Her list of children that she had to clothe was 6 names long. She entered the “store” giving her name with an easy smile, a little shy it seemed.
“Each shopper is allowed 5 items per person,” I say. “Each of your family members may have 5. We’ve been busy but you can look to see if you can find sizes for each one. It may be hard to find 5 for each, but I pray that you can.”
She shops. She looks for a long time and begins to make stacks of 5. She seems methodical.
We are busy and so I don’t watch her every move. I try not to hover over anyone as our goal is to treat every person with dignity as they are already facing such difficult times.
Upon approaching the desk to have her many stacks counted she begins to say the names on her list. “George, Matthew…” thinking out loud.
As she hands me the first stack and I look at her list of names I see that George is 5 years old. There’s a little boy’s navy shirt on top of the stack and so I smile, glad that she found things that would fit this child. I pick up the navy shirt and begin to count. “One…” but wait. The next item is a dress? And the next is a lady’s shirt.
I look at her. “This is for George?” I ask. She never expected me to look through every item. I take the dress from George’s stack and continue to look. There are several women’s tops in George’s stack.
There are lots of stacks with lots of items and most are for her. Perhaps she’s desperate feeling that she never really gets things for herself.. I don’t really know, but I do know that every other shopper has been given the same guidelines and they are watching and listening to see if I will be fair.
“I am sorry ma’am. I suppose I was not clear. You may take 5 items for yourself so I will need for you to choose from the ladies items for yourself. If I allow you to take 5 ladies items in place of each of your children’s items you will take 30 items from the women’s racks just for yourself. We are trying to reach so many ma’am. I am sure you understand.”
In our desperation.. when the nights are long and dark and there’s not enough to go around we wonder if we will ever have what we need to make it through. Even if it’s free we sometimes are overwhelmed with the emptiness and we long for so much to fill it with anything… just anything and so we sometimes steal… even if it’s free. Especially if we’ve been forgotten time after time after a very long time.
The free gift of Jesus IS enough. We don’t steal this freedom because once we receive it it fills us to the full. We are not forgotten because He came for the WHOLE WORLD (John 3:16) and He knows each of us by the number of hairs on our heads. Like a cup that can’t contain it’s contents and it flows over onto the counter, the floor and it keeps flowing, the gift of complete forgiveness for every wrong we’ve ever committed is truly enough. It makes a mess of our lives because it completely wrecks everything that we’ve ever known about ourselves. The dirt. The wrong decisions. The lies. To know that His death means that I might have life breathes breath into my otherwise empty and longing heart and it fills me fuller than I ever thought I could be.
The threads and seams and buttons and zippers could never fill us full. There will always be a longing for more. They fade. They no longer fit. They are old and out of style and they are not enough.
Nothing in this world is…
Only Christ. His life and His death. His forgiveness and His promises kept. They are all enough. We just have to repent, or turn around, He’s standing at the door with the free gift ready for the taking. Not stealing. Taking.