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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Lost Coins and Other Missing Items

Posted by admin in March 2nd, 2010
Published in Uncategorized

I love the story Jesus tells about the woman and the lost coin. You see, I am forever losing things—my car keys, my six pairs of reading glasses, my 50 percent off coupon for the carwash, my pen, my favorite sandals. I wish I had one of those beeper things for every item in my house, but of course I’d eventually lose the beeper. Can you have a beeper thing for another beeper?

Being OCD, as my BFF Margo has diagnosed me (no she is not a doctor and she doesn’t play one on TV), losing things becomes a real nightmare. OCD people don’t like to lose things. I think our gal in Jesus’ story was a lot like me: OCD and a loser (of things).

Notice how she compulsively searches for the one silver coin, though she has nine others left.

“…what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15).

I hate losing things.

Last week I went to my sister’s house in Oklahoma. Sadly, I waited until the last minute to pack and of course there was a whole lot of chaos going on. Daryl, not surprisingly, had been pre-packed and ready to go for nearly three weeks. So I’m scrambling around the house shouting, “Have you seen ______?” (Fill in the blank please). “Where’s my ______?” Poor Daryl.

And there were major decisions to be made. I couldn’t decide if I should wear my silver jewelry or my gold. Not that I have a lot of jewelry. I don’t. But I have a set of silver hoops and a set of gold hoops. I have a silver bracelet and a gold bracelet. I have a silver-toned watch and a gold-toned watch…well…you get the point. Not being able to decide I just grabbed both sets and stuffed them into a small little purse thingy, made for makeup but I use it for other thingies. Anyway, I stuffed my stuff and we headed out the door.

One item I was worried about was a diamond necklace. So that it wouldn’t get tangled, I wrapped it in tissue and stuffed it in with all the other, you know, stuff.

We got safely to my sister’s house. Hugged. Kissed. Jumped up and down and our week got off to a great start.

Now, let me get back up here to the diamond necklace.

It’s a drop. Not quite a carat. I know you’re asking, “What is a missionary doing with a piece of jewelry like that?” Good question. And of course there’s a story behind it.

Years ago when I came home from China I moved in with my sister and her family. (Thanks again guys for letting me stay with y’all!). Anyway, one Saturday afternoon Cindy, that’s my sis, needed to go to the mall. Mike, yes, my b-i-l, and I decided to take the two munchkins and go with her. Why not? So we loaded the posse into the minivan and we all headed to the local mall.

During the road trip I looked over at my sister and realized all the beautiful jewelry she was wearing was a gift from her husband (and the kids of course). Not insanely expensive stuff, but meaningful, sweet stuff filled with memories of events, births, birthdays, anniversaries. Each one significant. Each one a token of love and appreciation. That’s when it hit me: ya gotta be married to rake in that kind of stuff. As a single, with no prospects in sight, I got a little gloomy. “I’ll never have a husband who adorns me with love jewelry.” Sad. Bummed. Gloomy. That was my attitude as we entered the local mall.

Cindy headed to her favorite store with her oldest; Mike and I stayed back with the tiniest of the munchkins in the stroller. There in the mall one of the jewelry stores was having a promotion called “Dive for the Ice.” They had a large fish aquarium filled with huge chunks of ice and ice water (btw, water makes the ice feel even colder)! The gimmick was to fill out an application for a credit card and then win a chance to dig with one bare hand into the ice cold aquarium where they had strategically placed a real diamond. The thing was loaded with chopped up ice. Big chunks, little chunks, small chunks, and some pieces resembling icebergs. Everyone was standing around watching helpless shoppers, one at a time, place their hands into the small Arctic Ocean.

“I can do that,” I said to Mike.

He looked at me out of the corner of his eye, “What makes you think you can do that?”

“Clothes washing,” I said.

“Clothes washing? What in the world does washing clothes have to do with this?” he shook his head more certain than ever that I was a moron.

“Well, in China we didn’t have hot water. I had to hand wash all my clothes in freezing cold water and I learned how to get my mind off the cold hands and onto something else. I learned to adapt to freezing cold water,” I answered.

He smiled.

“Try it,” he nudged me.

What did it matter if I filled out the credit application? I wasn’t gonna get a credit card. Companies were a little smarter back then.

So I filled out the application, took a number and finally my turn to “Dive for the Ice” came.

I rolled up my sleeve and with a crowd gathered around I stuck my hand into the large arctic aquarium. Now, to my mind the best way to find something in an aquarium full of ice and water is to create a whirlpool. (Not the hot kind, but the swirly kind). So I started swooshing the water around and around until I had created my own little whirlpool. As the water circled I could hear people gasping. My hand was in that incredibly cold water for a very long time. Finally I found something at the bottom that felt different than the ice. I cupped my hand and brought the little object up the side of the aquarium wall. Out came my hand, fisted now for safekeeping, and when I opened my red, stiff lobster claw, a small diamond sat in the palm of my hand.

The guy running the thing started freaking out. Apparently no one had ever actually won the diamond! He was borderline hysterical.

The crowd cheered. Mike started laughing and the manager of the jewelry store came white-faced running out and neither he nor the organizer knew what to do.

“May I keep it?” I asked innocently.

The crowd shouted, “Yes!”

The jewelry folks ushered me into the store, made me fill out paperwork and never really rejoiced in my good fortune.

Cindy and the oldest munchkin returned from their errand and unfortunately they had missed the whole shebang. My almost-a-carat-diamond was placed in a small plastic Ziploc and we all headed home.

That night I realized that Jesus was giving me a little lesson. Mommies and wives and girls who are loved by boys aren’t the only ones who get nice pieces of jewelry. Sometimes old maid missionaries who need a little affirmation and love can also be given beautiful commemorative jewelry from their heavenly Father. Yea!

The next day Cindy took me out to have my diamond set in a small gold bale with a fine linked chain. And for 25 years that little token has gone with me around the world. And every single time I put it on I think about that day at the mall. Jesus’ love. His care for me.

Well, back to my sister’s house last week. I wanted to put my necklace on and I couldn’t find it. I guess that the rush to get out of the house was so crazy (my fault, not big D’s) that I thought maybe I had just forgotten to put it in the little bag I was using. I remembered distinctly wrapping it in tissue to keep it from tangling, but maybe, just perhaps, I had left it on the bathroom counter, or the always-up ironing board or even the dresser in our room. You see, I can be a bit of a scatter brain and it wouldn’t have surprised me at all if I left it at home.

I decide to quit looking for it and go on finishing up getting ready. But there was an uneasiness in my tummy. A funny feeling. I prayed, “Lord, am I so vain that I don’t want to go out of this house without my diamond pendant? How rude is that?!?”

The uneasiness tarried. And then I started thinking about the diamond necklace. I prayed, “Lord, since You know everything and You know where that necklace is, would You mind giving me some clear directions as to what I need to be doing right now? Is that necklace here?”

I got this thought, “Check the trash.”

Daryl and I had dumped all the trash from our bedroom and bathroom into a large trash bag to take out that morning and clean up my sister’s guestroom a bit. We’d come into a clean room and wanted to leave it in fairly good order.

I ran out into the hall and got the giant trash bag and started sorting through all the nasty Kleenexes. Both Daryl and I have been suffering from allergies. Bad allergies. I think that’s enough information to imagine what I was pilfering through. Tissue after tissue after tissue. OMW it was so gross. And there was a lot of trash in the…well…you know…trash bag.

Finally, at the very bottom of the bag I found a Kleenex and opened it up to find my special, God-loves-me, commemorative diamond necklace. I started to cry.

I sat down on the side of the bed holding the small pendant in my hands thanking Jesus for being such a compassionate and caring Lord. I mean what woman when she has lost one silver coin doesn’t sweep out the entire house until she finds it? But in my case I didn’t even know it was lost. Trash was going out that day. My pendant would have been forever lost.

Lessons learned? Well, for one thing God is in the details. For another, He really does know what’s going on in our lives. And finally, each person on this planet is more important to God that a piece of jewelry. Each person’s name is known to Him and He has written those names on the palms of His hands. And the angels of God rejoice when one lost sinner comes home.

Don’t give up on your loved one today; that one person that is lost and it seems hopeless. Don’t give up because God knows where that person is and He will not let him or her go out with the trash. Hold on knowing that God will lead your loved one home. He’s that personal of a God and He cares that much. And if He can lead me to my lost necklace, He can lead your lost one home. Peace.

3 users Responded In This Post

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360. Steve Aceto said,
March 3rd, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hi Teri, that story is all about the love of the Father and it is one of my very favorites. According to my highly informed sources the coins would have been the wedding gift of her father, sort of a “bug out” fund that her husband was not entitled to share. She typically strung them and wore them around her neck for safekeeping. Breaking the string meant scrambling around on the dirt floor in the dark. Every one of them mattered because not only were they valuable, they were the tangible symbol of her father’s love and connection.
Thanks Teri,
Steve

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361. Texas sister said,
March 3rd, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Lovely portrayal of our Jesus’ intense personal love & care for us. Can totally see you digging in the trash-ick!
However I must comment that the last paragraph is mine, for me, through you, from my Father in Heaven.
Just yesterday my Daddy was moved from a regular Assisted Living apt. into the “Memory Care” section…I’d wondered how will he be able to respond to Jesus as his mind slips away?
The last sentence answers it for me.

“And if He can lead me to my lost necklace, He can lead your lost one home.”
Peace.
Blessed Peace

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362. AngelaRose said,
March 3rd, 2010 at 4:16 pm

What a great reminder of His personal love for us. He heard your sad thought and answered you with LOVE jewelry. Thank you for sharing your personal stories…

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