Earlier this week, I took our children to the local fair. Most years, we don't go... hubby's work schedule, the weather, the cost... but, this year, I decided I would make a point to take them. We went on Kid's Day (getting in FREE during the day!) and I had a $20 bill to use for rides (Not much for a fair, I know, but it would let them experience it more fully).
We started in the exhibit building... marveling at the talent God had granted so many in our small community... marveling at the watermelons bigger than some of my children!! We stopped to watch a sack race (funny!) but the children didn't want to participate in the games. Then we headed to the fairway... I decided to make a round with the children first to let them see the rides available... Once we completed the loop, I asked them all if they had seen a ride they wanted to go on... All I got was silence from some, and slight head shakes from others. Hmmm... ok, so nobody wants to ride... ok. We decided to head off to find some lunch.
Lately, we have been very careful about the food we eat... cutting out artificial 'ingredients'... so we knew the fair was not the best place to get lunch :) Yet, I paused at one food tent to price french fries for the children to split... As I was looking for the price, a lady I vaguely know and her 4yo son walked up to us.
I gave her a big smile and asked how they had been (I hadn't seen her in months). She immediately launched into an 'explanation' of why her son was throwing a tantrum (Honestly, he was just standing beside her, holding her hand, looking at me... I guess the tantrum was before she reached me). Her explanation? He was hot, thirsty, and hungry. Understandable... it was a sunny 80 degree day and it was noon. She then told me she didn't have ANY money to get him anything. I proceeded to ask if she had looked for a water fountain... she said there was nothing. Then she told me that they had walked all the way from home to get there (several miles, if I remember correctly).
Now, at this point, I wish I could tell you that I handed over our money for them to get some lunch and a cool drink... but I didn't. :(
Instead, my head was telling me... that's money someone gave to YOU to take YOUR kids to the fair... why would she walk so far without snacks and a water bottle for her boy?... she made a conscious decision to take her 4yo boy out on a sunny, 80 degree day at lunch time to the fair where the tantalizing smells of food hang heavy in the air, without feeding him first or packing a snack... and now she stands here with a look in her face that says 'Give me.'??... and THAT my dear readers, is what I listened to... I told myself that if I had a smaller bill, I would have given it to her...
That conversation has been playing over & over in my head ever since. Earlier today, I realized... I should have invited her to my van... I almost always keep extra snacks and juice pouches in the van for our kids and I had just refilled our stash earlier this week!
I have felt such guilt over the situation... I SHOULD have handled it sooo different! I SHOULD have offered her some of our snacks... or I SHOULD have just given her the $20....
I've asked the Lord to forgive me for not showing His love that day. I pray that in future situations, I am more in tune (in the moment) with Him and how He would like for me to show His love.
So... what do you think YOU would have done?