God’s Heart for a Mom in Need
by Linda Rondeau
I wondered if my life could get worse? I was filled with self-pity as I loaded the three children into one grocery cart. Then I grabbed another few items I could afford. Pushing my cart with my right hand and the kids’ with my left, I choo-chooed my way down the aisles on this winter afternoon in 1973.
I reached for a jar of peanut butter and caught the sight of a toy gun my two-year-old had hidden in his coat. I retrieved the item, apparently stolen from somewhere since it wasn’t his.
“Where did you get this?” I asked.
He met my answer with a blank stare. I checked the price tag, then remembered the sales display near the cash registers. He must have picked it up while I was getting his brother and sister situated.
“I can’t buy this, John. We’ll have to put it back.” I suppose I should have used the teachable moment for a lesson in honesty. To be truthful, I could barely focus on my list.
A divorced, unemployed mother of three pre-school children, I believed, prior to that morning, I had already sunk to the bottom—until I opened up my eviction notice with the morning’s mail. I’d achieved the impossible, a new depth from which to wallow.
What had I done to deserve these troubles? My present circumstances weren’t my doing. I’d been a model tenant, paying on time, my home spotless. I even waxed my floors on a weekly basis. My landlady planned to place a family member coming in from out of town in my apartment. I lived in space she thought she needed more than I did.
Humiliation pricked me like a thousand sewing needles. I didn’t blame the property owner, at least not intellectually. If in her shoes, I’d have done the same. And I’d have gone on my merry way believing my good tenant should have no problems in finding another place to live. And, like her, I’d have given the individual a letter of reference. But finding an affordable apartment with my limited resources in a safe neighborhood posed challenges beyond my scope of solvability.
Tomorrow lay before me like an unwritten movie script, but I knew the logline: A divorced woman and her three children huddle together in a cardboard box.
“Well, Lord,” I prayed through tears. “I need a miracle.”
Re-reading my grocery list, I mentally scratched off items I could possibly do without. I could forego the floor polish. I wouldn’t be able to wash and wax the street. How could I decipher if toilet paper were more critical than toothpaste?
I looked up in time to witness John lean over from the kids cart and dump a handful of candy bars into mine.
“What are you doing!” My howls echoed through the store like canyon winds. “Don’t even think you’re getting candy.”
I felt like Snow White’s evil stepmother as I heaved the treats back on the shelf with one huge huff of indignation. Even so, wet trickles slid down my cheeks as John’s little face turned from rosy innocence to gray fright, his wails even louder than my reprimands. As if sucked into another dimension, I saw myself in frozen ugliness, fearful I was observing my own mental breakdown.
From somewhere, staccato-like bursts of joy pierced the nightmarish scene.
That’s when I saw him, the man I’d learn to call my supermarket angel, a department store Santa type, even sporting a long white beard and black boots but sans the red suit. He held his middle as he nearly doubled over with amusement, seemingly as frozen in the instant as I was.
Ire erupted. How could anyone so obtusely enjoy my pain. As I surveyed the surreal, I felt a growing pressure in my abdomen. Within seconds, my own gurgles of laughter sprayed the atmosphere like a happy geyser.
I don’t know how long time stood still. But when I returned to the present, my mood had miraculously transformed from bitterness to hope. Despair fled replaced by the reassurance God had already made a plan even before I demanded a solution.
I gathered up the rejected candy bars and cradled them back to my cart.
“Just because I love you,” I said, and kissed my child on the top of his head.
I should thank the odd man for bringing me back from the precipice of insanity. When I looked for him, he was nowhere to be seen. I’d turned away for less than a minute. How could he have disappeared?
I’d heard how God sometimes sends his angels to us at odd times, in odd places, and perhaps in the form of an obese elderly man on a supermarket bench. Had I been so graced?
I won’t know this side of heaven for sure. But whenever I drift into a woe-is-me attitude, the image of that jolly, fat elf never fails to bring me out of the pit.
Some wonder what happened after this event, assuming I did not end up on the street. God did lead me to a public housing project with sufficient room for the four of us. Later, I moved near my parents, joined a theater group, and remarried a wonderful Christian man, my partner in life for forty-five years. God uses the upsets of life to redirect us to better things.
Get to Know Linda:
Award-winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau writes stories that grip the heart, inspired by her nearly thirty years of social work. Her motto is, “With God, our worst past becomes our best future.” When not writing or speaking, she enjoys the occasional round of golf, visiting museums, and taking walks with her best friend in life, her husband of forty-five years. The couple resides in Hagerstown, Maryland where both are active in their local church. Readers may learn more about the author, read her blog, or sign up for her newsletter by visiting up for her newsletter by visiting www.lindarondeau.com.
My Favorite Bible Verses Off the Cuff. Watch for the author’s newest devotional release in March, Lessons Along the Way, Volume I of three.
Check out Linda’s book, Ghosts of Trumball Mansion
Why do the ghosts in his wife’s ballroom attack only him? Or is publishing tycoon Henry Fitzgibbons insane?
Lana Longstreet is his star author … and his informally estranged wife. Now that the children are grown, maybe the time has come to officially end any obligation to his wife’s Connecticut estate and be free of their torment.
Sylvia Fitzgibbons has grown tired of the charade. She’d ask Henry for a divorce if the children weren’t planning a lavish anniversary party in August, and she has a deadline for her Johnny Gallant suspense series in the same month. Then there is the matter of the decaying rose gardens, Henry’s only allure to the estate and launch parties.
She insists Henry spend the summer to tend to estate matters, and Henry reluctantly agrees. Hoping for an early escape, he hires a gangly landscape artist who eerily resembles a washed out country singer. But when Sylvia’s housekeeper must retire due to an auto accident, she begs for his help. Unable to resist her femme fatale pleas, Henry is trapped for the duration.
Forced closeness and Sylvia’s dependence on Henry draws them closer. As a reconciliation proves possible, Lana Longstreet is charged with plagiarism threatening their publishing empire and the malignant forces within the estate become increasingly aggressive.
Something evil seems to conspire against them that only Faith can conquer.