I inhale deeply, taking in the perforating scent of freshly ground coffee beans, punctuated by the smells of cologne, hairspray and someones perfume from behind me.
They aren’t entirely unpleasant smells, but they are sharp; contrasting the warmth of the traditional coffee smell, rich and deep.
A city of cobwebs and wires span across the ceiling, below it, the people bustle.
Behind the words and name-calling of the coffee shop, I can hear music playing, softly, rhythmically, in the background; floating above us..
This place is filled with culture and stories: the girl meeting with her mentors, the young couple stealing kisses while in the que, the loner, the old man with his newspaper and quiet observance.
The couple by the widow in sincere topic, the young men in debate over their bibles.
The boy whose head just brushes the top of the doorway. The beautiful girl in glasses who looks like she walked out of a novel… the barista hugging her mom, both nearly in tears.
The middle aged couple whose eyes are twinkling like they carry the secret to happiness-the ones that you know have been together for a while.
All these faces, like road maps, each leading to an incredible story. People. fascinating, beautiful, people. So perfectly created in Abba’s design.
No wonder God delights so much in us, have you ever stopped to watch your own kind?
I mean, think about it, seven. billion. people. Each one perfectly and uniquely crafted by Father God. Each with a purpose and each with a story.
How many hundreds of people do we interact with each day? How many of those people do we have the opportunity to affect for the better each day?
A kind word, a quiet smile. And perhaps that ispart of out purpose; to simply interact with love to people… maybe the greatest ministry a person can have is the ministry of kindness.
Kindness overcomes boarders and language barriers. It crosses mountains and seas, affecting lives with a potential we could never realize.
I think this was a best articulated by the great Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Greek at Corinth in what would become one of his most famous letters, saying:
“Though I speak with the tongues and understanding of men and angels, but have not love to others,, I become as an annoying sound. If I have the great faith that moves mountains, but don’t extend love, then I become nothing; to not have love does me no merit at all.
“Love is what endures with patience and serenity. Love is kindness and thoughtfulness; it is not jealousy or envy. It is not boisterous or arrogant, it is not rude or self-seeking.
“Love does not take delight at injustice or wrong-doing, but rejoices when goodness and truth prevail.
“Love bears through all things, love believes for all things, remaining steadfast; Love endures all things with grace.
“Understanding and enlightenment will fade, languages will cease, yet still there will remain these three things: Faith, Hope and Love.
“But the greatest of these things is and will always be LOVE.”
- 1 Corinth 13.1-13 (paraphrased and abbreviated)
Sometimes we may not be able to do much, or donate much. not everyone has the opportunity to dig wells in Haiti, or donate to a foundation for homeless kids; but every single one of us has the opportunity to be kind.
We can let our words and small actions change a persons day, and it costs us little to nothing.
Take some time today to impact someone around you, a friend, a stranger, or maybe the overworked nurse at the hospital, with a little bit of kindness.
Who knows? It may be the very thing they need that day.
"I will trade them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for grief, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. that they may be trees of righteousness" Isaiah 61:3
I was extremely overwhelmed today, my heart was overflowing, and not really in the way I wanted it to. No, it was more in the way that drained me. So much so, that by the time I got to my music lesson, I was almost in tears.
I sat there in the parking lot, my mind trembling and my body shaking, “I can’t God, I just- I cant! Please, I can’t...” I called my music teacher, and explained that I was making a last minute cancellation (yes, I realize it was a low move.) and I just began to drive. I drove and drove, taking as many back roads as I could, letting the anxiety and stress be washed away by the tears that had begun to flow. I began to open my heart before my Abba Father, breaking down my desperation in his presence. And I felt him there, as I drove, it was as if he was sitting beside me, just quietly listening, not saying a word, and honestly, that was more frustrating.
“Turn”What? I felt the nudge again,“Turn” Okay! Okay! I’ll turn!
I found myself traveling up a small dirt road, nothing but the melting snow around me. “Stop” I did. “Okay God,” I said as I climbed out of the car, “I’m here, whatever that means.”
The little turns and nudges of the spirit had led me to a barn. Old and breaking down, lichen growing up its sides with the roof sagging. It was beautiful, in a rustic, sad sort of way.
I Pulled out my camera, (cuz yeah I am that person) snapping a few photos before turning to go back to the car, but I stopped again, it was like some type of irresistible curiosity had consumed me. So I climbed the fence, and headed over to where doors had once been.
Inside, it felt like a whole other world; sunlight had found its way in amongst the holes in the roof, and broken pieces of mirror shattered it into a million pieces… a mosaic of light upon the old walls. And for a moment, I forgot everything. I let myself be enveloped int the light, engaging in community with my maker. I began to be filled, overwhelmed again, but this time, by the presence of the Holy Spirit washing over me. My heart and soul began to overflow, and I could physically feel God.
Time stood still, and so did I; unable to move as I basked in a moment unlike any other I’ve ever had. I can’t tell you all that happened in that singularity, but when I stepped out of that old barn some two hours later, everything that I’d held inside me, the grief, frustration, exhaustion, anger and pain? It had all just been cleared away, now held by Jehovah-Rapha; the God who heals.
God met me. In the unlikeliest of places, in a spot only he could have appointed, a place where he knew my heart would be softened… In the old, broken barn, I found beauty. In a place full of shattered things, there was splendor.
How so this pictured my life, all the pieces that I counted broken and useless, that only hurt me to acknowledge, Abba was asking me to give to him, to let Him take them and create beauty from my brokenness; to create a masterpiece.
A wise woman once said “Where there is no lack, there is no need for the Spirit to move”* How right she is, for when I am weak, unable to do things in my own strength, then must I lean on my Savior, just as I was always meant to.
Take a moment to hear the heart of God, to understand what He is saying to you, to let Him meet you.
to let Him be the God who is, who was, and the God who will always be.
*quote can be found here