in their lives. While at a conference earlier this fall, one of the speakers shared this amazing story, and I have thought of it often since then. I don’t recall every detail but will share what I remember.
It begins with a family of five, parents, two daughters and a son, the children were not yet in their teens. Their mother was tragically killed in car accident. Life stopped for this family, grief was consuming and they shut down as we can all understand. Fast forward several months and Christmas is coming. The speaker who shared the story decided she wanted to do something for this family. Her idea was to peek into the home and see if she might find, an area to redecorate or breathe new life into. She and her sister waited while the family left for work and school and snuck in (I don’t recommend this!). They were shocked by what they found, speechless. The living room was full of dead flower arrangements and cards that had not been touched since the day there were brought in. Nothing in the home had been touched, there were dishes, laundry and dust everywhere. They walked down a hall and peeked into bedrooms. They found all three children’s beds made and rooms looked unused. The last door was the parents room. As they looked in, they saw a large bed with a place where the Dad slept with three little “nests” on the empty side of the bed. It broke their hearts.
Within a few minutes, there was a knock on the door. They debated if they should answer, a voice said, “I saw you go in there, you better tell me what you are doing or I’m calling the police!” The peeked out the door to see the family’s neighbor. They explained their idea of helping this family out to the neighbor. He said, “I won’t say anything if you let me help too.” This began a snowball effect of volunteers. Soon they had neighbors and a PTA involved. They gifted the family a trip out of town so they could set to work. They made a plan to clean, paint some walls and make updates to a bathroom and put in new carpet. You know, with that many people involved, the plan quickly grew! At one point, after the bathroom had been ripped up, they realized they were in over their heads and wouldn’t be able to make the deadline. They decided to work as fast as they could to get it done. A few minutes later, another knock on the door.
At the door stood a well dressed, bald man. He stood with his hands in his pockets and asked who was in charge. The speaker stepped up and he asked her what she was doing, she explained what projects had been started and how they were out of time. He stopped her, got on his phone, gave a few directions and hung up. He then told her, I have my crew coming, they’ll be here in an hour and will work through the night to finish up what’s been started. Then he asked for a tour, she led him through the rooms of the home. At each room he made a few notes and at the end he said, “I want you to go to RC Willey and pick out new bedroom sets for each bedroom, furniture for the living room, a new t.v., etc. She was shocked and still did not know who this man was but he said go and she went! When she arrived at the store, she walked through with a store assistant, one by one she picked out the items for each room. The store delivered them and with the help of the crew they got it all together before the family came home.
As the family drove up, they saw all of the cars at their home and wondered what was going on. They walked in and began to cry, the outpouring of love they experienced was overwhelming. The husband walked down the hallway with the speaker, pausing in each doorway as they looked at the new bedrooms. He was quiet, not uttering a word. As they came to his bedroom, he looked in, gasped and began to sob. She waited patiently and when he was able, he began to speak. He told her how, just little while before his wife passed away, the two of them had gone to RC Willey and picked out these exact bedroom sets for each of their children. When he came to the room they once had shared and saw the new bedroom set, it was the exact one she had picked out for them so many months before. The family had a new breath of life put into them that day and knew they were going to be alright.
It all started with the power of one. One person had an idea, a desire to bless, to give, help and act. As we enter this season of giving I encourage you to look around, what is in your heart and hand? Who can you bless this season? Can you sing someone a song? Give a coat, some gloves or shoes? Sometimes we have people in our lives that are hard to find a gift for, what if you wrote them a handwritten note telling them what they mean to you? Touch the heart of the grieving and broken. Be God’s hand extended in the earth, you’ll find giving is addicting!
This Christmas, BE that ONE!
Angela resides on the rolling hills of the Palouse in Eastern Washington with the men in her life. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Juan, since August 2000. Together they are blessed to have three amazing little boys. She is a licensed clinical social worker, turned stay-at-home mom and over the past two years has been teaching people how to use essential oils for all natural health care. In her free time (um, what free time!) she enjoys spending time with family and friends, worshiping, reading and studying, baking, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and teaching.
You can find more about her at: www.mominthemaking.com