The Elephant In The Room

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Yesterday, at about 10:30am, my manager walked past my desk and asked me if I wanted to "go get a letter." I had no idea what he was talking about yet, but for some reason got up and followed him.
Apparently, what I hadn't yet gathered (aka I hadn't yet read the email) was this: At my office, we do something called Letters to Santa. Children in poverty stricken schools write letters to "Santa's Helpers" and we, as Santa's Helpers, have the option of picking a letter to respond to by giving a gift.

So here we were, a group of coworkers, standing in line to find out which letter (and therefore which child) we would be giving a gift to. I was surprised to hear that many of my coworkers knew exactly what they wanted. The guy before me asked for the letter of "a fifth grade boy." Another coworker asked for a girl who wanted art supplies. Me? I had no idea.

When it comes to these kinds of subjective decisions, I am extremely indecisive. I often try to give them away. So I thought, hey, if you're going to give away that kind of decision, who better to give it to than God? After all, He is the master strategist...

So when it was my turn, I desired to let God do something cool. I told the woman behind the letter-covered desk, "I don't know what I want... so will you just wave your hands around and pick one at random?"

The letter was so sweet. A little 5th grade girl who loves school and her family and reading. All she wanted was books to read. I'm a huge reader, myself, so... ask me to contribute to growing that passion in a young girl and I am enthusiastically on board.

As I read her letter and admired her phoenomenal-for-a-ten-year-old handwriting, a small piece of paper fluttered out of my hands and fell to the ground...


I have to digress here for a moment in order to make total sense in this story... I have recently made some big changes in my life, and one in particular was very daunting and stressful. I remember seeing it coming and knowing it had to (and would) happen. For the sake of my sanity and emotional stability, however, I tried to ignore it, and even casually named it "the elephant in the room."

As I wrestled with God about what was right, He kept showing me elephants. Everywhere. I fell in love with an elephant teapot at World Market (which I suddenly HAD to take a photograph of, for some reason). I randomly found an old wooden elephant keychain while cleaning my closet (which, let's be honest, doesn't happen all that often).

And then, once the decision had been made and I had entrusted God with leading me through its consequences, He seems to have continually made an effort to show me even more elephants. Elephants came up in conversations about memory ("An elephant never forgets"). Elephants showed up on the labels of beer randomly purchased at a liquor store (buying anything other than Guinness is an out of ordinary act for me). It was as though elephants had become God's way of comforting me and reminding me that, even though it seemed like a hard and impossible situation, He has lead me and His plan prevails.


Now, back to the story at hand. As I was reading an utterly heartwarming Christmas letter, a small sheet of paper fell from my hands.

I bent over to pick it up. I turned it over. I saw this...

An elephant. A hand drawn, smiling, waving elephant. God smiling at me through the pencil of a ten year old girl.

God, thank you for making your love for us feel so personal. I cherish the way you use your love and creativity to magnify the little things and make them big. Thank you for sending us tiny messages that feel like inside jokes between us and you. You are marvelous.


  1. Hi Carly! Great post. The letter was beautiful and I am glad you are taking it to heart to help this child. It is also nice to get that moment and message from above that guides you and reminds to follow your heart and faith. Keep up the great work sharing these stories!

  2. what a neat story! i love how God works!

  3. A phenomenal story. Thanks so much for sharing.
    I love hearing stories from people who realize God's love and see his hands at work.

  4. carly, i just love it when God speaks to us so visibly!!! awesome!


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