I was in so much of a hurry that I almost missed it.
I almost missed the moment that left three of us in tears.
It was a Friday afternoon and I had a few extra moments before picking up the kids at school. I had to exchange a shirt at a local clothing store. I picked out the new item and positioned myself in line behind an older woman and her daughter. Just on the far side of the register was another woman waiting with her arms full of clothes. She waved the older woman ahead of her, “I respect my elders,” she said with a smile. “You only have a few things, go on ahead.”
I smiled at her. Sweet.
At the same time, I glanced at my watch. I only had a few minutes before I had to head out the door for the kids. I tried to push off the impatience dancing in the wings, but I could feel it tugging at my heart.
It took a bit, but the older woman paid for her items and headed off with her daughter. The kind woman stepped up. She placed two small stacks on the counter – she was exchanging one for the other.
The cashier calculated it all up. “That’ll be 12 dollars difference,” She said. The woman hesitated. “Okay, then. I need to put something back.”
I don’t know what came over me. I jumped up to the credit card machine and stuck my card in. “No, you don’t.” I smiled big at her.
“Oh no,” She said, “You don’t have to do that.”
“But I want to” I said. Truth is, I’d been in her shoes and people loved on me. It was my joy to pass it along. My next words poured out straight from the heart. “You need to know that God loves you.”
Tears came to her eyes. “I can’t believe this! Can I please give you a hug?”
“Of course,” I said. I wrapped my arms around her and the words kept coming. “Your God loves you. He loves you and He sees you. He really sees you.”
The woman immediately stepped back and covered her face with her hands. She started sobbing. Eventually, she spoke through her tears. “I’ve been asking. I’ve been asking God, ‘Do you even see me?” She cried again. “He sees me.” She said in wonder several times over. “He really sees me.”
Goosebumps all around. And tears. In her eyes. In my eyes. In the cashier’s eyes as she watched our exchange.“Oh he definitely sees you,” I said. “He sent me here today for the sole purpose of making sure you know that. Cuz I hate shopping.”
We laughed. “Can we be friends?” She asked.
“Absolutely!” We exchanged numbers and have been in touch ever since. Turns out she’s a single mom. I was a single mom. Our daughters share a birthday. She’s a writer. I’m a writer.
On my way out, my heart was so full. I was grinning from ear to ear. While I was embarrassed by my impatience and almost missing the moment, I was so grateful that God overruled and helped me to see. I know he could have used a hundred different people to love on this woman. But today he chose me! I was honored and grateful. Best of all, the whole thing reminded me of a truth we all need to remember: God sees us! He sees you. Stop. Read that again slowly. He… sees… you. He sees me. He knows our hearts, our longings, our fears – and he hears and answers our prayers.
Now we just have to see each other – and say so!
Funny thing. I went up to the register and exchanged my item. I received eight dollars back on my card. It cost me a whopping four dollars to pour love into a hurting heart. Four dollars to remind a soul that she is seen. Four dollars to experience a moment I’ll remember for a lifetime.
Best four dollars I ever spent.