Myself, all my aunts, my uncle and my cousin Elizabeth decided to see the movie Inception on Wednesday night while we were on vacation. Great movie. I recommend it! After the movie we were trying to figure out where to go for dinner. I wasnt to hungry so I was wavering back and forth in my mind what to do, go back to the beach house? or go out to eat?
Around 9:30, as we stopped on the boardwalk to use the restroom, my sister called me on my cell phone upset and frantic.
Sister: “Colleen, we lost Elijah’s shoe somewhere on the boardwalk. Can you look for it?”
Me: ”Are you serious? Have you seen the boardwalk at night? Its like shoulder to shoulder right now. Plus I’m with the family.”
Sister: (quivering voice as she holds back tears) ”Please, they were really expensive shoes and I’m upset that we lost it.”
Me: ”OK, well dont cry. I’ll look for it. Remember, its just a shoe christine. At least you didnt loose Elijah!”
Sister: ”I know, but they were expensive.”
In the background I heard my little nephew Evan say, “Mommy! You pray first THEN call Aunt Colleen.”
That did it for me. My heart is always moved by Evans little heart and faith to pray to God for a miracle. Quickly in my heart I prayed, “If for anything Lord, help me find this shoe for my little nephews faith and heart.” Seconds later, just like that, I forgot about the shoe as I was distracted by a gigantic slug in a flower patch.
I didn’t think about the shoe again. Lets face it, if you saw a slug that huge, would you be thinking about finding a kid shoe? Plus, I was still debating whether or not I wanted to go out to eat with everyone.
I was kinda lagging behind the family as we continued down the boardwalk. I was in the middle of thinking, “I need to catch up” when the thought, “THE SHOE” interrupted my thought process. Its kinda hard to explain what happened next but, here I go.
It was as if someone had shouted in my hear, “THE SHOE.” And I felt a “flipping” feeling just above my stomach. Along with that, it was as if someone grabbed the back of my shoulders and jolted me back a few steps literally stopping me in my tracts. I could not really move. All I was doing in that moment was processing what was going on. “What is happening right now? This has to be GOd.” I thought to myself as I started scanning the boardwalk in that area for the shoe. “It must be around here.”
As I searched to my left I saw nothing. I scanned in front of me , behind me, and all about the area. As I looked to my right I saw the boardwalks famous Christmas Store. Almost uncontrollably and yet also by choice I started walking towards the store knowing (somehow) whatever I found in there would lead me to the shoe. Before I went in I hesitated and thought, “This is dumb, the shoe isnt in there. I will feel so stiupid thinking God is leading me in here just to find there is no shoe.”
But I just had to know. I quickly excused myself from the family group telling them that I decided I wasn’t going to go to eat and that I needed to check something in the Christmas Store. ”ill catch up with you guys later.” I said.
I entered the stores doorway, it was mass chaos. Yeesh, people were everywhere. As I started searching the ground I “felt” or “heard” something say, “Go to the counter and ask for THE SHOE.” That “feeling” was coupled with the thought, “I might as well ask if anyone turned it in first. If no one did, ill search the store. I just know its in here.” I reasoned to myself, “Why else would i have felt such a strong urge to come in here after being stopped in my tracts by the thought of THE SHOE.”
I walked up to the casher and said softly, “Um, Excuse me. Has anyone turned in a shoe? Like a kids shoe?”
“Ive seen a kids shoe.” said a voice to my right.
Me: “huh??? You have???!!!” I turned my head to see a woman checking out.
The woman: “Yes. Was it a Stride Right?”
Me: ”I think so, im not really sure. Like a little kids shoe? or sandal ?”
The woman: “Yes, Its a sandal. I saw it a ways from here by the Gorilla Golf (about 200 ft). I set it aside because I figured someone would come looking for it. Those are expensive shoes!
I was beside myself in bewilderment as the lady was talking to me. My bottom of my jaw must have brushed against the floor. Im not sure I was listening to the woman much after that as I was thinking “Jesus, wow, thank you, thank you.” At the same time wondering “Could this be THE SHOE? What if its not? Ill be all excited for nothing and feel so foolish.” I decided to tell the lady that I am a Christian who believes in the power of Jesus and that I was praying that I would find the shoe. She responded to me with, “I am a Christian too! Infact, right now im buying a cross for my son because he is going away to college. If you wait just a second, ill take you to the shoe.”
Me (dumb-founded): “Uuuhhhoooookkkk, wow thank you.”
As we walked out of the store, chatting about each of our sides of the story about THE SHOE, sure enough, there it was, THE SHOE, right where the women left it. It was indeed Elijah’s shoe. When the woman handed it to me, i just stared at it, laughing and shaking my head in astonishment. Meanwhile, at that same spot the shoe was, the lady and I ran back into my family and I was able to share the whole story with them. Then we called my sister and told her we found it.
The family and I chatted a bit with the women, whose name turned out to be Misty. Then, shoe in hand, I ran all the way back to the beach house….in my flip-flops. I walked right up to my nephew and said, “Did you pray little buddy? Cuz God hears your prayers” And I handed him the shoe. ”i DID pray aunt Colleen.” He said to me.
I later came to find out that my sister, Mike and the kids had walked the whole boardwalk that night and had ventured out on to the beach. The shoe could had been anywhere. The board walk is at least a few miles long. I also came to find that after I called my sister informing her that we found the shoe, she told my nephew, who responded with a “yup” as if he new all along that God would bring it back.
I still cant believe it. I play it over and over in my head knowing this is no coincidence. The shoe could have been anywhere on the whole boardwalk. Jesus lead me into the Christmas Store, not to find the shoe, but to find the woman who knew where the shoe was. The timing was perfect. Misty was just about to check out. Had she not been at the counter at that moment, she wouldn’t have heard me ask the cashier for the shoe. If i would have hesitated, doubted for to long or simply decided to search the store first, Misty would have checked out and left. Isnt God neat? His timing is perfect. Could He have lead me right to the shoe? Sure! But this is a much better story. Perhaps Misty was an Angel?