I have been in want of a loonie (our Canadian $1 coin) more times than I can count when stopping for groceries at No Frills. And shopping for a family of six with a little handheld basket is next door to impossible. But without that shiny gold coin, the big yellow carts are off limits. It’s an ingenious idea really, to ensure the prompt return of those carts in neat order; but a frazzled mom already trying to squeeze too much into her day just can’t be expected to squeeze a cartload of groceries into a basket.
Today it’s a quick stop on the way home from swimming lessons to pick up pizza toppings for supper tonight. I open the console between the front seats of my minivan and smile with a sigh of relief to see my loonie in its designated spot.
Twenty minutes later, groceries packed neatly in the back of my van, I am dutifully returning my yellow cart to retrieve my loonie for safe keeping until next time. A young mother walks up with a toddler on her hip. She looks confusedly at the long line of nested carts, trying to figure out how to claim one for herself.
“You just need a loonie,” I say, trying to sound chipper, as if it’s no big deal. But I well know what a deal breaker it can be when you show up loonie-less for a grocery run.
She digs in her wallet. “I don’t know if I have a dollar,” she answers, fumbling. Her foreign accent is thick. Perhaps this is her first foray to No Frills. I smile kindly, telling her they also have baskets just inside the door. I head back to my van, leaving her still trolling the depths of her change purse.
By the time I open my driver’s side door, the voice whispering for me to hand over my coveted coin is now roaring. I know what I need to do. Haven’t I spent years of my life learning to be responsive to such promptings? And in much bigger, life-altering ways than this. Will I respond to this seemingly insignificant poke? Surely God can replace my sanctified loonie, I reason. Suddenly I’m curious what’s in my own wallet. Wouldn’t it be just like Him to have already provided an extra one? Oh, me of little faith! I open my purse to find exactly that.
“I’ll be right back,” I say to my kids and dash to the store entrance. I hurry through the front doors and find my blonde friend, actually a perfect stranger, standing in the produce section. She’s still juggling her toddler and now a grocery basket too, while holding her phone to her ear. She sees me coming.
“This is for you,” I say sheepishly, holding out the gold coin. She looks incredulous and drops her phone from her ear.
“For me?” she asks in disbelief.
“Yes! For you.”
With a wide grin she turns her eyes toward the ceiling and says in her heavy accent, “Thank You, Lord!” I’m startled. Perhaps I was expecting her to thank me. But somehow she knew who to really thank for this small provision. And so do I.
Would I have been responsive enough to give her the only dollar I had? I don’t know. But what I do know is that God was gracious enough to provide for both of us. She knew exactly who deserved the credit for my puny gift. And I am humbled to think that my Heavenly Father cares about my insignificant needs for next week’s shopping trip too.
“Yes, thank the Lord!” I say, pointing my praise in the direction of her gaze. We both know who to thank — the God who provides for every frazzled mom as she learns to listen to His voice and trust Him for every dollar, for every step.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17
Erin. I loved this story. It was both a small thing and a big thing. On that day , at that moment to a harassed young mom God used you to show his enormous love to another of his children. Both of you were blessed and encouraged. The small acts of kindness can accomplish some of the greatest things in God’s kingdom.