Remember back in September when my amazing friends and family surprised me with money to purchase a plane ticket home for Christmas? Well, now I know how they felt with their generosity. I have been dying to do this for somebody else and I had the perfect opportunity!
A few weeks ago I went to a friends house for a clothing party and was having a great time chatting with all the ladies, eating snack food, and watching everybody model their new outfits that they wanted to purchase. Things were sort of winding down when my friend, Nicole, and I were speaking with a member of our small group bible study. This woman, Patricia, is a sweet, soft spoken, kind hearted, loving person who is also a family/marriage counselor. All of the ladies, at one point or another, have asked for her advice or opinion on certain relational matters, which she will gladly discuss and talk through with all of us. Needless to say, we love her!!
I met Patricia a year and a half ago when I first signed up for my small group through church. I felt like I knew her for years - she just has that welcoming personality. Once our group started up again last fall, she had a prior commitment that kept her from coming on a regular basis, so we would only see each other every now and again.
Back in January, she showed up for small group discussion and unbeknownst to some of us, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a mastectomy. I was devastated to hear the news, but she was healing well and getting along nicely....then she told us that even though the doctors had removed everything, they still wanted her to go through a few rounds of chemotherapy. Stunned. I didn't even know what to say.
So for the last few months, this mid 60 year old woman has been going through chemo by herself and still working. She found out that she was being put on a new drug that would cost her more money per month and that was stressing her out, of course. She has a daughter that lives in Texas that she wanted to go visit, but knew she didn't have enough money to get down there right away, so she was setting money aside for her 'Southwest Fund'.
At that exact moment, I was convicted. I stopped listening to anything she was saying. All I heard were the words, "Do something." My first thought: Yeah, right - I'm scraping by as it is, how can I do something when I don't have anything??
The next thing: 'Twenty dollars''. HA, boy, that will get her to the airport - then what? Well, she had just told us that a ticket she saw was around $250 - I quickly figured that if 10 of us give $20, we would have $200 since she said that she did have some money in there already. Good enough.
Patricia had to leave and Nicole and I just stood there in silence for a minute. I turned to her and said, "We have to do something. We're buying her a plane ticket to go see her daughter." Nicole's reply, "I'm in."
Set the wheels in motion!
An email went out to the small group and money started pouring in, just as planned. Even though times are tough, people are so giving in times of need and it just felt GOOD to do this for somebody we love. When all was said and done, we had come up with about $360 to donate to her fund! This was so exciting...
Tuesday night I presented Patricia "the gift" and she was so grateful. Her humbleness was so real and her tears of joy were felt by each of us in the room.
God knew Patricia's need before we did. He presented the circumstance, convicted us, we obeyed and met Him where He wanted us, and the glory is His.
I don't believe that it was any accident that we were all in the same place on a Friday night. What an absolutely great experience to be a part of and NOW I know how my friends and family felt when they were helping me last year! I am still so grateful, just as I know Patricia will be for the months ahead!