A gift of love

Mar 13

Two people surprised me with some love this week.

I know.  Why am I still surprised?  But I am.

The first came from a Stranger Friend.  As in, I have never met this person, ever.  We are not Facebook friends or acquaintances or friend-of-a-friends.  From across the country, this Stranger Friend clicked her way to the “help” button and gave money “for the gym.”

My friend who manages the “help stuff” told me about it, and I was baffled.  I said, “I don’t feel like I should accept it.  I’m not in the heat of the cancer battle any more.  I’m not worthy of such gift-i-ness.”

My helper friend pretty much shrugged and said, “Well, it’s already done.  Accept it.”

I walked away feeling l.o.v.e.d. and also wowed at the generosity of this Stranger Friend.

So I’ve been thinking about what to say to this Stranger Friend for the past few days, and I haven’t said anything yet because she is so awesome, and I am so, well, I’m just me.  Think about how you would feel if someone you never met gave you money you weren’t expecting for something like a gym membership.  “Thank you” seems inadequate, and “can you please explain yourself” seems interrogative.  (I just want to understand the love!)  I do know that someone selfless and generous enough to give money to a stranger is someone that I want to hang out with!

While I’ve been muddling around in my brain all week about what do say about this Stranger Love, my Real Life Friend popped over today and handed me a little key card.  Real Life Friend waltzed herself into the gym and told them she wanted to pay for my membership for three months.  So they signed her (me) right up, and she was sort of mad at them because they wouldn’t let her gift it to me anonymously.  (She’s disappointed, but I’m so glad to know who it was!)  Real Life Friend left me with a little key card, but also with very real tears as I accepted her selfless gift.

And I know it was all just meant to be because the money that Stranger Friend gave me is the exact amount needed to pay for the childcare at the gym for the length of the membership that Real Life Friend bought.

And no, they don’t know each other.  They both acted according to their own conscious and pointed their love at me.  And hit the mark perfectly.

Thanks to Real Life Friend Love and Stranger Friend, the stars have aligned so that I have a “Free Two Week Three Month Pass” to the gym.  I get to keep swimming and varying my exercise routine.  Brad and I get to skip the conversation wherein we look at our budget to decide what else can get cut.  Which, for those of you budget-ers out there, you know is a really great conversation to not have to have!

Sometimes I feel self-conscious about over-sharing on the Internet.  I never want to seem greedy or be fawning for attention, or (worse) money.  I hope that my story brings peace to other cancer patients and their families.  I hope that sharing pieces of myself out loud on the Internet makes other people (you) softer.  Kinder.  Hopeful.  I hope that as I try to see the best in my world, you try to see the best in yours.  I hope that Stranger Friend and Real Life Friend inspire you to be like them.  Because wouldn’t the world be better if there were more people like them?  I want more people to know this kind of love.

Thank you Stranger Friend.  Thank you Real Life Friend.  I want to be like you.  Thanks for inspiring me.  Let’s be Friends Forever, okay?


  1. Angela /

    Oh, Jen!! Thank you, Stranger Friend, and Real Life Friend for inspiring us as well!! Your journey has been a comfort to me. My mother (Carol) was diagnosed with cancer this summer, after I’d been reading your blog for several months. I feel like God led me to your blog for a reason – to prepare. Your (not over) sharing has helped me understand what her radiation treatments might be like (I read her that post over the phone and she said it was very similar; she saw purple lights when the radiation zapped her). It has helped me understand what she would want to hear after her hair fell out (you are beautiful!!) AND the duct tape hint was absolutely spot on. She was perhaps the most grateful for that little nugget right there! Thank you!!

    Today we found out that she gets a port next week, and chemo starts a few days after that. When I heard that news, I immediately wondered whether my young son, who loves her tremendously, will prefer the bumpy side, or the “soft side” when he cuddles her.

    I hope that she has the same warm connection to people in her Chemo room. I hope her nurses are as kind as yours are. I hope that she gets heated blankets and we will pray for the chemo to target the bad cells and spare the good cells. I hope that her outcome is as miraculous and wonderful as yours has been!!

    Tomorrow is her 65th birthday. My siblings and I ordered 65 roses to arrive at her door tomorrow, which cost a pretty penny but sometimes you just have to take the opportunity to love extravagantly, you know? I can’t tell you how excited I am – that she made it to another birthday, that her spirits are high, that she has so much Jesus in her heart that it shines out of her eyes.

    I am so grateful to you, Jen, for in sharing your journey you have allowed me to share in my mother’s journey. This has been an unspeakable gift. I am in tears as I type (ie overshare on the internet to a perfect stranger!).

    God bless you forever and ever. Enjoy your swimming, and everything else you do for the rest of your (long) life!!

    Hugs and serious gratitude from Michigan!

  2. jen geverdt /

    As missionaries who live life through the giving that God inspires people to offer, let me say that it’s opportunities like this that strengthen our faith every day, and that show us how immensely God LOVES us. It’s humbling, but look at it as God just loving you in those minute ways you didn’t think He cared about! He cares about gym memberships–isn’t that awesome!!!

  3. Kelly /

    Oh Jen
    I think we have all made such a deep connection with you, friends and strangers alike. A testament to your amazing, honest writing. I don’t have cancer, nor does anyone I know currently. I thank my lucky stars for this. But I do believe your blog fell into my lap for a reason 100%. I’m a pretty thankful person by nature, but your story has given me a new perspective. Now at night when my girls say, “one more story puhleaaase????” Instead of telling them I don’t have time or its too late, I take a deep breath and say, “sure!” When they ask to be pushed on the swings even though at 8 and 5 they are fully capable of swinging on their own, i do it. Im a better mom because of you, because of your story. You did that! You! I hate that you had cancer and everything you had to go through, but I for one am a better person because of your story. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it with us all! Paying for your sweet girls to go to daycare at the gym while you make your heart strong is nothing compared to what you have given to me and my sweet girls! So thank you!
    ~your Stranger Friend

    • jayne /

      Beautiful. The love from our spirit selves still overwhelmes me.

  4. Genora /

    God loves a cheeful giver! And He blesses us to be able to bless others. For what we give, we receive back Tenfold.

  5. Bonnie J /

    Ultimately, it’s the Lord who gives to us richly through His people 🙂 so thankful to those who hear His still small voice and act on it. The Lord loves to grant us the desires of our hearts Jen !!

  6. What a beautiful story! Real Life provides so many blessings when we show up with our Real Selves rather than censor who we are.. Thanks for keeping yourself Real! It’s inspiring! It gives us all permission to be Real, too.

  7. Marlayne Skeens /

    Jen ~ A Gift from GOD through Godly People ~ You have a gift of sharing to help others ~ I so wish everyone could openly talk about their journeys to help others & themselves ~ You are paving the way for others ~ what a Blessing ~ 🙂

  8. walker girl /

    WOW. Talk about devine intervention!!!!!!

  9. And you KNOW it was God directing it all, because it was *exactly* the amount to complement the two gifts (childcare and membership, both for the gym)! ♥

  10. This post inspired me to leave a little gift too, to add to your gym fund or your housecleaning fund, or whatever you need right now. I started reading your blog when I was pregnant with my second child; I followed the link from Momastery. As a working mom with family that lives many hours away, I have found myself a little overwhelmed and always exhausted trying to balance kids and work and the stresses of every day life. I can’t say that I find the time to read your blog every day, but when I do, I am always inspired to be a better mother and a better person. Thank you for giving me hope, inspiration and perspective. God bless you.

  11. Julie /

    I read this blog entry just today? How wonderful is that? God does work in mysterious and glorious ways. Where is the dang “help” button you mentioned. I have not seen that but you know how I can miss things! I hope this weekend is an awesome for you and that you of course blog about it!

    Your warrior from the North.