There are so many wonderful things that happen at the TLC Thrift Store where I have been volunteering that if you blink your eyes, you may miss the divine moments.
Last Saturday, we led a woman to find a church home at Grace Community where I attend church and she returned this weekend. She admitted that she is reading her “free” bible that was given to her at Grace last Sunday as a gift.
Like I always say, “It’s not a gift until you give it away.”
This Saturday was no different and the miracles in our midst still take my breath away. I was standing in the women’s clothing section, hanging new (used) clothing on the racks that we had just received. A woman and her daughter entered and I greeted them. I asked if they were “local” and before she could answer, her cell phone began to ring. She said, “Excuse me; I have to take this call.”
What ensued was that I got to witness a military family having family time – some 6,000+ miles apart from one another. The conversation went like this,
“Hi honey, how are you?”
“We came down to the new Thrift Store in town. She’s here with me; do you want to speak to her?”
The lady handed the telephone to her young daughter who grabbed it and said, “Hi daddy. I love you…”
At that point, I stepped away to give them family time, privacy and prayers that although they were with us in the Thrift Store – they would feel somehow closer to one another. The conversation connected them through the distance that separated them.
Bill was standing at the counter and I told him, “Bill we have a military family with us today. The dad just called from Afghanistan – he’s on the phone right now. I handed Bill some money towards her bill and said, “Whatever she’s buying – we should cover it.” Bill agreed and said, “We will.”
Fifteen minutes passed and the last thing I heard was, “When will you be able to call again?” She closed the phone and looked at me and said, “We got cut off. He only has fifteen minutes – we get a 15 second warning and then the line goes blank.” She stood in silence at the clothing rack looking like tears would spill down her cheeks at any moment and I smiled at the daughter, thanking her for her service to our country. The mom headed towards the register to pay for her purchases.
Bill folded everything and placed it in bags. The woman handed him some money and Bill said, “It’s already covered. You’re covered for covering us. We’ll pray for your husband to come home safe.” The woman tried again to hand him some money as she said, “No, this is for a good cause here, please take the money.” Bill stood firm, “No, we’ve got it covered. Thank you.”
She stood for a moment, smiled and said, “I’ll be back. I’ll be telling everyone about this place and I’ll be back, too. Thank you.”
That’s what it’s like at the Thrift Store. We’re touching lives, reaching out and reaching up – for His Glory and by His Grace.
Just another day in the life of a store that has taken on a life of its own. Amen for that.