Yesterday, I was that woman crying in the toy aisle at Walmart. But not for the reason you might think.
All my daughter asked for from Santa is an Elsa doll. But despite months of walking past aisles full of them, it didn’t occur to me to buy one until last week. Rookie move. Now, even the most basic model has flown from local and digital shelves.
I went to Walmart out of sheer desperation. I’d already checked their site and knew the doll was out of stock, but I went anyway, praying, “Lord, let there just be one left. After so long telling her we can’t buy stuff, just let me do this one thing for her.”
I made my way to the toy section with a knot in my gut, but when I rounded the corner, I saw not empty shelves but an entire display filled with the exact doll I was looking for.
I snatched up Elsa and hugged her tight, ignoring the $30 price tag.
Then I looked at the display again and did something insane: I picked up Anna, too.
Elsa was already going on the credit card, but if we can’t afford one, we might as well not afford two, right?
Clutching the sisters, I headed to the checkout, openly weeping with a muddle of joy, shame, gratitude, and fear. I was so relieved to find the doll but was horrified at spending money we didn’t have. Anxiety cut me with every step, but I kept walking.
Then, as I scanned the dolls, I got another shock.
The sign was wrong. They weren’t $30 each—they were $15.
I held it together as I shuffled to my car where I let it all out, my face slick with tears, my prayer just two words over and over: “Thank you.”
This story isn’t about making Santa look good or doing the ugly cry in public. It’s about the intimacy of God’s love—the up-close, everyday miracles that only matter to one person. It’s about the fact that God cares about little things. That he covers us. That he knows our struggle. That he sees our hearts and wants to give us what we desire, especially if it’s to love someone else.
It’s also about showing my kid that when she asks for something good with her whole heart, someone will bend reality to give it to her.
Because that’s how God is.