I was shopping for a new dress. I made a speedy trek across the store to look for matching shoes, when I happened upon a lovely young woman with two children. I turned the corner only to find her son crouched down behind the counter in hopes of surprising his mother. He seemed quite shocked when it was me and I echoed “gotcha” right back. He laughed and fled to quickly find his mother.
This moms tender demeanor caught me off guard, as we exchanged smiles as if to say, it is okay that you spoke to my child. We all laughed again. I stopped long enough to step down and speak to her older infant. She appeared to be attentive, consistently reigning in the energy of a 4 year old. To the point that I kept an eye on the 10 month old while she caught up with her son.
We all tried on shoes. She somehow made it the register area before I did and made a small purchase. She smiled back at me as she headed out the door a couple transactions ahead of me. As I finished up, my phone rang and I stumbled through my purse in hopes of catching the call. Not to be, but God would prove purposeful in the delay.
As I pushed the door open, I was shocked to see the same precious woman in handcuffs. One officer was going through her vehicle and the other officer stood by her. She stood sobbing. I had to go right by her as my car was just feet away.
Our eyes met just as I was nearing my car from the sidewalk. I stood in shock as she explained that she is a single mom. I have never done anything like this. I have no family. I tried to get help from local agencies but I make too much money for assistance. My children needed shoes.
My heart was broken. She is a good mom. A caring, loving and conscientious mom. My heart felt in that moment the horror of being alone, desperate and having no idea what else to do. What is a mom to do? We continued to make eye contact. So with my hand raised to my heart, I quietly said….”God loves you….God loves you. He is near. It’s going to be okay.”
With her distraction, the officer turned around and gave me the “would you please mind your own business lady look?” I said once again, “God loves YOU!” She quietly moved her lips to say “thank you.”
I have no idea what her name is. How God was going to “work things out for good” Romans 8:28? What might become of her but I did know one thing. Her hope alone will come from our great God. He is faithful. Sure. Trustworthy. Able. The maker of miracles. The restorer of hearts. He loves her! And God spoke clearly to my heart in that moment that I was to speak to her with that confidence a message straight from the throne of God.
In every moment that God lays before us, we have two choices. Obedience or Disobedience.
What moments have I missed? When should I have been bolder? How often have I quenched the work that the Spirit of God wanted to do in my life or the life of another? When has my narrow view only included MY wants, needs, “to do” list?
Lord, help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and obey…..even when there were likely another pair of handcuffs to cuff me as well. Yikes! Thankfully, God took over quickly before I had too much time to analyze the situation. Have to admit that my knees were a little shaky when the seriousness of the encounter (opportunity for the Gospel) hit me.
On that day, I was reminded to listen, train, obey and run with aim & purpose.
I was just wondering if you will run with me? By making the most of every opportunity? By training spiritually with the intensity of an Olympic athlete’s perseverance, commitment, sacrifice and loyalty to the call to run?
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Onward to Jesus
“[Focused on the Goal]I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Phillipians 3:14