Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My "Giving Key" Story

My friend Natalie introduced me to my first “giving key” but only because I saw a key around her neck with the word “believe” engraved on it.  I got home and I googled it because I liked it and that’s where the love affair began.  These are re purposed keys that have a word engraved on them.. everything from Believe, Inspire, Create, Love, Hope, Faith, Breathe, Dream, Courage, Strength, Brave.. you get the idea. You wear the key until you either are done with your word or you feel that someone else needs your word more than you do.  Cool, right? 

I had recently gone to a women’s conference in Dallas with a friend of mine and I had heard a speaker talk about having a “word of the year” that you focus on.  I had decided that my word was either faith or surrender.  Due to lots of circumstances and a year of personal growth, I had been praying on if faith led to surrender or surrender was the ultimate display of faith but when I saw that one of the keys already had faith engraved on it, I had my word. 

I went on a little buying spree, inspired to carry it forward to just a few of these amazing women that have changed my life in so many ways.  I could go on and on about the women and the keys that have spoken to me for them but that may be a tale for another time.  Suffice it to say that I have bought 11 keys so far and seeing the way that it’s working will probably push me to buy even more.  However, this is a story about my very special key. 

I lost my big sister to alcoholism six years ago.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her.  13 years ago, I saw her stunningly beautiful daughter born.  This child, my goddaughter was born with a heart as big and unique as her mama’s and instantly knew she was destined to do great things.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to watch her grow into this lovely creature from a distance as she lives with her amazing dad and step mom in Maryland and I live in Texas.  We are lucky enough to get to spend time with her every summer though and we treasure that time we get to spend with her.   

Last Thursday, I got to go have dinner with her all by myself which is a rarity when there are so many that want to spend time with her.  It was such a special time with just us and I got a chance to listen to her and get to know her, be in her presence and feel her heart.  We got to talking about names for her future children (which is something her mama used to do), and she told me her daughter’s name would be Michelle Marie after both of her mom’s middle names.  This touched me and I told her so…  and all of a sudden her eyes welled up with tears and it hit me.  I looked at her and said…  “you don’t remember her, do you?”  She nodded through tear filled eyes and said no.  I quickly went over to her side of the booth, hugged her and asked if she felt guilty about that and she nodded again.  By this time, we were both crying and I reassured her that there was nothing to feel guilty about.  It has been six years and she was only seven at the time.  She remembers some things but not her smell or the way she sounded.  She remembered stories but didn’t remember what her arms felt like. 

After thinking about it some more, crying about it some more and praying on it.  I realized that I need to help her remember the amazing woman her mother was.  Help her know that her mom always said that she was the best thing that she had ever done.  I am the closest thing to my sister and it’s my  honor to help her know the mama who loved her so much.  I went to bed with this new resolve on my mind and in my heart. 

I woke up the next day and went about my morning… starting with an early workout, back home, shower, hair and was putting on my makeup.  All of a sudden, I heard in my head that I needed to give my "faith" key to Emilie.  I always knew that I would pay it forward, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be so soon after I got my first key.  Honestly, I was a bit bratty when I realized this and tried to bargain that I’d buy her a new faith key.  I wasn’t ready to give up my faith key.  I still needed faith.  Then I heard in my head again…  no!  You need to give Emilie YOUR faith key. 

My eyes welled up with tears and I fell to my knees sobbing.  I always listen to Pandora while getting ready and all of a sudden, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me came on.  This was Kristin’s favorite song and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had to do what I was instructed to do.  What is even stranger is that it played a second time on Pandora as if to bring the point home.  Not only God, but my sister too was telling me to take care of her baby girl. 

Emilie was leaving to go back home that afternoon…  so I took the opportunity to tell her this story.  I took her hands in mine,  looked into her eyes and I paid forward my faith key.  I told her that whenever she needed to feel her mom to hold that key, feel its strength, rub its word and know without a shadow of a doubt that she is loved immeasurably and that her mom is always near.  I also told her that she had to pay it forward when the time was right and she felt so led. 

Finally, I was telling my first giving key recipient of this story and she texted me an hour later and said that “brave” was on its way to me.  That by sending it to me, she was brave.  By giving Emilie faith, I had faith. 

I love these keys for so many reasons.  They almost always start a conversation which then goes into paying it forward, which is always good.  In addition, they are always given with love and for a very specific reason.  These keys make a difference and I am so grateful for the gift it enabled me to share with my precious niece and goddaughter.