I was ready to mark down the already low prices when a woman walked by in our walking town. “How much?” she asked about the table. I don’t remember telling her a price, though, and we just got to talking. She was a single mom, recently moved back from Iowa and starting over with nothing but a child and an empty apartment. “Take it,” I said, “and the dishes and the shelf, and whatever else will help you build your new home.”
That haggard desperation in her face will never leave my mind.
I knew it well because my own heart felt that haggard desperation too. It was why I was leaving, why I was driving to Texas with nothing, no plan, no job, no place to live.
I just knew that God was going to meet me there.
And I wanted God to meet this young mother here.
She came back by a few hours later with her car and I gave her a box of curtains, sheets, dishtowels. She wept and I wept and I hugged her and I don’t even remember her name.
I thought this morning of my almost anniversary, Texas and me, we’re going on two years.
I crested a hill (the only one I know around here) and the sight took my breath away for one moment. It’s rained all week, and brown earth and leaves have turned into a spring green, lush and wild. I loved Texas for that one moment. I loved it.
Sometimes things don’t turn out like we imagined. Sometimes we end up a single mom from Iowa who has neither table nor towels. Sometimes a northern girl born for mountains and green is transplanted to flat suburbia.
I think about that table a lot. I loved that table. I loved it a lot. I hope she loves it too. And I hope in the moments when she sits at it with her head in her hands wondering how in the world she got here? To upstate New York? Mothering alone? I hope in those moments she remembers that God’s best gifts aren’t always what we expect, or when we expect them. But He comes graciously and He meets us there.