Of Grace & Growth: Yes to the Dance

By Sydney Dorr

All I needed from the store was sugar and vanilla. In-and-out. I saw the family on the corner across from the grocery store: a mother with two daughters about 10 and 20 years old and a son about 15, plus a grandfatherly man. The oldest daughter held a sign asking for help – I handed her a few dollars and we each said “God bless you.” As I pulled into my parking spot (RIGHT by the entrance - miraculous) I heard the unmistakable voice.

“Go over there and say hi.”

“Jesus, I can’t go over there and just say “hi” like an idiot. I need a real plan.”

I glanced in my review mirror and saw a young couple with a baby on a separate corner. The husband held an identical sign to the 20 year old girl - clearly relatives. My heart broke a little more.

“Just go over there and introduce yourself.”



So I did. Left my prime parking spot for the far end of the lot and walked over to the girl. “Hi, my name is Sydney, I just wanted to come and introduce myself.” The young woman introduced everyone in broken English as we all smiled awkwardly at each other.  More words came. “It’s so good to meet you. I’m just heading into the store and I wondered if I could get you anything?” After some consultation with her mother and brother, he asked if his sister could come with me and choose items since he didn’t have the English words for everything. “Yes, of course!” I replied.

I asked about the young couple as we passed them. “My brother and his wife and baby” she confirmed.  I grabbed a cart in the store and more words came: “Please get whatever you need. Seriously, anything.”

We walked quickly through the store, filling the cart (not forgetting my sugar and vanilla). The girl was grateful but nervous, I kept trying to reassure and give her dignity in an uncomfortable situation. I felt breathless and a little dizzy – like I was hanging on for dear life to Jesus in a wild, whirlwind dance of generosity.

Eventually we got through the checkout line. “273 dollars!” the cashier cheerfully announced. My heart dropped to my toes thinking about the ¾ of our monthly grocery budget I had just spent. It rocketed up to my throat thinking about breaking that news to my unsuspecting husband. I walked her to the minivan already crammed with what looked like most of her family’s possessions, said goodbye and shakily drove home.

When I told him the story, my husband folded his lips like he does when he’s trying not to say everything he’s thinking. But I married him because he also knows the unmistakable voice and he says yes, too. He admitted he wasn’t overjoyed by how much I had spent but “I’m glad you listened to the Holy Spirit. Now let’s figure out how we’re going to budget for it,” was his final word on the matter. I love that guy.

We decided to cut back our grocery budget over several months and then I watched God beautifully provide for us. A friend invited me to spend an afternoon picking apples from her overflowing tree; my parents gave us a mess of homegrown eggs from their highly productive chickens (both major staples in our home).  Additionally, unexpected finances came in that more than covered the $273 sugar and vanilla. Saying yes had been scary, and then scarier, but Jesus had a real plan after all.

Here’s the thing about following Jesus – he usually doesn’t explain the whole plan in advance. We don’t always know where he’s going or where we’ll end up or how much two things at the grocery store are going to cost. But we know that he loves to dance his Kingdom-advancing dance with us. When we say yes to him, we can trust that he knows the steps and will hold us tightly. What is Jesus inviting you into this year? You don’t have to know every step, just take his hand and walk onto the dance floor.

Whitney Parnell3 Comments