I have no idea how to start this story because it is so unbelievable that I don't have the words, so here is my best shot.
My dad recently invited me to a Jesus Culture conference in L.A. where I first came across the Giving keys booth.There were so many booths at the conference but this in particular booth at the conference stood out to me. The booth was crowded and I couldn't wait my turn to see what this was all about ( I was a jewelry major in college and jewelry is particularly symbolic to me). So when I finally arrived at the table with the many necklaces on it I immediately saw a rose gold colored key peeking out from behind some of the other keys on the display. I picked it up and looked at the word "FAITH". I didn't think the word fit in my life at the time seeing as faith wasn't something that I lacked, and that particular one was very expensive ( my husband and I have a tight budget at the moment). But something was nudging me to buy this particular necklace, so I did. I put the necklace on and rejoined my dad in the conference. I tell him about the necklace that I bought he asked why I chose the word "FAITH". I replied, "I'm not sure but I know that the purpose would be revealed to me as I wear it.
I dreamed up the possibilities of the moment that I would get to give the necklace away, maybe I could give it to my children one day, or maybe to my atheist friend?! I had come to love to dream about these type things and I loved how beautiful it was! I was thinking that I would get to wear the key for years to come. Little did I know...
Two days later the conference ended and My dad and I flew back into Dallas, TX where we were going to drive 6 hours to make it back home to Lubbock, TX . We drive for a few hours and decide that we are both extremely hungry all of a sudden and we were going to pull over in the next town that we come to and eat at the next place we found. The next town we came to was a small town and as we drove around to the restaurants available we found that every restaurant in the town was closed, ( it was 4:30 on a Wednesday) we couldn't believe it! But considering our hunger level we went to the next town and it was equally small. We looked and looked and couldn't find any of the restaurants open in that town either! So we decide to go to the next small town and found the same to be true, there were no restaurants open. So we asked a gentleman that worked in a snow cone stand for a place that was close by that we could eat at. He suggested a place down the road. So we head to the place (5:30 now) and find out that it had closed 10 minutes ago. We begin to laugh and start to find it hysterical.
Abilene, Tx was the next largest town and we knew that there would be something open. There were other small towns in between but we wanted to go somewhere we knew would have a restaurant open so we headed to Abilene. An hour or so later we arrive in Abilene and we decided that BBQ sounded good and Abilene had a good selection of this genre. So my dad pulled up all the restaurants on his phone and we look at our selection. Some of the restaurants we knew about some that we didn't know about. After talking all the selections over we decided on the one we had been to the most and the one that had to be open at this hour.
As we pull up to the restaurant we found that we were the only ones in the parking lot, and we sat there for a while talking about the possibility of this one being closed as well . Finally another car pulled up and we began to think that maybe it is still open. We saw the people begin to head towards the door and at the same time notice that one of the waitresses was sitting on a church bench outside in the front of the restaurant. We get out of the car and she waves at us and we ask "Are you open?" and she tells us that they are open and to "come on in". She tells us that she will be our waiter and escorts us inside.
The moment we walk in I went to the bathroom and my dad goes to our seat. While I am in the restroom my dad starts telling our waitress about the Jesus culture conference that we just came from. She said that she had all night and would love to hear about the conference. I come back form the restroom and we order our food. After we order, she tells my dad and I how she is coming into her faith again. And as we begin to talk/eat with our waitress (Jackie) my dad had what he later describes as if Jesus walked by and told him that my "FAITH" necklace belonged to Jackie. But we continued to eat/talk and he forgot about it. As the meal carried on we came to find that Jackie had a life that was less than ideal. She had been in prison for years and had just gotten out a few months ago and everyone in her family was somewhere along in the same boat. It didn't seem to be a bright and cheery life thus far. She also expressed that the reason she doesnt go to church is because "all churches are filled with hypocrites". However she was so hungry to hear about God and Jesus. Somewhere in our conversations she expained how she was supposed to seat the other couple that came in before my dad and I but that she told the other waiters that she wanted to seat us she reemphasized that "she chose to seat us", I thought to myself " this has been a crazy day "!
So we finish the dinner and I decide to use the restroom before our remaining 3 hour drive home. While in the restroom I looked in the mirror, saw the key around my neck, and it hit me with intensity, something said " give the necklace to Jackie , it belongs to her" as if it were a command. I walked out of the bathroom knowing what I had to do. I wanted to get a second opinion though so I called to my dad who was walking out the door and asked him what he thought about giving the "FAITH" necklace to Jackie he said "well its funny that you say that because that very thing occurred to me at the beginning of the meal." At that moment we smiled and concluded that this was God's will.
So I went out to the car to get the box that the necklace came in and I walked back in the restaurant and called Jackie over. I began to explain to Jackie what this necklace was about and before I finished my first sentence she began to cry. We hugged and I poured blessings of God's love over her. Another waiter in the restaurant walked by and said "this is such a beautiful thing". After giving the necklace to her there was an unspeakable truth that this was an incredible event.
My dad and I leave the restaurant and go to the gas station next door we are in the car blown away by what just happened. I was so thankful an blessed by the occasion. As we are leaving the gas station I see a sign that had a key on it that read "Key City Motors" . So I say "Key City Motors" out loud and my dad says "what did you say? ", I repeated it and pointed out the sign with the key on it thinking that that was a cool coincidence . He said "do you know what you just said?" and I replied "no". He continued to tell me that Abilene's nickname was known as the "Key City" much like New York's nickname is "The Big Apple". We were blown away once again and we both threw our hands up to God knowing that this was undeniably his creation.
In conclusion I laughed with joy thinking about what I had "thought" my plans were for the future of that key. Never guessing that I would only get to wear it for two days. But the blessing that came from that experience were priceless and will forever impact all parties included. I believe from the time I bought the necklace that it was always destined to end up with Jackie . This is what The Giving Keys are all about. Thank you for your mission to help stories like this come alive.