The Unexpected Gift


Tens of thousands of wet wipes have been used in our house. Four kids, four messy mouths, eight sticky hands, and what seemed like millions of diapers.

I remember a few occasions of complete diaper blow-outs at restaurants, or when we were in the middle of shopping.

The. Worst. Timing.

I would quickly run to the nearest bathroom, child in tow, and the large diaper bag flung over my shoulder. I’d reach in to my bag for the stash of diapers and wet wipes. The supplies were always there when I needed them the most, but I never really thought of them as “valuable.”

Yes, I was grateful for having wet wipes, but never really thought about actually being thankful for them. They were always there when I needed them. I had a pack in each car, several places around the house, and in the diaper bag. It wasn’t something I ever doubted I was in need of, but I just took for granted they’d always be there.

About a month ago, at Church Under the Bridge, my daughters and I met Jennifer. Jennifer was a young girl who will be turning 21 in the next month. She was adopted at age 5, and lived with her parents and 13 other brothers and sisters in a small farm house out in the country. She shared with us wonderful memories from her childhood. She told us about her family dinners around an extra-large table.

Life was good for Jennifer, until she started using drugs.

She started using drugs at a young age, and as a result, had been living on the streets for the past few years. Life for her went from excellent to a downward spiral. She had lost her family’s trust, and was not welcome home until she could turn her life around.

After about 20 minutes of talking, she glanced over at my girls and said “Are you hungry? Do you want a donut?” My daughter nodded enthusiastically.

“Come with me!” Jennifer got up and motioned us to follow her over to one of the church’s table.

On the table were rows of white napkins, each topped with a glazed donut. I could tell that these donuts were rejects from the bakery. They were slightly odd shaped, and the glaze was smudged. I found out later that they were donuts that hadn’t been sold, so the local bakery would freeze them for donation.

They were rejected, day-old, kind-of ugly donuts, but my kids didn’t care, and neither did Jennifer and the 100s of people that surrounded us. They were grateful for the donuts, and the meal that filled their hungry stomach.

Jennifer, spoke to the church volunteer behind the table, and introduced us as her “new friends.” She then offered my children each a donut.

Smiles quickly brightened their face and they quickly grabbed a donut and started eating.

Inevitably, as glazed donuts do, my youngest daughter’s hands got sticky from the donut. I was unprepared and had left any napkins in my purse in the car, but Jennifer was prepared.

Again, she offered my children something, when she, herself, had so very little.

She dug around in her little backpack and without any hesitation, she handed each of my girls a wet wipe from a Ziploc bag.

No doubt, the bag filled with wet wipes was given to her by one of the shelter volunteers to help her when she didn’t have access to a shower, and she was giving my daughter one of her precious wipes.

This gesture was so overwhelming. Jennifer, who is in need, and who had slept under a cold bridge the night before, saw a need for my child and jumped into action to fill that need. She gave something so small, but the heart behind the gift was so big.

It’s not the size of the gift; it’s about the heart of the person giving the gift. Jennifer’s kind heart made a lasting impression on me and my daughters.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

This wet wipe gift challenged my heart to be big with my gifts, time, and talents. My heart behind each gift is more important than the gift itself.

“Give from what you have….your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you don’t have.” 2 Corinthians 8:11-12

Following the path,

Twitter: @kellbell500
Instagram: @kellysundsvold

© Kelly Sundsvold and, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kelly Sundsvold and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content


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