It's days like this that fill my heart to full. A young lady and her mother walked into our booth at The Southern Christmas Show. I asked her if she was familiar with The Marketplace. She said she was not but had been reading the tags and was interested in learning more about us. As I was explaining, I saw her get excited. She started sharing her story. She was going to the Philippines for an internship with IJM and World Ventures. I shared that God broke my heart for the poor when I lived in the Philippines as a kid; I was a Navy brat. I encouraged her to be open to all that God has in store for her in this season. I would love to have a group from the Philippines and gave her my business card and asked her to email me her contact info and a resume. You just never know when our paths may cross again. They thanked me and started shopping. Her mom came over while her daughter was looking at Swing Tees and said, "We didn't know why we came to the Southern Christmas Show today but I know it was to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to my daughter. It meant the world to her. She just had a tough week and she needed to hear what you said." THAT is why we stand in a booth 11 days straight and share stories. Our job is not only to empower people around the world but to also encourage people in our community. It truly is all parts of the body being the body!
I received a beautiful prototype baby blanket made out of sari fabric from our friends at The White Peacock in India. As I was folding it to put it away, I felt God wanted me to bring this to the Southern Christmas Show. I thought there is no room to display this at the show. Bless someone. What? Bless someone and tell them something from me. Oh no- not again. I am going to look like a lunatic. I want you to tell her that I love her daughter and I have great things plannedfor her.
I have learned not to question but to just do it. As I was driving in with my team, I told them what I was going to do. They loved it. Of course they did. I was going to walk up to someone, give them this blanket and tell them something from God.
I was on the look out all morning for my person and did not find her. Around 2 o'clock, a woman with a baby came up to me and said, "Hey- not sure if you remember me." I looked down and there was a beautiful baby girl. Of course I remembered her. Paige and I met about 3 years ago at the Southern Christmas Show. She shared with me her heart for missions. The next year she came back, we continued our conversation, and then we started messaging each other. Following God is not always easy and it is never according to our time!! She came to the show this year and somehow missed us and was about to go home when she said to her sister and mom- I need to go find The Marketplace.
I gave her the blanket and shared the story. She was so touched. Her daughter Laila was immediately taken by the beautiful colors of the blanket. She told me, "I don't think you realize how much it meant to me that you listened and shared your story. You have great wisdom." I told her, "I wish I had someone when I was starting The Marketplace who would have told me, God will open doors when you are ready. He has to refine us in order for us to be able to handle our assignment." She cried and I gave her a big hug. Her mom came by afterwards and said, "I have heard about you and The Marketplace from Paige and she will cherish that baby blanket."
God you continue to blow my mind- why am I still surprised?!
"My doctor said you are your past." We were standing by the Dance Tank by Sak Saum from Cambodia. The message on the tank says "I am not my past and I will dance again." I looked at her and said God keeps telling me to quit listening to the world. The world will tell you you are not enough or you made a mistake and you will never amount to anything. I refuse to believe that. With God you are a new creation. She looked at me and teared up. Sak Saum rescues women from trafficking and God restores them. She started crying and said, "I needed to hear that today. I also need this tank."
Resounding theme I keep hearing is that the world wants to tell you who you are. Don't believe it. You are who God says you are! God never makes a mistake.