A Compassionate Gift

When you’re a kid, checking the mail is the best. Like, seriously the best! It evolves from holding mommy’s hand to walk to the mailbox so that you can carry it back for her, to being tall enough to reach the mailbox yourself. Then, you’re big enough to walk to the mailbox on your own so you can be the first to rifle through the mail looking for goodies from Grandma or that special magazine that daddy ordered for you. Mail is wonderful, at least until you grow up. Suddenly, it’s a chore to check the mail as you know what’s waiting for you…bills. So. Many. Bills. You mean this person wants to be paid every month? What do you mean you can’t waive that late fee? Bills. Responsibility. Life. Bills are a part of being a grown up. 

I’ve shared that our youngest little guy was born very sick, and with his condition came specialists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and NICU stays. I discovered long ago that those terms simply meant money, money, and more money. My husband has happily carried the financial weight of this family on his own since our first son was born. I resigned from teaching the week before I was supposed to return from maternity leave, as we both felt that the monetary sacrifice was worth me staying home. Three boys later, I’m still home with them and Stephen is still happily (well, mostly happily) carrying our financial burden on his own. And that was all working out until the medical bills started arriving. We got a healthy dose of "adulting” when we received a six figure medical bill in the mail. Some companies accepted reasonable payment plans; some thought that offering 10% off an astronomical bill would entice us to pay in full right away. Needless to say, it was overwhelming and I shared my stress and concerns with my Tribe, as I like to call them. My people who love me unconditionally and I love them the same. After one particular financially stressful month, I kind of broke down (which is a total rarity for me. Crying is for the weak, right?). The following week, I was told that someone had dropped an envelope off for me at a friend's house and that they wanted to remain anonymous. Huh? There is no anonymity in friendship. What on earth could this cryptic gift be? I received the secret envelope from the anonymous sender and burst into tears when I opened it (here I go with the crying again. Maybe I’m not as tough as I thought). Inside was $500 cash. CASH. What?!? Of course the money is what I saw first, but the money paled in comparison to the accompanying note:

Brooke,
As I was praying for your family a couple of nights ago, I was reminded of how blessed I am to have healthy children. I then had an amazing “call” from the Holy Spirit to serve Him by contributing to Weston’s medical bills. I give you this gift with much love and feel so blessed that God has asked me to serve Him this way. Hugs.

 
What struck me the most about this incredible gesture wasn’t the amount of money, or the fact that it was given to me, it was the note and HOW that money came to be mine. She said it in the very first line, “As I was praying for your family.” See, this beautiful soul didn’t just wake up one day and decide to give me money because she wanted recognition or wanted me to fawn over her generosity. She intentionally prayed for my family. She “did the work” for her friend because she saw that my family and I needed all the prayers we could get. Intentional prayer is indeed hard work! Not only did she continuously pray for my family, but she LISTENED for God’s answer to those prayers and faithfully responded. The monetary gift was a huge blessing in itself, but the emotional gift was worth 100 times that. In one hand I held the money that would help knock one of those medical bills down. In the other hand I held a card with handwritten words that made my heart burst with joy because I had a friend who took the time to care for my family and my heart with prayer. Can you guess which I still treasure most to this day?

That beautiful, anonymous gift helped to change the way I look at life. Now, instead of begrudgingly walking to the mailbox because I just know that more bills are waiting for me, I watch my older boys race to see who can grab the mail first. I see my youngest on his tippy toes trying hard to reach the mail in the hopes that something has come for him. Just this week, his tiny hands handed me the lone envelope in the mailbox. Yup, you guessed it, a medical bill. I rolled my eyes and said, “It’s been almost three years. When will it end?” I opened it with the enthusiasm of a wet cat only to be met with the words BALANCE OF ZERO! This was the bill that the money from my precious friend was put towards. This was the bill that we’d been slowly chipping away at for the past three years. And this bill was officially no longer! With every zero balance that comes in, I breathe a little easier. Thank you, anonymous friend. Thank you for investing in me and my family. Most of all, thank you for coming alongside me when I needed it most. You’re truly a gift and an answered prayer. Your compassion created magnificence in the middle of a big mess!

Brooke is warrior mama to three rambunctious boys, wife to an honest, hardworking man, daughter to one of the greatest humans our great God ever created, and friend to anyone who talks to her. She's has been dubbed "the most inappropriate friend." She lives for a good belly laugh and to bring laughter to others - laughter feeds her soul. She loves the outdoors (not like hiking or rock climbing - she's not that cool - more like standing in the sunshine listening to nature!) and she finds God in the simple things.