Thirteen Dollars and Fifty Cents

Ishshah’s Story welcomes our latest guest contributor, Becky Johnson of the United States. Becky lives west of Denver, Colorado with her husband and cat. She fills her days with family (two grown daughters with husbands and families of their own) and laughter. When she isn’t writing you can find her dancing in the kitchen! Her first book was published in September 2014 (A Grit & Grace Collection: Reflections From the Heart of a Rebel, Tender and Wild), available on her personal blog at Risking Love. Writing Brave, where you can enjoy more of her storytelling. And now, Thirteen Dollars and Fifty Cents.


I knew I should have said something as I scribbled out my signature. Even as I walked through the wide open glass doors to my car I knew I should have gone back. I felt it deep down near my navel. But I kept going. How often we just keep going.

It was late afternoon and the spring clouds had rolled in making it darker than the hour and so very gray. I drove through traffic to my next errand, but my guts were still bothered. At the red light I pulled out the crumpled receipt that I’d shoved into my black and white polka-dotted wallet to review the details. It wasn’t a sale as I had hoped it to be. The nice woman that helped me had incorrectly read the price tag stuck on the front of my purchase. She input it as $1.49, but it was actually $14.99. For a split second (and longer) I felt like I got away with something. What a deal!

I rolled it around in my mind and wrestled with it in my heart the remainder of the evening. I relayed the story to my husband and his reply left it for me to decide: “Well, you should probably think about that.” For a woman who doesn’t like to be told what to do, I really just wanted him to tell me what to do. (Please don’t tell him I told you that. He’d never let me forget it.) Later I texted my mom the Reader’s Digest version and ended with, “I don’t know what to do, what the right thing is to do.” Her reply not only told me what to do (mothers – hmph!) but it got wedged down near that ol’ navel of mine where I knew the truth was buggin’ me. In short she gave me a Scripture, Romans 12:17 – “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” How strangely ironic and quite human that when we think we’re unsure what the right thing is to do, we actually do know. We just don’t wanna.

Let’s rewind a few hours. Earlier in the day I had written in a blog post of my desire to “stop talking about it and simply live it.” This “it” being Christ in Becky. Here was this golden opportunity laid right into the lap of my life to live it out – and I caught myself wrestling with it. Such short memories we have.

$13.50The next morning was an early day; up and out the door in a flash. I took a deep breath, grabbed the receipt off my desk and shoved it back into that polka-dotted wallet. Then I placed the purchase back into my car. I would return to the store that day and pay the difference.

I take care of my two-year old grandson while his mommy (my daughter) and daddy work. Fridays are my favorite because he’s still in his jammies when I get there. That day they were Mickey Mouse camouflage jammies and soon we were out the door, his camo boots and Green Bay Packer’s windbreaker slipped on for the quick trip.

It was a beautiful drive. A light spring snow had fallen the night before. The morning sun bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, melted some of the snow and sparkled the rest. Little man in his car seat made his cute little man noises. We arrived just after the store opened, which was perfect as I didn’t really want an audience.

I told the two employees who were working their morning chores what I came in for. One of them took me to the check stand to help. Little man and I talked to and petted the resident cat, Pickles. The transaction complete, the clerk said, “You are the customer of the month!” I replied, part in humility and part with humor, “It’s early in the month, there’s still time for someone else.” And I walked through those wide open glass doors as I had the day before and back to my car with no fanfare, no flying confetti, and no celebration. But there was a solidification in the feet of my soul that what I had just done was right in the eyes of the One in Whom I live and breathe and have my being.

The whole of the experience was a good and needed reminder of the quiet power of the Kingdom. His ways are not ours. His Truth often muddled as we are caught up in the everyday life of this crazy world. It never ceases to amaze me how small and still His voice can be; so easy to drown out in this culture of loud and busy. He can surely be unrelenting but never forceful – as a rebel who loves her freedom, this is a beautiful grace.

a beautiful grace

I am a storyteller; I write to remind myself and others of the beauty and hope in the often ugly and hopeless world in which we live. I did not write this for kudos. Nor did I go back to pay the difference for the sake of karma or a religious scorekeeping game, hoping to get something from Him in return for what I gave.

In fact, as I add up the cost it took to free me from all I was once enslaved to, I’m convinced $13.50 is just a drop in the bucket.

Risk Love, Live Brave & Listen,



  1. I dearly love the woman who wrote this beautiful piece. I am so very grateful that God crossed our paths through blogland 4 years ago. She has muddled through my journey with me, ever present, (though many miles away), always encouraging. She’s the real deal! Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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