Her Heaven-Sent Vision Guided Her to The Perfect Blessed Gift

After struggling to find a gift for her sister’s wedding, she was divinely led to one of her grandmother’s keepsakes…

Posted in , Mar 25, 2021

Sheila and Kristen with their grandmother's photo; Photo courtesy: Sheila Poppen

God, what should I give Kristin? I prayed before going to bed. My sister’s wedding was two weeks away and I still hadn’t found the right gift. Kristin had been through a lot in the past couple years, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It felt crucial to bless her marriage with something special.

The question weighed on me as I got into bed next to my husband, Aaron. Eventually I drifted off. A sudden nudge jostled me awake. I looked over at Aaron, thinking it was him, but he was fast asleep. Then an image leaped to life in my mind. Clear and vivid. A star, a silhouette of a mother and a child, a stable atop a stereo console. Was that Grandma Hollatz’s Nativity set?

That would make a wonderful gift for Kristin! Of course, my grandfather may have gotten rid of it after my grandmother passed. And even if he still had it, where would I find it? I’d figure out a different solution in the morning. But just as my eyes fluttered shut again, I felt a stronger nudge—a jolt, as if to underscore the point. I sat up, startled but unafraid.

My thoughts flashed to my grandparents’ basement, down the stairs and around a corner to some old shelves. I was drawn to a spot on top. Grandma’s warm, familiar presence surrounded me. No words were spoken, but the message was clear. The Nativity set was for Kristin.

I went to sleep, my wedding gift problem divinely solved. It made perfect sense to pass along this inheritance from our grandma. She had lived with lupus her whole life, succumbing to the disease in 1997, at 64 years old. Through it all, her faith had never wavered.

When Kristin fell ill, we worried that she too might have the disease. Instead, tests showed an equally frightening diagnosis: Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During treatment, Kristin slipped into a coma; her fiancé broke off their engagement. It was devastating. Still, with the faith Grandma had instilled in us and our family’s support, my sister made it through.

Just a few weeks into her recovery, she met Tim. We advised her to be cautious—what bachelor takes on a sick girl with a wig and huge medical bills? But it didn’t take long for us to realize that he was the one. Now with this heaven-sent vision, it seemed their wedding had Grandma’s blessing as well.

The next morning, I excitedly called my mother. “I know exactly what to give Kristin,” I said. “Grandma’s Nativity set! I was led right to it in a vision.”

“I already bought them a gorgeous new set yesterday,” Mom said. “I can’t even remember what that old one looked like…. How do you know it wasn’t just a dream?”

My heart sank. My vision had felt so strong, but could Mom be right? Was it possible that it had just been my imagination? In any case, I didn’t want to complicate things so close to the wedding, so I dropped the matter and settled on a nice set of stemware for my sister.

A few weeks after the wedding, Mom and I went to visit Grandpa. After we said our hellos, curiosity got the better of me and I headed to the basement. I went down the stairs and around the corner. I reached up to the spot on the shelves, then carefully pulled down two Styrofoam boxes. I opened one and—

“Mom!” I shouted, running upstairs. “Look what I found!”

“Oh, Sheila,” Mom gasped.

“I know Grandma would want Kristin to have it. My vision…”

“No,” Mom said. “You found it. Kristin has one already. This set is for you.”

I felt strongly that it was for Kristin, but she did already have a set. And I had so few of Grandma’s keepsakes to remember her by. Reluctantly, I took home the Nativity set and carried the boxes inside. As I set them up high on a closet shelf, I noticed something on the side of one of the boxes. An inscription on the Styrofoam: Kristin. A flush came over me, and I was filled with the joy of certainty. My grandmother had indeed blessed Kristin—and me—with the perfect gift.

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