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The Happiness in the Handbag

Posted on April 22, 2014
By Nikki Martinez

Some things are so easily taken for granted. Be honest with yourself: how many times have you gotten to meet someone for the first time, had a small chat with them, and forgotten what their name was 5 minutes after? Yes, I can blame it on a horrible memory (hello forgetting dinner last week)! I can also try to blame it on the 50 things I have to get done in a day that consumes my extra reflection time. Today, God made sure the excuses were left in my bed and smacked me upside the head with a handbag!


After helping out at the local coffee shop yesterday morning (and running a tad-bit late), I got to the store realizing some new things were added. See, Grounds for Justice is still new in Tyler, so to help with some of the bills, the shop has rented out space to locals to sell some of their handmade crafts for the coffee customers to ponder. Well, I enjoy browsing every Monday, which yesterday definitely was a treat. Right there in my general glancing direction was a handmade bag that turned out to have the most glorious inside organization a girl like myself could need or dream of. But, being on a budget meant this month wouldn’t be a bag buying month, and that’s cool.

Seeing that I enjoy the coffee, the cause, and the atmosphere, I thought it would be only fitting to invite a friend to meet at Grounds today. And as I arrived, there was the bag once again. Must…Resist…the urge…to buy!! And surprisingly I did, even though it was now marked down 50%. The friend and I talked, caught up, and went our separate ways. But before I stepped a foot out the door, I thought a refill may be needed. Through the out-loud thinking process, the volunteer working decided to chime in and help. Carolyn was her name, and I will NEVER forget it. Not because she was sweet (she was), and not because she had this East TX charm (because she did), but she was God’s wake-up call to me right then and there!

Deciding that another cup of coffee probably wouldn’t be smart, Carolyn asked me where I worked. I told her, and the questions came with it: “What do you do there?” “What time are you on?” As always, I want to get to know what the other person does too, so we got to chatting. Looking at the time, I knew I was running close to having to get to work, but part of me said, “Don’t worry about it.” I’m glad that voice spoke up, because it was about then that Carolyn asked me a question I usually don’t get asked, “What songs or singers would you recommend for me? I like to scrapbook and make cards outside on our back porch, so I enjoy music playing in the background. What should I check out?” So, I started thinking, busted out some paper, and gave her some suggestions. I wrapped-up the list, a Thank You and hug was exchanged, and I began to head out the door.

And then, I was stopped–the handbag had a hold on me. Carolyn noticed my intrigue, so she came over, and I informed her of the coolness of the pockets and organization! Her reply, “Girl, if you want it, you should get it.” Oh if only, Carolyn, if only!! As quick as a whistle, I replied with the, “Well, right now I’m on the Dave Ramsey budget, so I’ll see what I have left at the end of the month.” Carolyn’s response… “Dave who?” I giggled a little, and tried to explain who he was, but before I could, Carolyn once again said, “Still, if you want it, you should have it!” and proceeded to take the bag in one hand, and my hand in the other. I was being dragged by this sweet lady to the front of the store, the whole time her saying, “I’m getting this for you” with my “You’re doing what?” following along. Carolyn just met me! What was she doing buying me a bag that I could’ve saved for to buy in a few weeks? I didn’t need another purse–I have a perfectly suitable one I just grabbed from Walmart a few months ago!!

I insisted over and over, telling her no and thank you, but she didn’t have to, but none of that was phasing her decision to buy this handbag for me. And finally her reason came out, “Because you helped me with the song suggestions. It’s the least I could do!” THAT was her reasoning for putting down some money on a girl she met no more than 20 minutes ago?!?! I stopped for a second, and God smacked me! It wasn’t because of the list of songs I wrote out for her. It wasn’t even because I worked at the station I worked for and she liked it. Simply put, the time I spent with her, finding out who she was, and chatting with her — she treasured that! She treasured that time so much that money didn’t matter.

I take for granted these chance encounters. I forget some of the details I should remember. It’s refreshing to get to know new people, and the moments can even stick sometimes, but I don’t think they stick for as long as they should! Just as Christ WANTS us to spend time with Him, soak it in, and carry it throughout the day and weeks to come, Carolyn showed that so profoundly. Carolyn was being Jesus right there to me, with a handbag of happiness. Instead of watching the clock like a hawk, I need to enjoy and hold onto the moments more often. Is this something you struggle with too? You’re not alone, because many nowadays, and in the Bible, battled slowing down and taking quality time with God and the people He placed in their lives. For instance, in Luke 10:38-42 it states:

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'” ~NIV

Are you falling into the category of being Martha too much and not Mary more? I know I’ve been, and this was the wake-up call needed. It may not be an easy process, but I need to do it NOW. I encourage you today to re-examine the Carolyn moments you’ve had recently. Maybe, if you know where these Carolyns are, re-connect with them, pray about them, or just simply hold onto the encounters for a little longer then usual. Even if quality time isn’t your love language, which maybe it’s not even Carolyn’s, think about expressing it a little more, slowing down to make quality time actually quality time.

1 Comment

  1. Meagan

    you know, i have to say, there are days I am so starved for adult interaction that I could see me buying a purse for someone ;) not this week, as we are frantically trying to save up for something, but yes, sometimes life just connects, and you know what, later on when I am thinking about it I thank the Lord for sending that angel into my life even if just for a short moment


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