When we first came to Virginia to “check things out” back in 2011, we were blessed to meet so many wonderful people that helped make our move and transition so much easier. Each of these people was planted strategically in our lives; some were sent for a specific purpose and a short season, others to “do life with.”
We had set an appointment to tour the grade school and meet with admissions. As we walked to the car, leaving the school grounds that day, we suddenly heard someone behind us yelling, “Whoo hoo! Excuse me! Don’t leave yet! Hello!” We slowly turned around to see a lady running across the parking lot flagging us down. She had heard us talking about our older son wanting to play soccer. Her children were also all soccer players. She began to share with us how wonderful the school was and that we would love it here. She was so full of life … like a burst of sunshine on a stormy day. We spent about 15 minutes chatting, then went our separate ways. I didn’t even catch her name.
A couple of months later I received a phone call from the admissions counselor at the school. She said the lady that flagged us down in the parking lot had been praying for us and wanted to get in touch with me. Would it be okay if she emailed me. Of course I said yes. We began to affectionately call her “The Parking Lot Lady.”
Over the course of the next couple of months, we exchanged several emails. She encouraged us to hang in there through the challenges of preparing our home to sell and trying to coordinate everything for the move. She always let me know that she was praying for us and that she couldn’t wait to see us, and if we needed anything just to let her know. I could just feel the joy and happiness in her spirit radiating through her messages.
It was a hot and humid July night when our family arrived at the airport … our final stop to our new home. The next morning my phone rang … it was “The Parking Lot Lady.” “Can I bring you dinner? Or better yet, would you like to come to dinner tonight? It’s a little bit of a ways to our home, but I’d be more than happy to drive in to the city and meet you and then you can follow me back.” Plans were made and surprise of all surprise, we once again met her in a parking lot. We were so excited to see her and she us.
Over the course of the next few months she began to unfold the trials that her family had been through. Job loss, foreclosures, loss of a huge construction business, having to move to a new state, situations with their children, and on and on. But through all the telling, the smile never, ever left her face. And through every circumstance recounted, she’d always add in that regardless, God had been faithful. He’d taken care of them. Yes it had been hard, and yes, there were many many days and weeks of financial uncertainty, but through it all she would choose to be joyful because she still had a roof over her head, food to eat, a car to drive, clothes to wear, and most of all, the promise that everything would be all right.
Each time I’m with her, I can’t help but to walk away with a smile on my face. Her smiles are contagious! Her joy spills over to my countenance. Her presence puts a song in my heart.
Do you have a friend like that? Someone that you just can’t help but to be drawn to? One that takes any gloomy day or situation and puts it all into perspective?
I praise God for “The Parking Lot Lady” all the time – because she’s my friend …and because she makes me smile.
Join me today as we Count Our Blessings, naming three things that make us smile.