Sunday, August 12, 2012


The other day I went to the pawn shop to sell some gold. Don't worry, we're not that hard up! It's just, with the impending move and the downsizing, we have been purging like crazy! So, I got together those old dolphin earrings I got for my 13th birthday, some outdated black hills gold, and a few gifts from old boyfriends and decided to head down and see what I could get for it.
As the attendant went through the treasures I set before her, she set one piece aside, a little fake-diamond studded violin pendant that obviously didn't pass inspection. As I cringed at the thought of having to return home with the hideous piece of costume jewelry, I was reminded of the story that led to that pendant being placed in my hands.
When I was 19 years old I went on an intercultural exchange to Ecuador, S.A. There were many things that happened within that almost-year abroad that made it quite a learning experience. But, there is one story I will never forget.
As an exchange student I received $50.00 a month from my sponsor to use towards any expenses I might have. One particular month I decided to put the stipend aside so I placed it in the top drawer of my dresser for safe keeping. One day when I went to go look for it, it wasn't there. I was a little surprised but thought I must have misplaced it. However, as I retraced my steps I realized something had gone awry. So, that evening I asked my host sister if the maid had ever stolen anything from her. Of course, her response was no but I told her the story about the missing money anyway.
A few days later I was at school and I looked up to see our maid peeking through the window of our classroom. She motioned for me to come outside. The minute I stepped outside, tears began to fall from her eyes. She had been approached by my host father and her job was threatened. She literally dropped to her knees and pleaded with me not to tell the truth about the missing money; the fact that she had stolen it from me. She explained to me that she was struggling to make enough money to support her family and needed the money to buy school books for her children. My immediate reaction was one of shock and disdain, "But you stole from me!" I thought. But as she pleaded with me, I became aware of the level of her desperation. Her job was on the line and if she was fired, her children might suffer. So, I told her not to worry. I would go to my host family and tell them I had misplaced the money and was sorry for accusing her of stealing. In exchange she gifted me the violin pendant.

As I explained this story to Pete this afternoon I was overwhelmed by the emotions of pain, despair, repentance, and forgiveness it uncovered. Not only did I decide to forgive her but I essentially took the blame for her wrongdoing. In the eyes of my host family, I was an ungrateful, accusatory little American girl that had disrupted the flow of their daily life. However, in the end, the maid kept her job and I moved in with another host family.

But, as I held that little violin today, I was so thankful for that experience. I was also very grateful that it didn't pass inspection the other day at the pawn shop. You see, now that pendant has so much more meaning than it ever has before. It has become a metaphor for God's grace. How many times have I come before my heavenly Father, just as she came before me that day, with tears in my eyes, begging for forgiveness and pleading that he would make it all right?
The answer---too many times.

I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to explain to my children the significance of that insignificant piece of jewelry. I hope they'll be proud of their momma. But most of all, I hope they'll thoroughly understand the depth of their Father's grace. Sometimes all it takes is one of those real life moments for us to fully understand the flawless love our Savior has for us, and I thank God for THAT moment.

1 comment:

  1. An absolutely beautiful reminder of God's grace. Thank you, Alysha :-)