Our Christmas Story

Before the man left for Florida before Christmas he mentioned it would be great to buy a James Avery ring he has wanted since we moved here (there is no James Avery stores where we are moving). This was the first time I had ever heard him mention a desire to have a James Avery ring so I started probing. “What does it look like? ” “A band with a cross. It’s like $60.” We didn’t talk about it further and I decided that was going to be his Christmas gift. Side note: We haven’t really exchanged gifts since we had our first child. We sort of operate under if you want it/need it/get it policy. I am a pretty frugal person and can’t stand the thought of him buying me something just so I have something under the tree. Back to my story. I realized he would know what I was up to if I asked him his ring size. Since he NEVER takes his wedding ring off that was a no go. I remembered he had a Man of God ring. A special ring he received from our church after completing a 12 week course called Man of God. The guy who made these rings for the graduates of the class has since retired so there is really no way to get another one. I asked him how to get into our new safe so I could get it resized for him. He very quickly told me, nope, leave it, I will deal with it being big. I don’t want anything to happen to it. So I quickly mentioned I was looking for a pair of earrings he gave me that I knew was in the safe and he finally told me how to get into it. I took his Man of God ring and left with a list of errands for that day.

Thing 2 was out of sorts that day. He needed a nap badly and I needed to push through to get some errands  done and finish my Christmas shopping. First we went to James Avery. I took his ring in, had it sized and asked them to get me the ring he wanted in a half size down. Purchased it and we were off to the next store. I threw his Man of God ring in a pocket in my purse and didn’t give it a second thought. After leaving James Avery I went straight to Claire’s so Thing 2 could buy Thing 1 some gifts. While getting the kids out of the car, my purse fell out of the van. I quickly put everything back in my purse and we got in and out of there pretty quickly. Then we went to Hobby Lobby. I had to pick up some material to make a dress. While getting the stroller out of the van, my purse fell out again. After a horrible trip in there with the kids, I loaded them up and pulled over to call the man and ask him to pray over me. I told him I felt like I was under spiritual attack and just needed peace in this confusion. He prayed and I went to Target. The kids were great. While leaving Target I hit a curve. I mean HIT the curve. I hit it so hard my van jumped. At this, I screamed out loud, “LORD WHERE ARE YOU??? SATAN GO BOTHER SOMEONE ELSE!” Thing 2 , who had his headphones on, heard me screaming and ripped off his headphones to ask, “Who are you yelling at momma.” To that I responded, “Just the devil honey, watch your movie.” We go to the bank, which was my last errand, and I set out to go to Starbucks. At this point I am feeling a tall coffee is in order. After getting my coffee at the window I look back to check on the kids. Everyone is asleep. Peace, coffee, ahhhh.

Driving down the road I hear a little voice, “Where’s the ring, Tara?” “Right here in my purse.” “Check.” So I look, … nothing.  “Really God, I mean REALLY?? Where have you been all day??” I am driving, checking my purse and then re-checking it to find nothing. Dumping it. Going through bags, panicking, “God, come on, help me down here.” Driving still, throwing stuff out of bags, waking Thing 2 up to ask if he took a ring out of my purse. I finally arrive at my neighborhood and just throw my van in park with the emergency flashers going. I jump out and check the trunk, check under the seats, check the bags again, check my purse, check Thing 2’s pockets… nothing. My mind is racing.. what do I do? Do I call the man and tell him? I pull receipts out and start calling the stores. Hobby Lobby never answers and Claire’s hasn’t seen anything. Looking at the time and realizing it’s almost time to pick up Thing 1 from school I resolve to God I will not go pick her up until He tells me where it is.

I throw the car in drive and I am off to Hobby Lobby. I get in the parking lot and just start looking. Nothing. I get back in my car ready to just cry and I tell God, “Just tell me, just show me, supernaturally put it in front of my face where I can’t miss it. PLEASE!” I hear a small voice again, “Go to Claire’s.” I go and I get the same exact parking spot I had originally (right in front of the store.) I start looking and nothing. “Get on your knees.” So here I am, on my knees in the parking lot of Claire’s. Right in front of the store. Looking under cars. Nothing. I am ready to give up. Something flashes in the corner of my eye and I look over on the step of our van and there it is. Just sitting there. Not wedged or anything. It’s literally just sitting there. Ya’ll, I couldn’t believe it. If you understood the layout of San Antonio and where I had been, the speeds I had accelerated to, how hard I hit the curb, you would realize what a miracle this was. I get in the car and I am crying and thanking God. I head out to pick up Thing 1 and I hear, “Here you were asking me where I had been all day. I was on the side of your van with my hand on the ring keeping it from falling off.”

What a humbling experience. Here I was upset because I didn’t see God working in the way I thought He should be working… not even knowing what I needed was for Him to be holding on to that ring. I wonder how many times in my life I have yelled at God for not being there when He was busy making the way straight for me. He is so good!

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