Tonight I took Caleb to his weekly Upward basketball practice at our church. I pulled up to the door, gave him a hug, and told him I'd be back when he was done. While he worked on his skills with his team, Sarah, Gabriel, and I made our way to Walmart to pick up a few things I had been needing to get anyway.
We strolled down the make-up aisle and I found some lip gloss and face wash. I also picked up some fingernail polish remover that I so desperately needed, and I grabbed a small, purse-sized lotion thingy.
Sounds like a pretty basic, normal, boring trip to Walmart, right?
When I was done with my small list, I told Sarah and Gabriel I'd let them look at the toys. They are always good at this, knowing we are just looking and not buying. They like to hold things sometimes or point out what might be fun, but they know nothing is coming home with us! I turned the corner to go down the girl aisle (as I call it) and I noticed some really cute, fun, new Barbies that I hadn't noticed before! We talked about how pretty they were, and Sarah made sure to show me the one that Mama had given her for Christmas - the one with the horse that she always plays with.
And then I heard a voice behind me. It was very unexpected because I didn't notice anyone in the aisle as we strolled along: "Is there a doctor Barbie?"
It was a woman - my age I'd guess, maybe a bit younger - who looked a little rough I'll admit. I replied, "Well, I'm not sure! I'll help you look." I glanced down at all the different varieties, and then I spotted her - the doctor Barbie. "Here she is. Sure looks cute!"
As I began to walk away and continue the toy browsing with my kids, I heard her continue: "My daughter's birthday is tomorrow, and I only have $9. Do you think you could help me buy this Barbie?"
It totally caught me off guard. Totally.
I am not one to carry cash with me, and tonight was no different. I knew she needed $11 to make up the difference, and I didn't have it on me. But quickly and strongly I felt that I needed to say yes. I was supposed to buy this toy for a woman I didn't even know.
"I don't have cash on me, but I'm done with my shopping if you want to go up front with me. I'll buy it for you when I check out."
"Really? Oh, my gosh. Thank you. Are you sure? I really appreciate this." She told me her daughter would be turning 5, and I looked at Sarah, sitting in the cart, and said, "My little girl will be 5 this summer. She likes Barbies, too."
We arrived at the front of the store. I purchased the doll for her soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter, handed it to her, and told her I hoped her little girl would have a great day tomorrow.
I'm not really sure why I felt compelled to buy that Barbie. As she walked away, and as I pushed the cart with my kids inside, I kept wondering why God allowed this encounter. Who was He wanting to speak to - me or her?
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