God Stories: The Stranger at Target


God Stories are moments in my life where I knew, without a doubt, that God's hand was involved. They are usually completely unexpected, completely too far fetched to believe it is just a coincidence and usually leave me speechless and also in tears. When you have a moment like this, and you literally get a small taste of God reaching down to touch your life, it is so completely humbling and amazing at the same time. I feel like it is so important to write it down, not only for myself to remember that God has been there multiple times for me in our past. But, also to inspire others to slow down and notice the God moments in their own lives.  

The Stranger at Target

Most of the time, I have all 4 of my kids with me, #homeschoollife. Who, at the time were 10, 8, 5 and 2 years old. We headed to Target to pick up some needed food items; cereal, milk, deli meat, etc. After collecting our food and leisurely perusing the Halloween section and toy section for fun, we headed to the self-check out lane. All 4 of my kids helped me put items on the scanner, one-by-one. 

After we were finished scanning our food, I swiped my card to pay for our groceries. That's when I saw that one little message that no one wants to see. Especially, in a large store, with people waiting behind you, attendants standing nearby an d a cart full of hungry kids. The message flashed before me "card declined." "Oh no, not now." I remembered our account was getting low but, I thought we had enough to pay for just a few things.

I wish I could say that this was the first time this had happened to me, but sadly it was not. For the last 10 years, since I became a stay-at-home mom, living on just 1 low income in California has taken our family into worse debt and many months of overdrawn accounts. Every time it happens my heart sinks a little bit more into hopelessness. When will this time in our lives of not being able to pay for everyday items be over?

I was already preparing the speech I'd have to tell my kids in my head. Turning this into a "life lesson everyone needs to know." That we don't always get to buy what we want at the store, that life sometimes is hard and can be disappointing. 

Each of my 4 kids held a small bag of cheddar bunnies in their hands with wide blue eyes, eagerly waiting to eat their treat of the day. Painfully, I told them the news that we had to leave the food at the store.  I lifted the younger kids out of the cart and when reality set it, my 2 oldest kids started to cry. I turned to tell the attendant that our card was declined with a timid smile, as if everything would be ok. However, hearing my 2-year old belting out "I want my cheddar bunnies" and reaching for the left-behind basket, everyone knew it was not.

Walking out with 4 very sad kids, a young lady catches up with us, and stops us. She quickly offers to take care of our bill, she noticed we had cereal and milk and didn't want us to leave without it. Trying to be polite, I tell her that she doesn't have to do that, and that it was too much to ask of someone to pay for us.  With a smile she insisted, and knowing how I'd want to be in her place, to help another family, I humbly agree.

We follow her back inside and amazingly, our cart is still at the checkout. She tells the attendant she is going to pay for us and happily pulls out her card to pay for all our groceries. All the while a line of people witnessing our entire situation. She doesn't seem to be a rich person at all. Just a normal. everyday person that was being used by God at just the time when we needed it. When she finished, I gave her a huge hug. The checker helping us seemed shocked at the whole situation and asked if I knew her. I replied, "no, she was just being nice." 

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After loading all the kids and groceries into the car and the kids are happily munching on their snack, the whole situation finally sank in.  I cried the entire way home. 

Although, I know we could be worse-off, it still totally stinks to be low income. I often wish and pray for God to get us out of this low income life so we don't have to have these kinds of situations anymore. But, then something like this happens and I think, would I still get to experience the hand of God through his people if I wasn't in this situation? If all my needs were met, would I get to experience God reaching down even for just a moment, to touch our lives? I don't know, and maybe that's the point. Although I'm sure God can reach down to anyone in any situation, maybe this is how he reaches out to me.  He knew I needed to know that He sees us, hears our prayers and cares about our situation. Thank you, Lord. 

Have you had a God moment? 

What's your God moment? Let me know below.