She came into my workplace today, and her face was lit with a smile, ear to ear. She said, “Don’t go anywhere, I have something for you.” So I talked with her husband and waited for her to come back. Many people I know would shun these people. And I need to make a confession: I used to as well.
These people are the very definition of the Un-Lovely. Very poor, mostly uneducated, sometimes dirty, and the husband is annoying on a good day. And yet they were the ones who talked with me every single week since Mr. Wonderful lost his job. They were the ones who came to see me every week, and said they were praying for us, and our kids. Gradually, over the past several months, God has been working in their hearts and in mine, to bring us to this common ground; somewhere my former self would never have ventured.
“A present for you!” she beamed, “It’s for you and your family.” The package was wrapped beautifully in gold with a green bow, and in a bag with an angel on it. Four candy canes were taped to the package. “Open it at home tonight,” she said, and then gave me the biggest hug.
It reminded me of Pastor Tricia’s sermon on Sunday, where wealthy people of Brazil did not pull away from the embrace of a poor woman who’d been baptized, didn’t cringe at the lice in her hair. They just loved her with Jesus’ love.
And then this woman smiled so brightly, her front teeth missing, and said something I had no idea anyone would ever say about me. She said, “You are my angel. It was almost a year ago when my mom was sick. I told you about it, and you were so concerned. I walked out of your work that day with such a smile on my face. To know you cared… you really cared meant so much to me. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. You are definitely my angel, Jenny.”
“I was just being nice,” I thought. Except….. except that I remember that day, and the Lord spoke to my heart and asked me to reach out to these people. I obeyed, maybe slightly begrudgingly at first, and then with gusto as time went on. What a blessing these people are to me now, since Mr. Wonderful’s job loss and our move this summer. They see me weekly, and tell me how good it is to see my face, and ask how the kids are doing in school. They pray for me. THEY PRAY FOR MY FAMILY.
They don’t judge me, the way I had judged them for so long. She told me, “I see Jesus’ love in everything you say and do.”
And then I just have to fall on my knees and thank the Lord for showing up and showing off. Because if anyone ever saw the real me, they would NOT say that they see Jesus’ in everything I say and do. I struggle all the time. I am the least patient person I know. I try to be nice, and kind, and generous, and giving and I fail, fail, FAIL FAIL FAIL.
But then I try again, because God asks me to, and because without Him, I have nothing.
I have been whining for weeks about different things. And then yesterday, Mr. Wonderful played a scene from “Facing the Giants”…. it was the part where the guy who prays for the kids in the school, took the Coach aside and said, “You are to bloom right where you’re planted.” That hit me between the eyes. God’s been telling me this for weeks and months, but I did not understand until last night, and now I do.
Now I know I need to make my best effort at LIVING, and blooming right here, in this so-so house, without Mr. Wonderful having a job. God wants me to stop waiting for things to be perfect for me to be happy. Just let the stress and crud go, and let my light shine brightly for Jesus, here and now. Because people are watching. And I know people read this who never make any comments. And if I was ever going to influence anyone in any way, I pray that it’s to show them how deep and wide and good is the Love of God, and that He’s waiting with open arms for you. FOR YOU.
God knows you have been hurting. God knows the troubles you have been through, the wrong things you have done, and the guilt you carry. He sees how you try so hard and yet it doesn’t seem good enough. God sees the triumphs in your life, and he sees the trials, and He loves you through all of them. He just loves you without condition. He doesn’t want anything, except for you to love Him back.
Maybe you’ve never been to church, or you’ve been to church and felt judged. But what God wants you to know is that He doesn’t desire religious orders of service, or fancy clothes or even for you to say exactly the right words in the right order. God just wants to know the honest feelings of your heart. God wants you to know that He loves you. He’s ready to forgive you. God wants to be your friend, and your Savior.
If you want to be a part of His family, maybe you’d like to pray this as you read:
I’m not a religious person, but I believe in you. I don’t have the answers, but I know You do, so from this point on, I want to rely on you. Please forgive me for the wrong things I’ve done. I surrender my life to you. Help me make Jesus my Lord and Savior. I accept your grace and peace, and I will follow you all the days of my life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you want to talk (not debate), you can click the link at the top of the page that says “Talk to Me”… or you can inbox me on Facebook.
God’s blessings on you.