Back in May, I was the recipient of a pair of shoes- a brand new pair of Reebok Nano 4.0s to be exact. I received them as a gift for working at the CrossFit Games Meridian Regional in Copenhagen, Denmark. They were special to me not only because they commemorated my time in Denmark, but they also happened to be the same colors as my CrossFit gym- green and black. And what CrossFitter doesn’t want a free pair of the latest and greatest Nanos?! I loved those shoes, but for some reason, I never wore them. Not once. They just sat in my closet waiting to be showed off.
This Summer, I became involved with a group of women who helped provide gear to some underprivileged children who were going to sleep-away camp for the first time. We used Facebook to relay items our designated children needed- sleeping bags, laundry bags, flashlights, etc. One day, someone posted she was looking for a pair of women’s size 9 athletic shoes. I immediately thought of those Reebok Nanos sitting in my closet. They were a size 9 and what kid wouldn’t love some swanky neon green and black athletic shoes? But I stayed silent.
I wanted those shoes for myself.
The shame began to consume me. At last count, I had 14 pairs of athletic shoes. I am embarrassed to even admit this, by the way. With all of those shoes looking at me every day in my closet (pick me! pick me!), why couldn’t I let go of one pair for someone in need?
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” -1 John 3:17.
A few days after the initial post about the shoes, I got back on Facebook and offered mine up. It was too late. Other shoes had been donated. The Nanos continued to sit in my closet. How could I possibly wear them now when, in my eyes, they represented the failure of a test of character?
Fast forward to last week.
There is a family in my town who has been going through the process of adopting two 16-year-olds from the Ukraine. They would be adding two more children to their already large family of six. I cannot even imagine the expense (not to mention giant leap of faith!) that these adoptions entailed. As I heard from a mutual friend that the adoptions were being finalized, I felt called to help this family.
Remember that closet containing 14 pairs of athletic shoes? I learned the children were leaving their orphanage with only the clothes on their back and decided I would clean out my closet and give some of my old clothes to the 16-year-old girl. Yeah, I know I am 43-years-old myself, but I thought I might have some good stuff a teenage girl would appreciate. Hey- I do like neon green and black athletic shoes!
As I sorted through my clothes, I realized there were a few designer items I could probably sell on eBay. That’s it! I could sell some stuff on eBay and give the money to this family. Maybe I could get my book club to make donations? Maybe I could set a goal of raising $1,000 to help this family out?
And of course… I would have to sell my Nanos.
Last night my auctions closed, and along with my book club donations, I raised $750 towards my goal. As I packed my old designer jeans and Lululemon jackets up for shipping, I couldn’t help but be filled with love and joy to be helping this family I had never even met.
My beloved Nanos ended up fetching the most money of all, and as I put them in a box to ship, I noticed something funny about the buyer- Tracy from Slidell, Louisiana. Could that be my friend from several years ago? The one I used to coach and workout with in my old CrossFit gym in Albany? Who then moved to Louisiana? I immediately posted on her Facebook wall- “Did I just sell my new Reebok Nano 4.0s to you on eBay?”
Tracy quickly replied and after a couple of exchanges, she wrote the following message: “I am thrilled to have something that comes from a rock star, and I will cherish them every time I wear them!! We never forget those who helped mold us into what we have become, and as such, I will support each and every one of you when possible. I ♥ you, Shelby, and am proud to call you MY friend!!”
Oh, my heart overfloweth.
An unexpected blessing from a pair of Reebok Nanos. Redemption, maybe?
All I know is that Tracy’s message coupled with the fact that I am helping my neighbor gives me a feeling of gratitude I cannot contain. Seriously. I have walked around all day with a goofy grin on my face. And sorry- not even the newest Kevlar-coated Reebok Nano 5.0s could make me feel any better!
This is the love of God, ya’ll.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” -Luke 6:38.
Update: As I was writing this post with Luke 6:38 on my computer screen, I received a text from a member of my book club telling me that a foundation she is involved with will MATCH the amount of money I end up raising for this family. This now brings our total to $2200 though I expect it to increase by a little more in the end. I am speechless and overcome by emotion over the incredible women God has put in my life. Although this post seems to focus a lot on me and what I have done to help this family, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to the ladies in my book club. The generosity. The sacrifice. The steps some of you have taken in order to contribute money towards this cause. I can’t even.