“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
One of the busiest times of year for our administrative offices here at the Rescue Mission is the weeks leading up to Christmas. After 13 years, I still feel like a juggler who keeps getting thrown another ball. I was sifting through my emails and doing my best to reply with brief yet thoughtful responses when I came upon the email of a woman named Erica, who said she had fallen on hard times and was pleading for help with Christmas gifts for her children. Sadly, I had to email her back saying that we were unable to take any more families for our “Adopt-A-Family” program this year, but that she and her children should come on Christmas Day for a wonderful meal and gifts for all. Satisfied with my response, I hit the ‘send’ button and, without another thought, continued my juggling act.
A few short minutes later, I got a message back from Erica. But to my surprise, it was not the Erica I thought I had emailed earlier. Normally, in all of my responses I am extra vigilant in making sure I have the correct email, name spelling, grammar, etc. But in my haste, I had accidentally left out the middle initial in her email address, so I had sent the correspondence to a completely different woman with the same first and last name.
As I read the woman’s reply I knew God was working…
“Hi Mandy! My name is also Erica ______. I received this email from you in error. We must have very similar email addresses. But my family and I would love to help this Erica get gifts for her kids this Christmas! I’m not sure of the logistics, but we could order gifts on Amazon and have them sent to you?…”
In subsequent emails I learned that Erica #2 had been talking with her family that very morning, discussing how they could bless a family in need this Christmas. I also later learned that her husband is the chaplain at another Rescue Mission in the Midwest!
When I emailed Erica #1 to tell her that her children would, in fact, have Christmas gifts after all, she replied, “With tears in my eyes and God by my side, I don’t know what to say… I’m extremely grateful. God is great!”
I was amazed and humbled as the gifts for Erica’s children started pouring in the week before Christmas (see pic above). We always hear the phrase, ‘God will provide’, but to have a front row seat when it happens is truly awesome. It was quite evident that God had his hand on the whole situation from the very beginning – there are no coincidences with God!