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A TENDER, GENEROUS HEART


Leaning against the bedroom wall, I yawned as I patiently waited while my five-year-old daughter, Sarah, transferred stuffed teddy bears and bunnies, her favorite doll, and my mom’s crocheted pink and white Afghan from her child-size red rocking chair to her bed. Next, she strategically positioned her fraternal grandmother’s homemade heart-shaped, rainbow striped, and floral pillows into the corner between the bed and the wall.


When I foolishly asked, “Why do you always put the pillows in the corner?” With child-like logic she answered, “To keep the spiders out.”


Lord, I know Ron and I have taught Sarah to be thankful for her things, but perhaps if she had less stuff, it would discourage the spiders, I silently prayed as I scanned her room.

A toy net, hanging precariously from the ceiling above the red rocking chair, housed a multitude of stuffed animals that didn’t measure up for a position in her pink canopy-topped bed. Barbie’s pink Corvette was garaged beneath a wobbly table across the room from the hanging menagerie, along with a lavender zipper bag stuffed with a dozen Barbie dolls, a wardrobe fit for a princess, and one Ken doll wearing his one and only outfit. Barbie’s bed, sofa, and table, handcrafted from scraps of wood by Sarah’s daddy, completed Barbie’s collection.


An assortment of games lined one garage shelf. More were stacked on the top shelf of Sarah’s closet, taking on a life of its own, ever-growing toward the ceiling. I must admit. Some belonged to her older brother already in high school.


A six-drawer dresser that my resourceful husband, Ron, retrieved from a curbside castaway then restored with a new top, wooden knobs, and a coat of glossy white paint, took up one wall in Sarah’s bedroom—every drawer stuffed with more of Sarah’s treasures.


Then one day, a neighbor called and said she found a part-time job and asked if I would consider babysitting her girls. They were sweet girls and I knew Sarah would enjoy their company so I said, “Yes.” Word quickly spread around the neighborhood and before I knew it, I was in the home daycare business.


My heart overflowed with joy seeing Sarah happily sharing her Barbies with the girls. Her big brother’s old-fashioned Lincoln logs made a hit with the boys. And that ever-growing stack of games entertained the children for hours.


One cold winter morning, my only single father forgot his little girl’s coat. I suspected her daddy had forgotten in his haste to get to work, or perhaps she didn’t have one as she stood there shivering in her thin summer dress. Immediately, Sarah opened the coat closet and pulled out her beautiful white furry coat that she had outgrown. Her huge hazel sparkling, she said, “Here, Kelsey. You can have this coat. I don’t need it anymore.” I felt a tear leak down my cheek.


One day, while wrapping a last-minute gift, I couldn’t find a matching bow when Sarah, grinning from ear to ear, handed me the perfect bow. One she miraculously found buried among old Sunday school papers, stickers and sticker books, coloring books and crayons, a deflated silver get-well balloon, and Lord only knows what else was in that jam-packed dresser drawer.


Then one Sunday, our pastor shared about the desperate needs of the Central American refugees and asked the congregation to help with donations of any kind.


Smiling from ear to ear, Sarah turned me and said, “Mommy, I want to give them some of my things.” Again, my eyes filled with tears.

As soon as we arrived home, Sarah began gathering an assortment of stuffed animals from her menagerie, an armful of games and puzzles, and several of her beautiful dresses she had outgrown.


Thank you, Lord, for Sarah’s tender, generous heart. A heart truly tuned in to orders coming down from headquarters above.

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