Last week, I did a bit of grocery shopping alone. If you are/have ever been a mother of young children, you understand how delicious this is to linger in the car with your own uninterrupted thoughts and then emerge to be able to actually acknowledge the world around you. It makes a parent feel rather grown-up and human-like. Not to mention the satisfaction of paying for your items and discovering nothing odd in the line-up like another bottle of glitter neon glue or a gallon of Superman ice-cream full of horrid food coloring and other unmentionables. The most embarrassing was a bright satin pink D-size bra hidden under a giant bag of frozen green beans. No kidding. Our daughter is fanatical about pink, no matter what it is or if it will ever fit her mother.
Anyhow, this shopping took me to the local Liquidation Outlet which is a thrifty hole-in-the-wall grocery store on the wrong side of the tracks selling items the local stores were not able to. At an often 75% discount, expiration dates or damaged boxes are not a big deal for this family, especially when I can get items I would normally only be able to find in the health food section. I stock up 1-2 times a month, so the girls that work there have come to recognize this 6″ foot blonde.
Feeling unusually extroverted that morning and directed by the Spirit during my quiet time in the car that was I was to speak hope within the store, I greeted one of the little ladies with a smile and an inquiry of how she was doing that day. Her snappy eyes darted to and fro as she stopped loading the shelves and began to tell me about how her church was allowing her to do another bake sale. “I have already made $6,000 through selling my baked goods and my goal is to get to $10,000!” I listened as she told me how cupcake makers make the perfect cakes (who knew these even existed?), and how Oreos can be made into pops when dipped in icing with a stick shoved between the filling and how cookies should always be over-sized if they are to sell well.
“Can I tell you my dream?” she asked. She surprised herself, not counting on this momentary vulnerability. I smiled, telling her that would be a real “treat”. These are golden moments for me when I get to perch on the edge of someone’s soul and peer in, seeing just what the Father is up to beyond myself. Thrilling!
“I want to lease the place next door and make it my own soup, sandwich and bake shop. Like a cafe! That way I could do what I love all day long! My husband, he is sick a lot and can only work-part time so maybe he could be with me. We could play Christian music and put tracks on the tables; I could do anything I wanted in my own place!”
I told her that was a beautiful, beautiful dream.
“So, I just need to go out and remember to buy my weekly ticket today!” she quipped.
“For what?” I asked, perplexed to go quickly go from the abstract to the concrete.
“For the lottery, of course. There is no way I can come up with enough money to make this dream happen,” she replied.
Something rose up inside of me like a lion and I pounced in the way perhaps Aslan would have, so good but firm, “No! You cannot come up with enough resources for this dream on your own. Why would God give you dream that You did not desperately need Him to make it happen? He wants all of your trust and all of your hope to be in Him, nothing and no one else. Don’t you dare go out and waste anymore money on a lottery ticket. Look to Him only and He will astonish you. It is all His and you are the daughter of a King! Give Him back the dream He gave you.”
I shocked her.
A tiny tear trickled down her face.
She went and sat down at her cashier’s perch, staring at the keys on her old register.
I returned to my shopping. If I had said something insensitive I would have known it, for the words that burst out of me felt like they came from a place bigger than my opinion.
When it was time to check out, another young lady served me. I paid for my cartload and before I stuffed the change back into my purse, the Holy Spirit told me to give it all to the Dreamer of the Cafe. He wanted her to know that she was loved and what it was like to receive from His hand. So I reached across and gave it all to her and told her just that and to use it for supplies for her next bake sale.
She gasped. It was not much. “You don’t have to do this! No one has ever just given me money!” I smiled and urged her to keep trusting Him and praying with boldness.
I have been praying for her daily, this beautiful Dreamer of the Cafe. Would you pray for her (I don’t even know her name!) after you’ve finished reading? And if you desire, would you stick $5 in an envelope and mail it to “The Lady Who Does Bake Sales” c/o The Liquidation Outlet at 3853F Cleveland Ave. Fort Myers, FL 33901. DON’T mention me or this blog, please. Just slip in an encouraging note or scripture.
I don’t make it a practice to tell anyone these little happenings, especially when they involve giving, but I felt an urge to write it down. To remind you, dear reader, that you are a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel that makes peace, that offers hope, that multiplies our little fish and bread, that points it all back to Him.
Even in a grocery store.