Peace on earth…and goodwill at Goodwill

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The thrift store and I go back a long ways.

I began going to thrift stores when I was 16.  I love the interesting people I meet shopping there, and all the treasures I find are just an added bonus!

This past year, I had gotten several bags of clothes ready to donate to the local Goodwill.  I was going into town to run errands and dropping off my donations was first on my list.  As I was in the shower that morning, I began to pray about these clothes… that God would use them or use me at the Goodwill.  It was odd, because I don’t recall ever praying specifically for this before…

I finished getting ready and put all the things in my van.  It was a cold, sunny day and I pulled straight into a parking spot near the back of the store.  I got out of the van, and there was a middle-aged lady leaning on the trunk of her car.  She was just standing there- it was like she was waiting for me.  It was the craziest thing!

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“Hi, how are you doing?”  I asked her, casually.

“I’m good.”

I immediately thought of the things in my van, and as I opened my van to take out the items, I asked her if she needed any of the things I was giving away.  I had lots of clothing and shoes, and even a bicycle I was donating.

“Do you need a bike?  Or maybe you know someone else who needs it?”  I asked her, sure that somehow God wanted me to help this woman with something. I was a little surprised that she didn’t take anything I was giving away.

Then she said, “No… well, what I really need is a coat.”

I sifted through several bags, and unfortunately I didn’t have one to offer her.

“How about I go inside and look for one for you?”

She said she had already been inside, and that there were none that fit her.  Immediately I knew I had to find her a coat, and was even prepared to go to another store to find one, if I needed to. She smiled and said she’d be inside in a few minutes.

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I went to the rack of coats, and as I was looking, the workers put out several more on the rack.  I picked up a beautiful cranberry colored coat and just as I held it up, she walked into the store.

“I think I found you one!”  I smiled and held it out for her. She slipped her arms through the coat and smiled.

“It’s a perfect fit!” I said to her.

“I think this one is 5$,  and I wasn’t expecting to pay quite that much for a coat today.” I could hear the embarrassment in her voice.

I had planned on purchasing it all along for her.  “It’s my treat,” I smiled as I took the coat from her arms.

She followed me up to the register without saying a word.  I handed the cashier the money for the coat, and the lady asked the casher for a piece of paper and a pen. I wondered what she was going to do with it.

“Will you write down your name for me?” the lady said to me with tears in her eyes.

I smiled.  I have a feeling she just wanted to prove to someone that this had actually happened to her. So I signed it-

God bless you!

With love,

Julie

How different all our excursions would be if we prayed to be used. How different life is when we see ourselves as “messengers” on a mission for Him.  I don’t know that lady’s name… but all I know is that God used me to help someone else- and that lady, who seemed to be waiting for me-

was actually an answer to my prayer!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

Lord, help me to focus on You and the little missions You want to use me for- not matter how small, no matter how insignificant they might seem. Help me to give generously, love unconditionally, and to do all things for You!  

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Julie is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. She has a passion for leading worship, writing songs, preaching, teaching, and thrift store shopping. Julie has two amazing teenage daughters, two dogs ("fur babies"), and one wonderful hubby :)

21 thoughts on “Peace on earth…and goodwill at Goodwill

  1. “Lord, help me to focus on You and the little missions You want to use me for – no matter how small, no matter how insignificant they might seem. Help me to give generously, love unconditionally, and to do all things for You! ”

    Blown away! And pondering my definition of “unconditional” right now. Thank you so much or sharing. Thank you! ((hug))

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  2. I love this most moving post, Julie. Thrift stores have long been a passion of mine since I was about fifteen years old. Your description of the woman and the coat brought tears to my own eyes. Ironically, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I, myself went to Goodwill and purchased a coat. Yes, I could have afforded to buy one, but I would rather spend my money on others. I found a nearly new wool coat that fit me perfectly for $10.00, and took it directly to the cleaners. So thrilled, I am!! A lovely and beautifully written post Julie, to remind us all what the Season is truly all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats on your awesome Goodwill find 🙂 One thing that hit me was just how much I have, and how much I waste… and I can’t even fathom not having 5$ to purchase a necessity like a coat! Since that day, I have prayed more earnestly about how I can help others. He has answered those prayers in awesome ways 🙂 Thanks for your comment and Happy Thanksgiving!!

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      1. To you as well, Julie. Yes, we all can do more for others. What seems ‘small’ to us may be ‘Huge’ to another soul. Picked up my $10.00 coat from the cleaners yesterday. Love it!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. What really struck me was that He answered my prayer so clearly that day. She blessed me, because I probably would not have even noticed her if I hadn’t been watching for His nudges to help someone. Emmanuel- He is always with us 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Julie, this sure made me teary! Such a wonderful way you touched that lady’s life, all because you asked God to use you that day! Maybe she got your name so she could pray for you!

    I remember asking you for a testimony a while back and I think I will be using this for my Christmas Eve post! I’m not even reblogging it but copying it and linking it to over here. Hope that is ok.

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    1. You are more than welcome to use it 🙂 I emailed you a testimony several months ago, but I’m not sure if you received it. This is definitely a testimony of mine- praying for Him to guide me and direct my steps… and He is so faithful to answer that prayer! Parking right next to the lady who was “waiting” for me at the Goodwill that day was definitely a “God” moment for me! Many blessings to you 🙂

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      1. Oh, I searched my email and found it! I can’t believe I miseed it before.
        I’ll post it on the 31st since you sent it since August! So you’ll have this Wednesday and next Wednesday

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