Awkwardly, I introduced myself and explained how I knew him.
Two nights before, I had stood on his doorstep with a large group of family friends deciding which Christmas carol to sing first. Now I stood there alone, a plate of brownies in my hands. Awkwardly, I introduced myself and explained how I knew him. I made sure his surgery had gone well and then after some polite small talk I moved onto my next destination.
The moment I had seen her, I knew there was something special about her. God had highlighted her to me. After she shared a piece of her heart with our group of carolers, I knew God was calling me to connect with her. A plate of fleshly baked brownies seem like the best way to do that.
“Tell me when you get home.”
After I explained who I was, Donna excitedly ran back into her house and brought me a letter she was planning on bringing by our house later that day. From there we began to share our lives with each other. She told me many stories from her search and rescue job, and I told her all about my recent mission trip. Donna was heavily involved in ministry in the city we lived in. I could tell right away that she had a very giving heart. She would give the clothes off her back if the opportunity presented itself. She was friendly and saw the best in every kind of person. The more we talked the more radiant her face shone, I could see God shining through her.
There were several times during our two-hour talk that I could see God’s hand at work. Donna shared with me many things about her late mother’s life. Donna and her mother lived in two different states. Whenever they would drive to see each other they would always leave by saying, “tell me when you get home.” This very sentence is what Donna whispered into her mother’s coma filled ear minutes before her death. She sat there holding cold hands as her mother breathed her last breath.
It would not be for months later that her mom would respond to her. Donna shared with me that the night we carolled on her porch, in the midst of our voices she heard her mother saying, “I am home.”
“For the ones I save, it matters.”
Later that day I read Donna’s card aloud to my family members. She started with a story of an old man and young boy walking on the beach. The shore was covered in starfish. As they walked the young boy would reach down and pick up as many starfish as he could and throw them into the water. The old man laughed and discouragingly said, “You will never be able to save them all, you are simply wasting your time.” The young boy replied, “For the starfish I save, it matters.” Donna compared herself to the starfish and us to the little boy. By singing we had picked her up from her sorrowful state and reminded her of the joy of Christmas.
I almost did not come home for Christmas this year. My heart was to stay overseas and continue on with ministry opportunities. At the last minute I felt God telling me to go home, I did not understand why, but I obeyed. After my time with Donna I realized that those few days gathered with my family were some that God wanted me to treasure. We never know the next time we will be with our loved ones on this earth. Even though I am only 20 years old, this pertains to me as God is calling me away from my home into the life of a missionary. Donna’s beautiful way of finding the good in situations caused me to do the same.
I was reminded of my Heavenly Father’s love and again the joy of Christmas time as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, a gift not one of us earned, but was generously given.
On Christmas Day, as I sat in my family’s living room surrounded by loved ones, an internal joy set ablaze. It was around midday when a strange man walked up our steps and rang the doorbell. We opened the door and there was Bob, the elderly man I had taken brownies to a couple of days prior. In his hands was a beautiful bouquet of poinsettias. He told us that his wife is German and in all her years of living in America she has never had anyone bring her a plate of brownies. She had gone and bought flowers and sent him over to deliver them to me. He shared with me how much it meant to him that I had thought to check up on him, and he was truly blessed by our family.
During my eight and a half months away from home I had received several flowers, each one given to me at a time of spiritual melancholy. They had become a love language between The Lord and I. These simple gifts were His way of speaking comfort and encouragement into my soul. As I took the poinsettias, I was reminded of my Heavenly Father’s love and again the joy of Christmas time as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, a gift not one of us earned, but was generously given.