Normally, I post the TOP ten things that I am thankful for of the week but this week is going to be a little different. I have had a few things happen to me this past week and I really want to remember them and I am so very thankful that they happened... so here it goes...
Last week I saw my husband off to minister to other men at North Alabama Men's Encounter. I feel so blessed to be his wife. He amazes me each day at how he goes after God. I am very, very proud of him and seeing him support those men and help free those men who were bound up and not able to walk in the fullness of Christ just literally overwhelmed my soul! He always comes back on fire for God and "upgraded" as a husband and a father!
I have a friend who I have been praying for her and her husband for over a year. I have wanted so badly for them to come to church with me. I have invited them more times than I can count and something always happened that we just couldn't get it together. I have prayed that the Lord would work this out! Well, He did! My two sweet friends recommitted their lives to Christ yesterday and will be sitting beside ME in church on Sunday! Glory To God!
Last night the boys wanted waffles and so Kobe decided we had to go to the Waffle House. Yes, I know it is not very clean but it is very good so off we went. In the middle of our drive Kobe reminded me that the high school pep rally for the playoffs was in just a few minutes. I asked the boys if they would like to go and they both said YES. We turned around and headed back towards the high school. We enjoyed time together at the pep rally and when it was all over I headed home. I decided while there that we would go home and make grilled cheese sandwiches and call it a night. The boys just wouldn't have it so I went to Waffle House. We met our waitress and I could tell she was having a rough night. I decided right then we were going to be the BEST customers she had ever had. We talked with her and used our very best manners and complimented her. A few minutes later there were dishes being thrown around and yelling between two of the other employees and I felt a little scared. Their anger immediately turned from on each other and they both directed it at our waitress. They talked so hateful to her and treated her so ugly that it was upsetting to me. She laid some to go plates on the counter and the other girl came up and pushed them off in the floor. I was so ashamed at this other girl's behavior. I wanted to bring the momma out of me and give her a good talkin' to! But, as I sat there and watched this poor girl get talked about LOUDLY in front of the customers, talked to like she was a dog, and treated horribly...I couldn't help but feel so proud of her. She never once came down to their level. She continued to show respect and love and kindness to the other two employees...and to us. We could have been easy targets for her because she didn't know us and she didn't ever have to see us again but she CHOSE to act in love. Which really stirred it up in me to act in love. When I first met her and she introduced herself to us I heard a very distinct voice whispering to my heart to bless this woman in ALL ways. I knew that I was there at this particular Waffle House for a particular reason at this very specific time. I watched this girl be reduced to tears and then the "manager" (he was very POOR manager material) demanded that she clean up a mess that the other waitress made. The mess, in my opinion, was made intentionally and I really felt like they were just out to get this poor girl. At this moment she decided to stand up for herself. She told them (very calmly and nicely) that she didn't mind helping but she didn't feel that the other waitress was busy enough (and they weren't!) to warrant her not at least helping clean the mess she made. The "manager" didn't like that so he told her to get off of his clock. She began sobbing. She went to the back, where I figured she was going to get cleaning supplies, and came back out with her coat on and refilled my coffee and told me to have a great night. I asked her if she was leaving and she said yes. I asked her to please allow me to pay so that I could lave her a tip (I told you previously that the Lord was really pressing it on me to bless her). She agreed so we went to the cash register and when she gave me my total I handed her my debit card. She said that she wouldn't be able to get her tip because I was paying with a card and they don't "cash" them out until the end of their shift. She asked me not to leave one at all because if I did the other two would split whatever I left. I just couldn't leave this alone. I asked her what direction she was headed. I was planning on stopping at an ATM an giving her some money. I had NO cash (note to self of the importance of always having a little bit of cash on you). I told her I really wanted to give her a tip. She said, "Well, if you are wanting to do something for me then you could give me a ride home". Well, for those of you who KNOW me you know that I am paranoid and nervous and that this just isn't something that I do. I felt bad to tell her no. So ... I didn't. Without so much as a moment's hesitation I said... OK, where are you headed? She told me where she lived...which wasn't all that far but not in that great of a neighborhood. I had my children with me and I was concerned for safety reasons but I really feel that the Lord placed me there to help this girl. So, we all piled in and buckled and started down the highway. She looked out the window and I began talking to her telling her that I was proud of her for handling herself with such class instead of being reduced to behavior like her former coworkers and I noticed she wouldn't look at me. I really got nervous. I began PRAYING for safety and I told the Lord that I KNEW he had me there for a reason and a purpose and that I knew He would keep me and my children safe because we were about our Father's business. I knew that I would probably never get this very chance again so I boldly went for it... I just encouraged her and spoke to her about knowing Jesus. She told me she could tell I must be a Christian. I was happy to encourage her and witness to her but I still had it pressed on me to bless her financially...I don't have much but what I could I was willing to give. I felt let down because there are no banks located where this girl lived but as we turned I saw the bright green letters clear as day in the window of a store that said ATM. I pulled in and asked her if she minded me running in for a second. Of course she didn't. Now, I was being kind hearted...but I am NOT stupid... I did take my purse and keys inside. Back to the story... I got out what I felt led to and went back to the car. We talked a little more and she told me that I reminded her of her mom. I told her she reminded me of myself! She told me that she hated that she lost that job because she had three little boys. That broke my heart... because it wasn't that long ago that I was RIGHT where she was. I really began to speak life into her and it was easy because I knew what I WISHED someone could have told me when that was me. Single. Young. A mom. A crappy job. Daily struggling. Feeling of Failure. Worthlessness. Wondering if I would EVER get out of the hole I felt trapped in. I was able to tell her that it gets better! I was able to give her hope and shine some of Jesus' loving light in on a girl in a dark place in life. I felt like I was in the car with my younger self. It felt so good to be able to speak with this hurting girl. I will never forget her or her name or what she did for me. She blessed me in a way that I have never felt before in my life. I plan to check in on her from time to time if the Lord allows me to. When we pulled up in front of the housing unit she lived in she just sat there for a minute. I could tell she didn't want to get out and I didn't really want her to. As she went to get out I told her not to forget her tip and handed her the money. She cried then too. She stood in the doorway and just looked at me ...I was in a place where normally someone might feel scared, frightened, or uneasy about their surroundings...but luckily... all I felt was love. Love reciprocated from me to her and back again. I told her she was loved by a King and that He was her Heavenly Father and that she was His little princess. She stood there crying and telling me thank you for the ride and finally said "Well, Bye". She walked off. I would be lying if I didn't say I drove a little faster on the way out but as I did I had tears rolling down my face. I fixed my rear view mirror on my kids.I first thanked God for keeping us safe. Then I thanked Him for fixing my ears to hear what He was telling me to do. I thanked Him for pre-arranging that meeting. During those trying years that I overcame, I often wondered "WHY ME?". I wondered what I had done to deserve such a crappy deal. Last night, I found out. Unknown to me then, but surely known to me now, I would need those experiences for an assignment in my life that happened nearly ten years later. You see, if I had not gone through what that precious girl went through then I could not have ever known how to talk with her and witness to her and know exactly the right things to say. I truly feel like I was able to "go back in time" and tell my "younger self" some words of wisdom and encouragement. So, when times are tough and there seems to be no way...just remember that although it may seem hopeless or "dark"...the Lord has a purpose for each and every single phase in life you are put through. During the dark times... lean on the Lord and let Him do what He longs to do...love you. I give all the Glory to God !
Thank you Lord for blessing me through others this week!