Plans can change.
Needs can be met.
Hearts can transform.
Mountains can be moved.
In twelve short hours, I went from not hosting to bringing this beautiful young lady to our home for Christmas. Her name is Sunshine.
This is not normal for me. I like to plan. I like to be organized and prepared. Heck, I like to be a parent to boys. But it looks like, once again, I’m seeing that I’m not the one running the show. I’m just along for the ride.
And it’s a crazy one.
I should start at the beginning. When the photo listing went up for Christmas several months ago, I had other plans. Soccer Boy would be coming to Stephanie and Bryan’s house, and I would be a support team, for them and others, too. If a child needed emergency placement, I had the beds ready.
During this time, I saw Sunshine on the list, and she was in my heart immediately. For someone else, of course. I don’t do teen girls. And I wasn’t hosting. I was a back-up for others. That was the plan. I liked my plan.
I began to pray for her, and all the other teen girls her age. Which was weird. Because, again, I don’t do teen girls. As my friend Eileen puts it, I was a teen girl once, and doing it once is plenty enough. (I should have noted that she said this immediately before she hosted a teen girl. Shoot.)
And then my friends Dave and Dana decided to host. Ah! THAT was why I was praying for a teen girl! They wanted one. And subtly, I mentioned Sunshine. Okay, not so subtly. I don’t really do subtle, either. But they had their hearts set on Picassa….and what a match!
And still Sunshine was there. And she was still on my heart. I was telling everyone to consider her, to feature her on the main site, to advocate for her.
People started asking me why I wasn’t considering her.
But that was silly. I was a back-up. That was the plan. I like plans.
And besides. There were so many reasons not to host her.
Christmas is a busy season. My extended family was already making special arrangements for get-togethers. Little Man is in a new school. And I already had a plan. I liked my plan.
And anyway, her description wasn’t a “natural fit” for our family. It said she was athletic. I am not. At all. And what do I know of hosting a teen girl, anyway? I’m a boy Mama.
And the money. So much money.
But as my friend Jennifer recently said, “There will always be reasons not do what God asks, and sometimes they seem pretty reasonable, but He has a track record of calling ordinary, busy men and women for extraordinary purposes.”
And I was feeling that pull.
One by one, the reasons were stripped away. This one was silly. That one could have a solution. My friend Kristi told me, “She doesn’t need to be with athletes. She needs to be with someone who wants her.”
Maybe that was me.
So I set out my golden fleece. Yes, golden. Because I didn’t have any money. If I was supposed to do this, then the money would come. And it would have to come fast. So on noon this past Sunday, I put up a post in a private group asking that my friends pray the same thing. If this was the right thing for me to do, then I would be given a matching scholarship. I was asking God for $500 that would then be matched by New Horizons. If that came, I would be without any more reasons…and I would know that everything else would work itself out.
And then something amazing happened.
Within ten minutes, one of my former students, now in college, messaged me. She had saved some of her earnings from her summer job and had recently decided to support me and my friends in our hosting endeavors. She had been praying about how much she should give me. Now she knew. She offered me the full $500.
A college student, more interested in giving her money away than buying more pizza or going to more movies. I was undone.
And then another friend came forward with more money.
And then I was offered another reduction to the fees.
And then another friend wanted to match the scholarship. When I told her it was already matched, she gave me the money anyway.
And then another friend contacted me and told me she had fundraised to host and had more than enough and would be transferring the extra to me.
And then it was midnight, twelve hours after my post for prayer. I had enough to cover all the payments that were due by November 1st. Plus a little bit more.
And then on Tuesday, someone else gave me a check. It was for the exact amount I had calculated I would need to cover the December payment. And I hadn’t told them the number.
I still need a little more for additional costs. But c’mon. After those twelve hours? I would be crazy to not have enough faith for that money, too.
And so Sunshine will be here this Christmas.
It seems there are plans that are bigger than mine. I like those kind of plans even better than my own.