As my sweet daughter finished unloading our groceries onto the conveyor belt, I rummaged around my oversized purse to find my wallet. In a sharp sting of realization, I knew my search was futile. I had left my wallet back at home. I pictured my bright orange wallet resting on the living room floor next to my laptop, right where I left it the night before after ordering the book Unoffendable by Brant Hansen.
“Oh no,” I moaned.
“What’s wrong?” my seven-year-old asked.
“I left my wallet at home,” I said, scanning the load of groceries on the counter. “Ugh. I can’t believe I did that.”
“Uh oh, mommy. What are we going to do?”
“We’re just going to have to tell the checkout lady the truth and come back another day. Ugh. What a waste.”
My gut felt heavy and my spirit frustrated.
The young girl ahead of me finished her transaction and the checker grabbed the first item of our stuff.
“Um. Wait just a sec, ma’am,” I held my hand over the food to stop her, “I don’t have my wallet. I left it at home; all this will have to go back. I am so sorry.”
The young girl before me, who looked maybe no more than 18 or 19 years old, (and who I figured was off for an afternoon at the pool with her freshly purchased Poptarts, Cheez-its, Peach Snapple, and two apples), promptly stepped back over to the check stand: “Can I buy your groceries?”
Erm… blank stare.
“What? No, no. You don’t need to do that. That is so nice of you. That’s okay, though.” I said, dumbfounded.
She looked at me square in the eye, “Please, I want to.”
I had no words and the swell of emotion in my chest was threatening to push tears out of my eyes. “If you really want to. If you’re sure,” I responded weakly.
“Yes. Please let me. Go ahead…,” she made a nod to the checkout lady, who was clearly just as surprised and touched as I was.
As the items beeped through, I stood there feeling helpless and humbled and bewildered and thankful. This teen girl was buying my groceries. So I did what any mom would do in this situation, I began to cry.
I felt a light stroke on my arm; I looked down at my daughter who looked up at me with her toothless grin. “It’s okay, mommy.”
The teen girl (I didn’t even think to get her name), smiled and repeated, “Yeah. It’s okay. No need to cry.”
I couldn’t help it. I was so moved and flabbergasted. As the bill pushed the $40 mark, I turned and said, “Are you sure you want to do this, it might be expensive.”
“Yep. Not a worry.”
The bill was $42 and change. She handed over her Visa and it was done. I gave this young woman a hug of thanks and offered her blessings. Then she walked away and was gone.
The checker looked at me with a big smile. “Hey, it’s okay,” she said, “It happens. We forget our wallets. No biggie. Just be happy.”
“Okay, thank you.”
As I drove home in silence, I went to God in prayer of thanks. But then fell into the following conversation with Him:
“Why did you do that, Lord? I don’t deserve having my groceries paid for. I don’t need the help like others do.”
This isn’t about need. It is about love.
“But I feel like I took a blessing away from someone who really needed it.”
This isn’t about need. It is about love. My love is unconditional.
“How would you like me to pay it forward? If I receive a blessing, I should bless others too.”
How do you know I wasn’t blessing you because of how you’ve already blessed others?
“I don’t know. I just don’t feel like I deserve this, Lord.”
Let Me love you.
Let Me love you.
I had prayed to God early this same morning, as I do everyday, for a wise and humble heart.
And I waited, as I do every day, for humiliation… to be humiliated.
Today I learned the difference between humiliation and humility. Humiliation brings shame, and God promises we won’t ever be brought to shame. Grace, an overflowing of undeserved favor, brings humility. I was humbled in a gentle yet powerful way… I have money to buy my groceries and even groceries for others, except today. Today I had nothing. It was literally by the grace of God, the Spirit prompting humble love in a fellow human–a teen no less–that I was able to go home with my groceries. He’s teaching me how to accept grace. To develop a humble heart, I have to learn how to accept grace. I don’t deserve it. I don’t earn it. I don’t need to pay it back. It’s a no-strings-attached gift. In letting Him love me through His grace, I experience the humility I desire.
This is how God works, friends! This is how awesome His love is for us.
Let Him love you.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16