An Abundance of Grace

We knew that our sixteen-year-old daughter’s anxiety and depression were more than we could handle. We knew she would need to leave home, bound for a long stay in a therapeutic boarding school in Arizona. She knew it too.

A couple of weeks before she left, I just so happened to find myself in Arizona for unrelated reasons. My daughter asked if I could bring home for her, of all things, a yellow Livestrong bracelet to help her find courage. This was at least something I could do to make her feel better. But no luck. No one carried them, which seemed odd, since they were all the rage. I told Lizz and moved on.

So later that week, I just so happened to find myself with about forty others at a backyard cookout. The host seemed like a nice guy, so I struck up a conversation with him while he was flipping burgers. As he stretched out his arm to reach for the seasoning, what did I see on his wrist but the elusive yellow Livestrong bracelet.

What are the odds? I couldn’t believe my luck.

I’ll bet he knows where I can find one. Maybe . . . nah, that’s crazy . . . but maybe he even has an extra one. . . That’s stupid. . . NO ONE carries extra yellow Livestrong bracelets?!

But still, of all the possible strangers to meet in some random state I’d never been to, some random guy had what I needed.

And even as I was processing that thought, I felt a chill up my back, like something bigger, out of my control, was about to happen.

All I managed to blurt out was, “Hey, you’re wearing a Livestrong bracelet.” He turned and looked at me: “Do you want one? I have a garbage bag of them inside. You can have a few.”

A bag full. An abundance of grace.

Funny, he answered the very question I had so quickly dismissed. I didn’t even ask a question! I just made a polite comment, but he acted like he had heard a question.

“Sure,” was all I could bring myself to say.

I was emotionally frayed to begin with, but at this I had to turn away. My knees weakened, so I fell into the nearest chair and held back tears. The party went on around me. I was in a thick fog. Nothing else existed. Did that just happen?

An ordinary rubber bracelet. But I felt God’s presence and care for Lizz and me as sure as the chair I was sitting in. “Cast your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Indeed. God was in Arizona waiting for us both.

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2019 Edition of Eastern Magazine. View the full magazine here.