Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paid in Full

Have you ever heard the saying, “You owe me a thousand dollars for every tooth in your head!”? I suppose it’s old school talk. Kinda goes along with, “You know, when I was your age, I walked four miles to school every day, and it was uphill coming and going.” I was brought up with the “$1000 tooth” mantra. In the long run, it didn’t go over very well with me.

I’m going to get ahead of myself on this one, but this story came to mind a couple of days ago and I just figured I might as well insert it here. I realize this would probably be a good story to tell after I share the story when I started my own company. But, no, I’m going to tell it now. I’ll fill in the “started my own company” blanks another time.

Once upon a time there was a young woman (that would be Yours Truly) who, having started her own business, found herself one day with the dilemma of having to decide whether to pay the mortgage or buy food. She had quit her job only eight months after buying her first home. She took a step of faith when she started her business and she believed God would provide for her every need. She had been brought up being very responsible and had never even considered paying a bill late. Not a day late, not an hour late, not a second late. And so, you can guess when it came time to choose between the house payment and food, the house payment was made without a thought.

It just so happens this young woman was involved with a cooking club which consisted of a number of young professionals. They met monthly and everyone brought a recipe item which would be included in the making of the meal. The host of this particular cooking club get together was a doctor and she lived in a beautiful home. The doctor called the young woman and asked if she would bring the main ingredient…chicken breasts. The doctor asked many questions about her purchasing habits and made it clear that these particular chicken breasts needed to be purchased at a particular store. A store that was well-known in the doctor's part of town. A store that probably never had the words “Sale this Week!” anywhere on the premises. The young woman hung-up the phone and was angry, upset, and embarrassed. Why on earth would the wealthy doctor ask this poor young woman to bring the most expensive item to the cooking club?

A great excuse was thought-up (which is not remembered) and the young woman, at some point in time, called the doctor back and told her she wouldn’t be able to join this month’s club activity. This brought on a phone call from another club member who was wondering if anything was wrong. Well, the young woman poured her little heart out and without thinking blurted, “I can’t even afford to buy food and she asked me to bring the most expensive item!” Whah! The young woman felt so much better just being able to tell someone and hung-up the phone. End of story.

Or so she thought. A few days later the young woman hears a knock. There, standing at her door, was a very handsome young man telling her that someone must really care for her and proceeded to point to the back of his car which was filled with bag after bag after bag of groceries.

Yes, of course, the young woman’s mouth dropped open. Yes, her heart started pounding. Yes, she was astonished to the point of tears. Yes, she was embarrassed. And yes, most certainly yes, she was humbled. HUMBLED. After all, how on earth did anyone even know about her foodless situation? She had long forgotten about her blurted out words.

To this day, the young woman remembers opening each bag (not the little plastic bags, but the big brown paper bags) and seeing how each item had been carefully selected just for her. She received food she would have never even considered buying for herself. That food lasted a very long time. There was a lot of it. I don’t think she ever ate a bite of that food without thinking of her unknown angel friend.

Now, back to the $1000 mantra. You see, growing-up and hearing over and over and over again the words “You owe me a thousand dollars for every tooth in your head!” had embittered her heart. It felt as if there was always a heavy weight of debt hanging around her neck. It probably was not meant to be taken that way, but that was how it settled in her heart. She had decided at some point in time (a number of years before this foodless situation), that she would never, never, ever ask anyone for anything. Ever. She would just as soon starve to death than to ask for help.

Obviously her God knew she had a major heart problem. Her heart was very full of pride and self-reliance. He knew she needed to be humbled. He knew she would never humble herself on her own, you know, in a little subtle and quiet way. Oh, no! It would take a car load of food.

This was the dropping off point, for sure. Her heart was pierced and she was changed. But pride has a way of settling in deep and it likes to raise its ugly head from time to time. It took many years before the young woman could ask for help and not feel a heaviness. Mr. Wonderful was the first one to come into her life and help her realize it’s all right to ask for help. It’s all right to receive help. It’s good to let others help when there’s a time of need. And it doesn’t have to involve being foodless.

And so our story ends with the young woman, who hasn’t been a young woman for quite some time, knowing her loving Heavenly Father always has the perfect way to reveal those hidden things of the heart. One way. Or another.

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward him for what he has done.
Proverbs 19:17

My debt has been paid in full, how about yours?
P.S. If you want to know if it was Mr. Wonderful that delivered the food, the answer is no. We hadn't even met at this point in time. My baby brother was the handsome delivery man. And yes, over time I think I figured out who God had used for His purpose. Matthew 6:1-4 (Go on, look it up right now!)


  1. AnonymousJune 09, 2010

    WOW! I too grew up with that same, "Every Tooth In Your Head Owes Me A $1000.00 Dollar" saying too. But it never effected me in the same way. BUT !
    If I would have known about your situation I would have gladly brought you some too. So glad your little Brother was there.
    We have all been there at one time or another. Thank God he always come through for us.
    Great Blog today. Makes me think that maybe I should be a little more mindful of what is going on around me. We all Need help now and then don't we?
    Love Ya---El Bel

  2. See, if I would have called you and said, "Aunt Elle, I'm in trouble and need some food!" you would have given me everything I needed. But, as you know, I couldn't do the asking. A great lesson was learned. And I'm still learning today... I love you!

  3. AnonymousJune 10, 2010

    What an incredibly uplifting story. And a good reminder for what is going on right now. HE always provides!

  4. A riddle(?): an awesome "miracle in the making"...and perhaps the ? is: can the receivers be wise enough to discern the purpose of the "miracle" test selfishness against selflessness?

    BTW, I loved "Paid in full"!!

  5. To copy Julie, "What an incredibly uplifting story." Amen!