The Every Other Wednesday Afternoon Prayer Group was in need of somebody who could lead their meetings, so Laura nominated me.
“Katie,” she assured me, “you won’t have to do a thing except keep us running smoothly.” I tried to decline, but before I knew it, I was voted in unanimously. Now, if you’ve ever tried to lead a group of strong-willed ladies, then you know what a challenge that can be. The only reason I agreed to do it is because I felt the Lord wanted me to help in any way I could.
At our next meeting, we voted to have a fund raiser to help our church missionaries. We decided a rummage sale would raise the most money. I say “we,” but really, it was Laura who pushed it through. She’s a large lady who wears suits with shoulder pads, which she certainly doesn’t need, by the way. The point is, nobody wanted to oppose her.
A few days before the sale, Roberta paid me a visit. I saw her getting out of her car, and right away knew something was wrong. She stomped up the walk, fists clenched, and beat on the door. I barely had the door opened when she stormed in and plopped herself down on my sofa.
She poked a well-manicured finger at me. “I don’t know if this rummage sale is going to work out. I just came from Marie’s house. You should see the tacky stuff she is donating. Why, that junk’s not even fit to throw out. I’m donating some very nice clothes that still have the tags on them, for heaven’s sake. If everybody gives us the kind of trash Marie is donating, we won’t have a nickel to send to the missionaries.”
I talked to her and tried to explain how one person’s trash just might be another’s treasure. We sipped some of my fresh squeezed lemonade, and I think I finally managed to get Roberta calmed down.
That evening, I got a phone call from Sarah. I could barely understand her because she was sobbing so hard. Sarah cries a lot anyway. I’m ashamed to admit I call her Sobbing Sarah.
Well, not in public, of course. I think what she was trying to tell me, though, is that she just couldn’t find much to donate, and she felt like she was letting us down. After delivering my second pep talk of the day, her sobs faded to whimpers.
The day of the sale didn’t start off on the best footing. We met at the church at seven in the morning to take care of last minute things. Everyone was supposed to have their items priced the day before, but Peggy came a half hour late and didn’t have a thing priced. She was scrambling around the church looking for masking tape and a black marker. I could see some of the ladies were frustrated with her. Just between you and me, I can’t help but think maybe some of them have a little bit of a grudge against her anyway. She has two kids, and is pushing middle age real hard, but she still looks fabulous. Since she was running behind, some of the ladies decided to help her mark her things. Everyone was in a hurry, and somebody grabbed a lamp Peggy brought. First thing you know, it was on the floor, broken to bits.
This sent Sarah into a crying jag, and I could tell Roberta was doing her best to control her temper. Laura’s large frame loomed over the mess on the floor. She shook her head in disbelief, and rolled her eyes. Several ladies looked at me, and I thought it best we start the sale with a prayer.
When we finished, Sarah blew her nose. “Katie, that’s why we wanted you to lead our group. You’re wonderful at putting out fires.”
I have to admit that touched me. Roberta walked over to a table filled with second hand toys and picked up a fireman’s hat. She put it on my head, and the ladies all applauded.
Laura lifted her ample arms up, chunky gold bracelets sliding down to her elbows, and shouted, “Praise the Lord.”
I just thanked God He allowed me to be a fire-fighter for Him.
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