Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Jar Filled With Blessings

I am out doing a little shopping. Checking everything I need off my list. Just to make sure I didn't leave anything behind, I check it twice. Okay, I'm good to go now. I'm in search for a short and quick check out line. Little did I know what the Lord had planned in that twenty items or less lane.

Before I entered the store I sent a prayer up and asked God to move me. As I walked through the store I was bound and determined to have a great attitude. I gave a little lady a compliment on her cute bag. As soon as I told her how cute it was her eyes lit up with a smile. 

See, I'm understanding that when I shift my attitude away from my big O self, things change. I am more aware of my surroundings. I'm not in such a hurry. I suppose I could say that I am tired of going through the motions. I wanna do more than the norm. I want to experience the unexpected. 

So, here I am in line. I push my cart up and start placing my items on the conveyor belt. I notice the young woman in front of me. She has an adorable babe in the seat. I would guess he is around seven or eight months. All of a sudden I notice the cashier chuck the little gadget that separates everyone's items. Yes, I said, chuck! I picked it up nicely and sat it behind my items and shared with the little lady behind me, "Here ya go. Now you can start placing your items too". 

I turn back around and that's when I see the stern look on the cashier's face. She looks irritated and mean. I look again at the young woman. She is trying to remain focused on her baby. I loved that. My heart began to stir. I could feel the Spirit moving in me. I notice her items. Baby food and formula. This young woman is paying for her items with WIC. There is a check for each separate food. Fruits, vegetables, and her formula. Long ago you would have just one slip of paper, but I suppose there is a reason for doing it the way they are now. I could see the cashier getting more and more aggravated as she counted the items and checked them off the list.  

I could feel the unworthiness of the young woman in front of me. I could feel her shame. She was a young mother in need and here was a woman treating her as if she was just a disruption in her day. How do I know? I have been that young woman. That was me twenty-something years ago. A young momma, in need, and not wanting to ask for help, but with little alternatives. My heart was breaking. I could feel tears welling up. 

See, she wasn't unworthy. She was worthy. She shouldn't have been feeling shame. But isn't that exactly how we make others feel at times? Some how our time is always more important. This cashier could have been hurting. Maybe she woke to an extremely bad day. I've been there too. Have you? We wake and everything in life seems to be a mess. But friends, that doesn't give us an excuse to treat others without respect and kindness. 

The cashier picks up a jar of meat. She raises it and looks at the girl as if she was trying to steal a diamond ring. "What is this?", she asks. "This isn't paid for by WIC." The young mother quietly speaks, "I'm so sorry. Just set it aside." The cashier almost bellows, "Do you have money to pay for it?" The young woman shakes her head and replies, "I'm sorry. No, I don't. That's okay". The cashier tosses the food in a bin. She bags everything and hands the girl her receipt. The young mother looks at her and says, "Thank you. Have a nice day".

Now it was my turn. If I'm super honest I can tell you I wanted to grab a hold of that woman. But I remember..grace.Instead I look at her and say, "Could you please put that young woman's jar of baby food on my bill?" She looks at me as if she didn't hear me correctly. She says, "What? You wanna pay for HER food?" I smile and say, "Yes, I do and if you could hurry that would be wonderful. That way I can catch up to her." She starts to toss it in a bag and I say, "No, could you please put it in my hand?" I gather all my bags and as I pay I look at the cashier and with a smile I say, "I pray you have yourself a blessed day". 

I see the young momma pushing her baby in the cart. I am praying this entire time. "Lord, are You sure about this? It's just a jar of food. Are You sure?" I hear Him reply straight to my heart, "Yes, daughter. I'm sure." 

I catch up to her as she is pushing the cart up to her car. She sees me. I'm praying she isn't thinking I'm stalking her. I smile. I mean, doesn't a smile say so much? At this time before I even speak she sees the jar of food in my hand. Her hand goes to her heart and tears start to form in my eyes. I tell her, "I just wanted to make sure you had this jar of baby food." The tears begin to gush from this young momma. She tells me, "Oh, you didn't have to do this. How wonderful. Thank you so very much. I just don't know what to say." I reply in tears with, "I understand. I was once a young momma." By then, tears were streaming down both of our cheeks. 

As I pushed my cart away toward my truck, I could hear her talking to her baby. "Can you believe that? How sweet of that woman." I put my groceries in my truck and I can tell you that I go in, turned the air on and sat and cried. All those difficult moments of being a young mother came flooding back. Every moment I wanted to get something for my girls and couldn't. My heart was flooded with memories of struggle, but of sweet people helping us in every way they could. Oh, not everyone was nice. I had my share of stares when paying with food stamps or with WIC. 

It was just one jar of food. Something so very small. It's amazing what one jar of food can mean to a mother. This was a blessing not only for this young momma, but for me. My heart was overflowing with gratitude. But see, see what God can do with one jar of food? 

The thing is, the thing that makes it all worthwhile for me, is the fact that I asked God to move me. I opened my heart up to the Lord and asked Him to use me. He did. Through one tiny jar of food He blessed. 

But see, there's more. All those tears that flooded my afternoon were not just about one jar of food. It was then that I finally realized the impact of what can happen when I simply listen to the Lord. How many blessings have I allowed to pass by because I didn't move my feet? All the times the Lord asked me to move and I said, No. All the times I seen an opportunity and in my fear my feet stayed firm in my flip flops. 




Just going through the motions of every day. Not being aware of my surroundings. I have heard the Lord's whisper. I have heard His shouts. Instead of listening. Instead of moving. I did nothing. Oh, the shame I felt in that moment. But it was more than shame. In the conviction my heart felt it bled sorrow and regret. 

Later that evening after I arrived home I was blessed to share this story with a friend. I asked her that if the Spirit moved her to do so, would she please pray for this young momma and her baby. I didn't know her name. But the Lord does. He knows everything about her. In His perfect timing we connected. I ask that you too would lift this young mother and her precious babe in prayer. Prayer is mighty and wouldn't be amazing to see God move in this young woman's life through the loving prayers of others she has never met!

See, in the small moments that we think don't really matter at all, they matter a LOT to God. In the smallness of the moment He gives way for something MIGHTY to happen. He touches the heart. He knows the moment before we enter it. All He needs is for us to listen, to be aware, and to move. He needs willing vessels. It is through those vessels that the Spirit moves greatly. Lives our changed through small moments. 

As I was reading a book one day I came across these words that made an impact on my life. "If I must choose between what's easy or what will bring me closer to Him, I pray my choice will always be Him." I wrote them down on a card and sat it on my desk so that I could read them daily. I don't want to live with regret. I don't my fears to grow so big that I no longer see the endless opportunities that are full of possibilities for God's glory to shine bright through my life.    

I have walked through the stores filling my cart with every need and many wants. I can tell you that I am a truly blessed girl. But I too have been standing before the cashier with a food stamp card in my hand. You stand there knowing that others are questioning as to why you are paying with food stamps or WIC. There are some in our world that have never wanted for anything. Everything has always been in their reach. Others work hard, but life can be difficult. Circumstance happens and your left with trying to find your way through the aisle without being empty. Life can leave us feeling empty. No, let me rephrase that. People can leave us feeling empty. Friends, I don't want to ever let another feel empty. I want to be a giver. I want to move for my Jesus.

We can share the love of Jesus one jar at a time.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these." Mark 12:33-32

"Do not quench the Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:19


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