What an amazing week it has been. After the amazing experience I had on Wednesday, see Let God’s Love Flow Through Us, I was not sure what to expect through the end of the week. The experience I had was already more than I could ever ask for that week. Somehow, God wasn’t done with me yet though.
Being a former Cyclone football player, one of the things I do each spring is donate money to the Cyclone Coaches Clinic. This is a clinic the ISU football program puts on each spring during spring ball to help educate high school coaches and foster relations between the ISU coaching staff and the Iowa high school football coaches. With my giving level this past spring it entitled me to 4 free tickets to one of the ISU home games this fall. A couple of months ago, I had selected the Texas Tech game to be the game I got my free tickets. Little did I know at that time, I had picked the perfect game.
Knowing I had four tickets, my girlfriend Stephanie and I approached her immediate family about using the tickets and coming to the game. This worked out perfectly because Stephanie has four other people in her immediate family. Even though we had invited them several weeks ago, we were having trouble getting a definite yes to our invitation.
Stephanie texted me early on Friday morning, the day before the game, and informed me that it would only be her dad and brother attending the game the next day. That meant that I had 2 additional tickets to try to find a home for. First I texted a friend of mine, but he had a wedding to attend.
I was not really sure what to do. I wasn’t really interested in trying to sell the tickets to make any money off of them, but I wanted them to go to someone who would enjoy them and maybe not have the opportunity to afford them. I decided to email Pastor Staff from Ames First Evangelical Free Church in Ames and ask him if he knew of anyone from church who could use the tickets that really didn’t have the means to afford them.
He emailed me back and told me that he had the perfect recipients in mind. Pastor Staff explained to me how Robbie and Missy Maxson are a married couple and new Christians, who were new to their growth group at church. He explained that they are learning to use finances God’s way, which was really cool, but that did not leave a lot of extra money for other things that weren’t considered essential. Pastor Staff explained how Robbie had approached him recently because he had hoped to take Missy to an ISU football game for her birthday, and had inquired about whether Pastor Staff had any tickets. Pastor Staff works with the ISU football team, but unfortunately did not have any additional tickets. Pastor Staff said that he did not really have a good answer for him, but then my email came.
Pastor Staff gave me Robbie’s contact information and copied Robbie on the email he had sent me. I texted Robbie and told him that I had two tickets for the Texas Tech game tomorrow night and wondered if he would be interested in going.
I received this text back from Robbie:
“Yes, we would love to go, just done reading the email chain. My wife has never been to a football game and has showed that she wanted to go, but with our budget right now, I was unable to make her wish come true. So I prayed and that led me to talk to Pastor David Staff, then you appear. Wow! It’s so amazing how God works in our lives. I love it!”
When I read that text I got chills. It was clear to me that God was working blessings again. God was allowing blessing to flow through me and since I was not being a plug in that flow, the flow was continuing on to others and blessing them.
I texted Robbie back and inquired about when we could meet so I could get him the tickets. I suggested that Robbie and his wife meet Stephanie and me for supper and we could meet and I could get him the tickets. He told me that would be awesome, but he had two girls as well. I told him to bring them along and that it would be my treat. We made plans to meet that night at El Azteca, a popular Mexican restaurant in Ames.
I do want to note here, that Stephanie and I had already made plans that evening to go to Outback Steakhouse in Ankeny for supper to use a gift card we have had for some time. We then had plans to go to the corn maze just outside of Bondurant. I was so excited about the opportunity that I changed our date plans for the two of us due to this new opportunity without asking her first because I was so excited about what God was doing. Fortunately, Stephanie is very understanding about things like this and she was very willing to alter our plans considering it seemed like God arranged this.
Steph and I met Robbie and his wife, Melissa, at the restaurant. We also got a chance to meet their two daughters Billie and Marissa. During supper we got to know a bunch about them. They lived in Boone and had been married for 13 years. Their two daughters were cheerleaders in the same Upward flag football program that Steph and I are involved with. We also found out that Melissa’s younger sister went to school with Steph at Northeast Hamilton and played softball together in high school.
After our meal and giving them our tickets we invited them to come tailgate with us prior to the game if they got there early enough. By the time we left the Maxson family that night, we still had time to finish our date night and head to the corn maze. It was a blast by the way!
The next day, Robbie and Melissa, showed up a couple of hours before kickoff so Steph and I were able to spend some more time with them in the parking lot between Hilton and Jack Trice Field. Through further discussions with Robbie, I learned that both Melissa and Billie suffer from muscular dystrophy. It has been something they have had to deal with, but they choose to be positive about it and the whole family has become very involved with Camp Courageous.
Robbie and Melissa were so appreciative of the kindness we were showing them by giving them the tickets, but I think the biggest thrill was mine. Knowing that this simple act of giving these two extra tickets could be such a positive memory in their challenging lives made me feel great. The best part of the whole story is where the tickets were located. Prior to giving them the tickets, I had not even looked at where the seats were located. After we had given them the tickets we looked up on our phone where they were so we could help them know which gate to go in. Their seats were just off the 50 yd line, 9 rows up behind the Cyclone bench. Are you kidding? That is awesome! In fact, I don’t believe there has ever been a time that I have seen a game from such good seats.
We had an amazing couple of days getting to know the Maxson family and I know that we will continue to periodically see them and perhaps do things with them. What continues to amaze me is the amazing things God will do if you will just be open to what He is trying to do. I did not do anything special or hard, but I was open to the opportunity that God sent my way.
Robbie and Melissa are new Christians and I’m sure still have plenty of doubts about what being a Christian is really all about. Maybe this experience of God’s love will help influence them and help break any barriers that might have existed in the past between them and God. I know that I played a very small part in this really cool event, but I was just glad that God decided to include me in His plan. While great miracles are really grand and cool, sometimes it is the little kindnesses that we do in life that make the biggest difference. God really showed me that I can really make a difference if I will just be open to the opportunity. God showed me the amazing power a giving heart can have on other’s lives. I’m sure the Maxsons will always be thankful to me for making their dream of seeing a Cyclone football game become a reality, but I will be even more thankful that through them, I got to be a part of God doing something that was nothing short of amazing!