For weeks now, I’ve been driving around with two huge sacks of giveaway clothing. This morning, I talked to the subject of the following story, a fun and inspiring friend. It made me realize I might be keeping myself from a big blessing. So I promise to donate those clothes today and see what happens! This story is not part of my book, “Radiant Beams,” but with luck it will be in Radiant Beams II or III. :>)

The Two Purple Coats


She’s originally from the Chicago suburbs and lived just outside Detroit for years. So she knows about cold weather. She moved to Houston, where she is a 911 dispatcher. She didn’t think she would need a coat again.


Wrong! Texas residents can attest.


So finally, she did buy a coat. She found it online. It was a really cute purple anorak style jacket. It was love at first sight; you know that happy feeling. With something as cheerful as a purple coat, it’s an impulse thing as well as a necessity. It was a little over her budget, but she went for it, anyway.


But there was a problem. They were out of stock in her size. So they sent her one that was two sizes smaller. It came as kind of a shock. What? Did they think that was an acceptable substitute? They said basically, “Sorry, we’re not bringing this jacket back in stock. Here’s your substitute.”


Well! What a way to do business.


But oh! It was soooooo cute.


She was smitten with the coat despite its unsuitability, and decided not to mail it back and get a refund. She loved the style. She wanted the purple color. So she challenged herself:


I will lose enough weight to fit into it. What’s two sizes? I can do it!


As the years passed, she gained and lost periodically, never fitting into the coat. That meant she was still without a jacket in winter. It hung uselessly in her closet. And she was cold!


Now, this past winter, she was doing well on her diet. She thought that soon, she would be able to wear the jacket. Hopefully. Maybe!


Then she saw a story on the news about how the Star of Hope mission in Houston needed coats and blankets for homeless and low-income families.


She thought: I still have that brand new coat with the tags still on it hanging in my closet! But ohhh, how I love that coat. And I’m doing well on my diet. Soon I can wear it, I hope!


Maybe it sounds silly to make such a fuss over a darn coat. But a lot of us understand what she was thinking. She loved that coat, couldn’t really afford a new one, and didn’t want any other coat, anyway. But there were people who needed it a lot more than she did. And she was not even wearing it!


It took her about three days before her conscience won the battle. She realized she was being selfish and kind of “hoarding” that coat. She decided to give it up.


Then, that Sunday in church, her pastor asked the congregation to bring any donations for Star of Hope to church the following week, including clothing and canned goods. That was the same charity she had heard about! What a “coincidence,” eh?


She packed up her bag of giveaways, including the purple coat, and had it ready to take to church.


A few days later, she “just so happened” (code words for “a God thing”) to be looking for some new business casual used clothes in anticipation of a new dress code at work . . . when bam!


On eBay, she found the same EXACT purple jacket, same manufacturer, same color as the one she was going to give up . . . and it was in her current size . . . for $10!


Ten bucks? Who gets a cute, new coat for $10?


Isn’t that just like the Lord? Leading her out of selfishness into generosity, and then turning around and blessing her in return.


Beaming, she snatched that coat right up with an online order. It came right away. It fit her like a glove. She proudly wore it to church as she carried the other new coat in a bag with a load of canned goods to give to Star of Hope.


She prayed over that coat that someone would love it as much as she has, and that they would know it came from the Lord.


Her church friends will never know why she beamed throughout the service, wearing her new coat, with its twin up at the altar with the other contributions. But the reason she was tickled is that the sermon that day focused on “giving.”


She was both the giver and the receiver. She focused on the real Star of Hope. And for that, she felt doubly blessed!



Give, and it shall be given unto you;

good measure, pressed down, and shaken together,

and running over, shall men give into your bosom.

For with the same measure that ye mete

withal it shall be measured to you again.

— Luke 6:38

By Susan Darst Williams | | Radiant Beams | © 2016