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    The Unexpected Friend

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    It was late one Thursday night last fall when I found myself standing in the sporting goods section at Wal-Mart.

    A lot could be said about just that fact alone because trust me, I am the last person you will find out on most week nights. Especially at Wal-Mart and sporting goods?

    Oh my. That is just not my niche but duty calls so there was I.

    The truth is that I was struggling. Not the kind of struggling that involves questions such as which basketball do I buy or the how quickly can I get the least amount of things I need and get out of here kind of struggling-no I was struggling for real.

    When the husband and had I decided to become foster parent's we knew we were called and we knew little else. One of the worst things for this non detail oriented person that I am to deal with, was just the overwhelming amount of information that was presented to us every week.

    Every Tuesday night after a class we would get in our car, look at each other and kind of say.....really? And then before we could make it to the interstate we always came back to the simple fact of WE WERE CALLED THEREFORE WE WILL MARCH FORWARD.

    So that's why I was standing in sporting goods on said Thursday night.

    Our home study was wrapping up and after the kids were in bed I decided to head to Wal-Mart and buy the last finishing touches of safety proofing our home. Tim is a hunter so I needed some gear from sporting goods to secure his hunting equipment.

    I must have looked halfway as confused as I felt because when I went to ask for help I was greeted by a blank stare and the help of a woman who knew way more about this kind of thing than me.

    She warmed up to me after I started talking to her and when I told her why I was there in the first place she got a clouded look on her face.

    "I was raised in foster care," she said. "So I want to thank you for what you're doing."

    An hour later I'd heard about more pain than I ever cared to know existed in the world and I'd made a friend.

    Sometimes all people need is someone to slow down long enough to listen.

    When I asked for her biggest piece of advice she didn't hesitate and said, "Don't ever make any of them eat dog food." She wasn't joking.

    I cried, talked to her some more and kindly thanked her for cheering me on as I had overcome yet another hurdle in the process. I told her I wished her well and tried to share the love of Jesus and went on about my way.

    That was then, this is now.

    For the last two weeks we had the privilege of our first little precious one in our home through foster care. It was ten days of absolute fun. To say that our hearts are prepared to love again and love big would be like saying that the ocean is made of water. Or the sky is blue.

    And when that little one was suddenly out of diapers and baby food one evening and it was after five pm....you guessed it.

    I loaded up the little one and together we headed to Wal Mart.

    A woman on a mission was I and we had our list bought in no time. As I headed from the check out counter to the front door I looked past the big beautiful blue eyes staring at me from the front of the shopping cart and stared straight into the face of my friend from sporting goods.

    I could tell she didn't remember me but I wasn't deterred. "I'm the lady you helped one night when I was struggling with getting everything together for our home study!" I'm sure I was a little overly excited and more than happy to share with her the little guy I was toting along.

    "This is the first sweet one we've had in foster care," I told her. She looked at him and then at me and she said, "I'm so glad it's going well for you ma'am."

    I hugged her tightly and she walked away with big tears in her eyes. The last look I got of her face was like that you'd see on a runner after finishing a marathon. Or someone at the top of Everest.

    It looked a bit like redemption.

    Foster care has already been a blessing to us in so many more ways than one. Loving on a child, well that's not hard for me. That's just what I was born to do; be a mom.

    When you add to that the bonus of encouraging someone along the way? Well, that's also what I live for.

    We go to church every Sunday, attend bible studies through the week and have the best devotion apps on our phones.

    But sometimes its in the oddest aisle at the grocery store that you can encounter the heart of God. I'm so glad I made an unexpected friend.

    3 Responses to “The Unexpected Friend”

    1. You amaze me- I love your blog- when I'm out and about I usually don't even make eye contact with others- sometimes life has a way of knocking the life out of you- you are such an encouragement!

    2. Britney (blue eyes' momma)April 10, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      Love this and I love your heart even more. :)