I have two stories to tell you. They both happened this week.
First, my birthday is on Tuesday. Troy has been asking and asking what I want but I can't really think of anything. I mean, I know what I really want but Troy can't rush the adoption process for me. So we wait. I started thinking and here's the thing. I am actually, like, an Idina Menzel groupie. I borderline on "stalker" meaning that the only reason I am not her stalker is that I have not had much opportunity. This makes me a bad candidate for an actual stalker because REAL STALKERS FIND A WAY! Anyway. I've already seen her World Tour once and I'm seeing it again in October and then I found out that she was performing in the first seven cities of the If/Then tour. So I told Troy that what I really wanted was to fly to one of those cities and see the show.
But even with flyer miles, that would require a hotel and a rental car and the tickets and...well, that's way out of my birthday budget. Still, Troy said we could do it. Because he loves me and he's awesome like that. But I am practical so I ultimately decided that the only real option was to see it in San Diego in January. In San Diego, if I'm really nice and play my daughter card just right, I have free lodging and access to a vehicle. Still, it would be a lot cheaper if I went with a friend and Troy stayed here with our children. Especially since Troy doesn't particularly care about seeing it.
I tried to think of which of my friends I could ask to join me. I remembered that my friend, Jenni, said she was seeing it and I texted her to find out which day. I knew she already had tickets but I figured if I went on the same day, I could at least say hi there and hello to her during intermission. It turns out that Jenni has two tickets and her husband didn't want to see the show either. So she said I could have the extra ticket. Specifically, her text said, "Would you like to come with me to the show? I have an extra ticket. They're front row on Saturday January 9 at 2:00pm. The matinee."
If you think I slapped myself and then pinched myself and then assured myself it was just a dream I was having trouble waking up from you, you would be correct. I ran around my room wearing the doofiest of doofy grins and then ran downstairs and said something about, "YOU'RE NOT EVER NEVER GONNA BELIEVE THIS...."
I wasn't even calm and collected in my response. Calm and collected would have been like, "Oh. Sure. That'd be cool. Thanks." But what I said was, "ARE YOU DEAD SERIOUS BECAUSE YES I WANT TO GO WITH YOU AND SIT IN THE FRONT ROW AND I'LL TOTALLY PAY YOU FOR THE TICKET..."
And then she said no and I replied with, "But I WANT TO pay you! I honestly feel like I can't accept such an enormous and amazing gift for free!"
Then she responded with something about how she understood but it wasn't necessary and I said something about how she didn't understand the magnitude of what she was giving me and that I was kind of a stalker and she said, "I know, that's why it's awesome that you have the opportunity to come out here for it. Although I would be embarrassed if you jump up on the stage and accost Idina. I'm not gonna lie." And then I promised not to do that which, in retrospect, was a pretty hasty promise to make but I'm a woman of my word so now I'm bound to NOT RUIN THE PLAY.
Here's the second story.
We've had a hand me down entertainment center since we got married. I've wanted a stand for awhile now but it just wasn't in the budget. I shopped around for one that we might be able to afford...if we had a successful yard sale (which was held yesterday) and if I used any birthday money I might get on Tuesday.
I found one on sale at RC Willey that I REALLY like. It was $299 (down from $399). The yard sale ended up being a bit of a bust. It was Labor Day weekend and the infamous wind we have in these parts was blowing everything all over the place and people stayed home and so we only made $118.
Then Troy found out that a check for $63 had been sent to our old address. We haven't lived there in nearly eight years. My sister-in-law lives down the street though and ended up with the check in her possession. She took a picture of it for me and it makes no earthly sense because the check is from USBank. We never banked with them in the entire time we lived at that house so...weird. But it's a legitimate check and it's on its way to us. So with that extra money, we were at $181.
We wanted to see it before we bought it but the closest store to us didn't have one on the floor. We didn't really want to drive to south Salt Lake to look at one but that was our only option. We loaded ourselves into the van and headed over. The boys were in heaven in such a huge furniture store and were acting like it was Christmas morning. Troy thought it would be fun to meander through the clearance section before heading upstairs. As we walked around, we spotted one TV stand, from the back, and started walking toward it. Maybe we'd like it?
As we turned around to see the front of it we discovered that it was almost identical to the one we'd gone to see. The clearance one was a slightly different color and just a tiny bit lower to the ground. Otherwise, it was the same piece of furniture. It was originally $399, marked down to $199. There's nothing wrong with it. It used to be a floor model. Bonus, no assembly required! I was overjoyed.
I'm telling both of these stories because sometimes we're so busy asking and waiting on God for the big stuff that we forget to praise Him in the smaller things. We want Him to cure someone's cancer, give someone else the job he wants, bring us another tiny human. We wait and pray and cry out and wonder when, if ever. He looks at us and says, "Hey, I'm in the big stuff. I'm going to prove it by being in these little things that you didn't even think to ask me about. You can see this show for whatever your friend will allow you to pay. You can sit in the front row, even, of a musical with this person you really enjoy. I'm gonna do that for you. Also, that TV stand you want, it's going to be $214 after tax. Do you think you can handle paying $33 out of pocket?"
We call it coincidence or luck. We smile and move on. But what if we chose to see God in ALL our good fortune? We are blessed. We find His favor so much more often than we acknowledge. He uses people to bless us and we miss it. What blessings have you decided to call random chance, fate or luck?
Take a look around. I'll bet God shows up a lot more than you ever realize.