Two weeks ago I was super stressed out. I was struggling with our budget, feeling like I was doing everything I could to be cutting corners and trimming waste (especially for our grocery budget) and yet still feeling like it wasn't enough. I was struggling with an online class I was taking, trying to find time for the countless chapters I had to read and homework assignments I had to do. I was struggling with having a super needy, super fussy teething baby who wouldn't let me get anything done around the house.
During this time I had been spending a lot of time in prayer, asking God to help me take better care of the things that we own and to help me be a better steward over the money that we have as well. I really wanted to do better.
When my husband's payday rolled around, it was like the perfect storm of stress. I had spent the better portion of the week before trying to figure out how people make and follow grocery budgets, what good prices for things were, how to price match, and looking for coupons. When I wasn't doing that or trying to attempt my reading and homework, I was taking care of a baby who was very clingy and so, so fussy. I knew that grocery shopping with her like that wasn't going to be any fun, but I also knew that it needed to be done.
We went to the first store and got some baby food and while I was there I decided that I really needed to pick up some shoes for the baby. She can't walk very well yet, but she likes to get down and stand up by herself and kind of walk around her daddy's or my legs while we're out and I don't really like her to have her bare feet on public floors. It wasn't something I had budgeted for, but it was something that she needed. So, we picked out a couple pairs and we checked out. When we got to the car, I put one pair of her new shoes on, and we headed to the next store.
Our next stop was our big stop. I had things I had to get from just about every section in the store and I knew I was running out of time to shop before the baby got fussy and needed to nurse or take a nap. I was hurriedly going up and down the aisles, trying to find everything we needed while at the same time trying to remember what was a good price and what wasn't. I was stressing over the ground beef and trying to decide if the good price per pound was worth having to buy the family size pack rather than spending more per pound and only getting a single pound. After awhile I decided I needed to walk away because I was getting too worked up over it, so I decided to go over and check out hot dog prices for a get-together we were having soon. Close to the hot dogs, there was a cereal display set up. I accidentally put the cart too close to it and the next thing I know, the baby had knocked cereal boxes everywhere. I was scrambling to pick them up and I could just feel my stress rising. One of the workers came over and helped me pick up the boxes, while I apologized profusely. After all the boxes were back in their place, I decided I needed to go look at some other items in the store, items that I knew for sure which sizes and brands I needed to get, items that should require little thinking and induce little stress. As we were walking over to the cereal aisle, I look down and notice that one of the baby's brand new shoes is gone. I frantically look in the cart and in the aisle we just came down and nothing. It's gone.
I could feel the tears stinging my eyes. The last thing I wanted was to be that crazy person that had a meltdown in the middle of the store, so I steered our cart toward the side aisle we had come down, thinking I would see if I could see it on my way to customer service to give them my name and number in case anyone had turned it in. I made it to customer service without finding it. so I left my name, number and a description of the shoe with them. After I did that, I called my husband because I was feeling just really awful and I wanted to ask him to pray about the shoe. Talking to him later, he told me he could only understand about every fifth word I said, because by this point I was starting to lose it. After about five more minutes of searching I still hadn't found it and my baby was starting to get fussy. I thought about leaving with the stuff I had, but decided instead to nurse her and then finish my shopping. I walked back to the family restroom and as soon as I shut the door, I lost it. I was sobbing.
As I sat there in the restroom, I poured my heart out to God. I said, "God, I know they're just shoes and they weren't that expensive, but I've really been trying to be a better steward over the things that you've given us lately, and I really can't afford to just go buy her another pair. Can you please help me find that shoe?"
I waited until I was done crying to leave the restroom. The baby and I then continued to retrace our steps as well as pick up any other items we needed. I was just about ready to give up and leave when I really felt like I needed to go back over and check by the meats, even though this was the first place I looked. Sure enough, when I got back over to the meat section, someone had found her shoe and placed it on a display by one of the freezers. I immediately breathed a sigh of relief and said a little thank you prayer. Feeling a little worn out from all the emotional ups and downs of the past hour, I decided what we had in our cart was sufficient and went to check out.
In the car on the way home, I had turned on the local Christian radio station to help the baby sleep. I had kinda tuned it out and was lost in my thoughts. My thoughts eventually made their way to the events of that day and how God cared enough about me to help me find a tiny, inexpensive shoe because it mattered to me. At that moment, I tuned back in to what was playing on the radio, just in time to hear a line from a song that said "not for a moment did You forsake me." It was such a perfect sentiment for my experience that morning and I was so overwhelmed with how much our Father loves us, how special we are to Him, that He can see even the tiniest problems in our lives and reach out and help us if we ask.