I had broken up with the man I thought I would be marrying. I had come home, defeated and depressed. I had dropped out of college and I needed a fresh start. There was a bit of relief that the relationship was over. I thought eventually I would love him the way my parents loved each other. I thought it would grow. Real love wouldn't come until much, much later.
I decided to get my own apartment. That seemed like the appropriate next step. There was nothing that screamed "I'm fine. It's fine. I'M FINE!" like a place just for me. I had absolutely no furniture except one chair. I slept on an air mattress with a tiny hole and the heaviest part of my body would be touching the floor the next morning. I'm sure we all know which part that is. Mawie, God bless that woman, bought me a mattress. I decided to look for estate sales in the newspaper for some other furniture. I found one not too far away and headed there hoping for the best.
What I walked away with was absolutely EVERYTHING I needed for my space. Barrel chairs, a white peacock sofa, kitchen utensils, sewing machine, dining room table and hutch. I could go on. Most importantly...I made 5 new friends. They were elderly women whose friend had moved into a nursing home. They were helping sell her stuff to pay for her move. I called my mom and her squad and she told me to hold up until she got there. What I was saying sounded crazy. She has always been the one to double check my deals, one more ridiculous than the next (love you Momma!). While I waited for my mom to arrive, those elderly women sat with me and told me about all the fun they'd had together. You could see the pain when they mentioned their friend. They were overjoyed to be helping me start my new life. Before I left with my truckloads of things, the women gifted me their friend's fine china. They wrapped it and assured me their friend would love for me to have it. I've never taken it out of the paper. I've never had a formal dining room to display it. I've honestly thought about it often and longed for a reason to use it. Today was that reason.
I decided I'm not a huge fan of a mystical fat man getting all the cred for my kids gifts. Especially what it's taken to purchase them. I decided that I won't lie to my kids when they ask if he is real but we just keep the Santa chatter to a minimum (not dogging ya if you go all out!). I still wanted the magic of Christmas morning. My friend Claire told me about her friend who's mom would make a royal birthday celebration out of Christmas morning. Bran was on board and so, I ventured back to the dark, creepy corner of my basement to find some of my most expensive, beautiful possessions. It was like the shepherds finding Jesus in the animal trough. Just kidding guys.
Whoever sent the Target gift card and the sweet note, I used that to buy an actual table cloth. I've never bought one before. The ones I had were other gifts from those sweet women 14 years ago. I've been known to use a bed sheet. I pressed white linen napkins from woman camp (woop! woop!), and set each place with the treasured china for my treasured souls.
Today, we feasted and thanked Jesus for being born. We opened gifts and were thankful for each other and food on the beautiful table. Team Ogilby welcomed it's newest member, Ferdinand, which can't be a coincidence that his name starts with "F". Charlotte even read him a book to feel more welcome (he was terrified). We hugged and meant it.
I was honestly worried about this season. Being in the same place as last year, but not having the "high" from all the paper man buzz. My anxiety felt as if it was creeping up. I felt like all of that carried me through the season. And then my wallet and phone were stolen. Again, I tried to keep a hopeful heart, but it was almost as if I would crumble if I took a long hard look at my position. What happened next can only be Jesus. Someone (I absolutely am better because you are in my life) bought me a new phone. The Target gift card and note. A new wallet with a check and card. Food, a new purse, and "candy cans" for my kids. The breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with and from friends. Money in the mail. A bracelet in the mail. A friend stopping by with socks, gift cards, paper towels. Family giving me money they would usually donate to the fund my dad set up before he passed away to put towards Nepal. Notes and chats and messages confirming from Jesus, in all His wondrous glory, after all my mistakes have been poorly laid out...He loves me. He sees me and He knows me and He still loves me. I'm so far from perfect that sometimes my breath catches when I think about my missteps. I think that I shouldn't go to Nepal because I don't have my life together. I screw up in mighty proportions. All the while God could pull back His abundance, and maybe even He should...but they flow freely.