A Kiss on the Forehead

Encountering Heaven in Every Day Life

Kisses at Walmart

Don’t you love it when God shows up in the most unexpected places?

Yesterday afternoon, I was having a horrible day. Buddy Bear had been incredibly cranky, clingy, protesting his naps, and throwing every bit of food I gave him on the ground. Mr. Right is back to school, which is always a tough transition, as he’s not as available to help and every second of his day is given to school, homework, or work (he works really hard in all three areas to make sure Buddy Bear and I are taken care of, but back-to-school really is a hard transition for the entire family).

Finally, at about 3pm, I’d had enough, and I decided I needed to get out of the house, so without even changing out of my yoga pants and t-shirt or bothering to run a brush through my hair, I loaded up Buddy Bear and we headed to Walmart. We are a little short on cash this week, but I had a $20 bill and a Walmart Gift Card which I was confident had $15 on it. I had a short list of things I needed that had been forgotten on an earlier trip to the grocery store this week and had also ordered some photos to include in thank you cards from Buddy Bear’s birthday party last month (yes I am a bit behind) so I went to pick that stuff up.

Buddy Bear was NOT excited about our Walmart trip. He fussed and whined the entire time. He kept trying to get out of the cart and was obviously unhappy (probably due to his lack of nap). I found myself flustered and frustrated as I finally got to the checkout line. There were three people ahead of me and so I picked up Buddy Bear and tried to calm him. I rocked him, shushed him, tried to distract him, and finally started singing softly to him which calmed him down. I couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed as I looked at the guy in front of me who was obviously annoyed and the lady behind me who gave me a knowing look that said “I understand.”

When I finally got up to the cashier and the obviously tired employee scanned my items… sugar… bananas… oil… the pictures… and a few other things, she announced my total. “$32.50.” With Buddy Bear in one arm, I fumbled for the gift card and my $20 out of my wallet and slid them across the counter to the cashier. She scanned the gift card. Then again. Then again.

“Sweetie there’s nothing on this gift card,” she said softly.

“Are you sure? Because I was sure there was $15 on there.”

“No honey, it says it’s empty.”

Well shoot. I doubled checked my wallet for more cash (even though I was quite sure there wasn’t anything in there) and bit my lip. “I am SO sorry, that’s all I have today. I hate to do this, but can we take out the pictures and a couple other things to get it below $20?”

The cashier looked up and smiled, “I understand sweetie. Let’s make this work.”

Buddy Bear started fussing again, and I looked back at the long line growing behind me and said “I’m so SO sorry.”

I took my change and kissed Buddy Bear on the cheek. “Can you say bye bye?” Instead, he buried his head into my neck and fussed.

We left Walmart and continued to the car, where I buckled in Buddy Bear, rolled down the windows, and took a moment to let the air conditioning kick in before I put the car in reverse. When I started to back out, I noticed I was being blocked by an S.U.V. I waited, and waited, and waited… then put the car back in park, and leaned my head back against the headrest, and closed my eyes for just a moment.

I was startled by a tapping on the window. It was the driver of the S.U.V., holding out two Walmart bags. Peeking out of one bag I could see the envelope containing the pictures I’d had developed. Confused, I rolled down the window and she she told me she had been behind me in the line at Walmart. She told me she’d paid for my items, and she insisted I take the bags. I protested, but she persisted. As I tearfully took the bags, she thrust the $20 bill into my hand. I tried to explain that we would have the money Friday when Mr. Right got paid, and that it was really our own fault we didn’t have the money right now – we hadn’t budgeted properly, and I really didn’t NEED the items right now, OR the extra money, but that she should give it to someone else…

She didn’t let me get through my first sentence.

“Honey,” she said in her sweet, rich southern drawl, “I don’t care if you’re a millionaire, if you live in this car, or if you are just having a bad day. I want you to have this and I don’t want you to argue. You are such a sweet mama with that baby and you need to know you are loved and appreciated today.”

I held back tears.

“Oh, and I hope you like kit kat because I threw a candy bar in there for you too. God wants you to know He loves you.”

I tearfully thanked the lady and told her I would pay it forward. She responded.

“I don’t care what you do. As long as you know you are loved and appreciated.”

Humbling, isn’t it, to receive a gift you don’t deserve?

Now, I didn’t I didn’t “need” any of the stuff she went back and bought for me. I didn’t “need” the $20. And I certainly didn’t “need” that kit kat bar (although it IS my favorite)… but I did NEED to know I was loved and appreciated, right in that moment.

Isn’t it amazing how God can send you exactly what you need, and even more than that, right when you need it?

God gave me a kiss on the forehead… right in the middle of the Walmart parking lot today.

In what big or small ways have you seen God’s loving tenderness in your life lately? How can you be a messenger of God’s love to someone you encounter on your next trip to Walmart?

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