Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God Abundantly Provides Teddies!

By the time I arrived at my office yesterday morning, I was at the point of tears.  These tears were ones of immense amazement and joy at what had just taken place a few minutes earlier.  Sometimes, I get a sense that I am supposed to go to the Goodwill store for a treasure.  Most of the time the treasure is inspirational books or teddy bears.   Yesterday, teddy bears dropped down from Heaven abundantly!  As I walked into the store, I noticed mounds of stuffed toys on the racks in the middle of the store.  Pushing the small shopping cart along the aisle I discovered a multitude of teddy bears!!  Nan's good will bear project continues!  These teddy bears were perfect and there were lots of them!  Almost instantly, it seemed, the shopping cart was filled to overflowing with these bundles of comfort and joy.  One will need a new nose and a couple more will need a bit of attention before I take them to the cleaners.
As I approached the cash register to pay for them I noticed a tall man, mid 30's, waiting behind me to pay for his own selections of merchandise.  Because it is very unusual for a lady to purchase a large number of teddy bears, naturally it was the topic of conversation.  I shared with the clerk and the gentleman about my teddy bear project with the hospital ER and the comfort these teddies will bring children in need.  The man reached into his wallet and handed me a twenty dollar bill and wanted to pay for these teddy bears.  He said he understands about being in the hospital and being scared.  He's going into the hospital for a hip replacement on Tuesday (today).  Some of the bears were more expensive than others, but when the clerk handed me the change back, which was four dollars and change, I handed it to the man.  He shook his head and put his hand out and said "ma'am you keep that change for the next time you find some more bears for the kids."  I pulled out an envelop from my purse and wrote on it "teddy bears" and asked him his name.  I also wrote "Bruce" on the envelope.  He saw me place the money in the envelope and that he can count on me using the money to purchase more teddy bears.  I told him that I will remember him and his generosity.  I told him I had written a poem about the bears and the condensed version of why I am committed to serving my community in this way.  His face wore the look of a man in physical pain and I asked him if it would be ok if I gave him a hug.  He looked surprised and said "yes ma'am."  As I reached up to hug him I whispered in his ear "Bruce, God will bless you in a very special way for your generosity."  His smile was priceless!
As I walked out of the store with three white trash bags filled with treasures, the man came along behind me.  I opened the trunk of my car and saw a folder with a copy of the poem lying there.  I placed the bags of teddies in the trunk and picked up the poem and called out "Bruce!"  He  said "yes ma'am."  I walked over to his beat up old truck and handed him the copy of the poem and told him I wanted him to have it.  His chin quivered as he took it.  "Thank you, ma'am" he said as he started the engine.  Bruce lives in Asheville, which is about an hour or two west of here and is in Statesville to visit someone before he goes into the hospital for the hip replacement.
Funny thing; Allen and I went by the Goodwill store on Sunday on our way to Lowe's and I mentioned that I'd like to go to the Goodwill store.  Since Allen wasn't interested in going, we didn't.  That was because God intended for the encounter with Bruce to happen on Monday!  Bruce felt good about giving up that $20.00 for a good cause.  I was overwhelmed and overjoyed at his generosity and God's generosity.
When I arrived at the office I counted the bears in the trunk of my car.  There were 22 teddy bears all together!  Amazing!  We serve an amazing God!
After work, I went to see Jeff at Sloan's cleaners to pick up a dozen clean bears and gave him another bag of bears I brought from home to be cleaned.  He was utterly amazed at the story about Bruce and the bears earlier in the morning and so happy to know how God is providing teddy bears.  Both, he and I, had glory bumps covering our arms as I shared the story.  He thought in the beginning I would occasionally bring in a couple of bears.  Neither one of us had any idea how abundantly God would bless this gesture of good will.
I know this story today is a bit long, but I must share it with you.  When I arrived at the hospital ER to deliver the twelve clean teddies, the lady at the desk, (perhaps a nurse) was thrilled to see me.  She told me about a lady and her child who had been in a car accident.  The mom had been airlifted to another hospital and the little three year old had no family at the hospital.  The lady gave one of the teddy bears to the child for comfort and it touched not only the child's heart, but the lady's heart, as well.  The other nurses inquired as to how they get their gently loved teddies to me.  I told them that since the hospital is where they work to bring them to the ER and I will take them to be cleaned and will bring them back to the hospital.
I hope you've enjoyed this account of how abundantly God blesses us and provides for us.  It is when we lose sight of self that we truly find our selves.  Much love to you, one and all!  Nan

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