Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nobody wants happiness

How deep & wonderfully complex is the human heart? I really meditate on this a lot. I sat this morning in my dining room, sipping my favorite coffee; enjoying the beauty of yet another day offered to me. I think back on my life when times were awful and when times were so sweet; I close my eyes and drift away to relive them again.  I used to do this, coffee-morning-meditation more often as a person passionate to love and enjoy life & find meaning in resting in the present moment. Although my life was falling apart, I trusted life's grand plan would work all things out for my good. I was a really happy person. I was also a terribly miserable person. 

If you are anything like me, there is something in you that comes alive and is blissfully, "Well with your soul" listening to Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. (as I write, I'm drowning in bits of Heaven pouring into my soul...) Your heart might skip an almost frightening amount of times when you see the sunrise in an Arizona sky. Maybe you've danced in the warm Costa Rican rain in the middle of a thunderstorm, Glee-ing your own joyous moments to yourself with that Nik Day song,

"Tell me how could life get any better,
I feel like I could live like this forever,

The sky is such an interesting shade of blue,
& there isnt a thing that we've got to do.
No it doesn't matter near or far,
Cause Love is the same no matter where you are
Oh life is such an interesting thing to do...."

In every joyous moment,there is something( some thing) desperately aching inside of me to settle in, get cozy and make a warm cup of coffee and live there for the rest of my life. Everybody knows what I'm talking about; every human heart is conditioned for it. Some call it Truth, some call it happiness or peace, reality, consciousness, awakening (as a former New Ager, I guess it's also referred to as Enlightenment). All religions are desperately aware of the human desire to cultivate, protect, chase, become aware of "it". If you disagree, you're lying. I don't believe anyone believes in atheism, because they'd have to believe in that too. Oxymoron much? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not proclaiming a war on happiness. I've just realized we're marvelously human beings & painfully aware of it. (Recently, with the school shootings, how evil we as a species can become too) Then how wonderful we can be too, when we gather in the midst of tragedy and heart wrenching times. 

When I started to believe the Truth, about this one True God in Christ; I was horribly deceived that I could no longer be a human. I can't touch, see, or feel. I'm bad, I'm a sinner. Prone to wander from a Perfect-Too-Good-To-Be-True-God... who is selfish for my affections. I thought "Denying myself" meant denying being everything I am. Every bit of goodness and every miserable thing. Robot much? My heart became numb to every sensation of life. As God has been drawing my heart towards the world again, in Today, I've opened my heart to being human again. To just being completely aware of my crazy humanness. To the joy, to the pain, to the anger, to the frustrations. When I am presently aware of how happy I am reading an elegant, breathtaking piece of literature with a delicious glass of pinot noir in my hand.... it means I have to be undeniably aware of the emptiness I feel when it's over. So on we go, searching for the next love affair of our hearts; disappointed and discontent at every turn. I'll say it again, we are painfully and wonderfully human.  

             As I drank my coffee this morning, as its something I deeply enjoy doing, God whispered suggestive words to my heart that as lovely and wonderful as life is; We are not looking for happiness. All the tastefulness of this life are the shouts of a God far more satisfying than anything in the world can ever offer. I've come to the terms that I am not one of those Christian that believes, "Everything is bad." I tried that . No trabajo. (Spanglish for," It didnt work")
I still believe we have a holy God, whom we were entirely made to enjoy Him, Love Him and be Loved by Him
I believe Jesus has invited us into the greatest love affair we will ever be offered; because when we confess, if you will by now, that we are aching for meaning and ultimately something more than our friends, spouses, good food or sex offers. We realize what we really want is complete  acceptance & we can only achieve this by means of being accepted for who we are. Dirty faces, & unclean hands. No one will ever perfectly accept us, we stand in the face of criticism & judgment every day. White/black/brown/tattoos/degree/CEO/Janitor/piercings/fat/skinny/disabilities/rich/poor. We don't want happiness. We want acceptance & freedom & we can't be accepted without needing to be forgiven for something. God is, in Him alone, big fat "Welcome" mat to settle into that cozy house we all dream about. I've heard some preachers say things like this about what, Jesus said when he said, " I am The Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
We all tend to think its all about Heaven and who goes to Hell. But Jesus didn't say that, He said, "No one comes to the Father" in essence, the Fathers house. The Fathers Love. The Fathers unfailing acceptance and forgiveness. God didn't just look down on us & leave us to our happily miserable selves content with fleeting pleasure, as C.S. Lewis said,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

He came for us, confessing our discontentment, to be a God who can be all the God we need Him to be (and so much better than we could ever dream up). I am realizing the joy's in life, worthy to be grateful for and enjoyed,but they are infinitely unsatisfying in comparison to the Love of Jesus. It's all pointing to God. & He came to be our cozy days, our rainbow, the Bach of our hearts, the intoxicating wine of our souls; & exceedingly, abundantly, incomparably all our minds can conceive or imagine & by this Love, I am continuously humbled, grateful and offering my life up to the Hands of all Joy and Life.

In my Fathers House, (there's always room for more)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Saviors Way: Road to Redemption

"A lot of times we reach out to Him and beg for help. Pray our wounds to be healed.. What we sometimes don't realize is we reach with one hand expecting help and with the other conceal our wounds because they hurt too much. Don't do half of the work, reach out with open arms and Let him touch you."-My Facebook post Sept 6, 2010

Last night I had a dream, about my ex boyfriend. Oh you know the one, that I was with for half of my life? That one.
Generally, if I have a dream about him. I wake up psycho-analyzing every reason why, "Do I still love him? Do I miss him? Do I wish we were back together? Oh you must still love him, that is pathetic....".... by the time I pull the covers from my head  I've taken my own heart and stomped, kicked, hissed, and torn it to a million pieces. 

But today was a little different. 

I wrote that previous quote right when I was real jacked up, when I was total crazy dying on the inside....but drawing near to this beautiful, real, intimacy with God in the midst of my brokenness. I remember God kindly asking me to remove my hand from my wound, and let Him touch it. Talk about raw pain, I'd just gotten dumped by my boyfriend of 8 years while  calling venues we were deciding to get married at. My world had literally crumbled in one single day. So you wanna go there? Jesus doesn't want a little bit of the pain, the beauty of His wonderful intimacy demands it all. & how I was recklessly abandoned to give up anything He asked to feel more of His wonderful presence!  So, heart broken and wide open, I let Him into my pain. I let Him comfort me. I remember intimate first nights with my Dad, I would be in bed just crying and crying and have no more of a prayer than," Jesus, just give me the peace to sleep tonight." Because sleeping alone, in a joke of a "bedroom" I found on Craigslist after sleeping next to Daniel every night for 5 years was unbearable to do, which is why I mostly drank myself to sleep before I found the Lord. But in my nightmare, I would cry to him and there be waves of indescribable peace washing me until I fell asleep; & I loved Him for that.
I loved Him for not needing anything out of me than all the brokenness I had to give. 

Psalm 147:3" He heals up the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Psalm 51:17 " The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O Lord, You will not despise.."

I've had really wonderful friends and family as I've been walking on this road of healing. But sometimes, I feel (as I should) no one really understands the way Jesus does. 
"Have you broken soul ties?"" Yes, I think like 18 times. "Are you still in contact w/him?" No, only when his girlfriends mom (who I happen to work with) last mentioned their trip to Spain.  "Do you wish you were back together?" No. Most days no. No. Then the inevitable:" Have you forgiven him?" I've realized forgiveness isn't just a one time decision to forgive the abandonment,forgive all of the horrible things he said about me, how I never really got an explanation other than a paraphrased," I missed out on partying and all of the single life, so now instead I think I wanna do that." Forgiveness, for me, means letting my life be redeemed in Christ. I don't know how long that will take, but I know it's finished already. Because Gods Word says, I am more than a conqueror in ALL things because of Christ.
But for a long time now, I've been tiptoeing around facing how I feel and feeling guilt- so I flee into more church work-fellowship- even in my alone time...You see God & I have this thing, we're not supposed to talk about "it",  cause I should be over "it" by now. What I didn't realize was somewhere along the way I put my hand over the very thing I came to Jesus for initially: a broken heart.

Its been about 2 years since this surrender to God and as I woke up this morning from that dream, the Lord said to me," Valerie, take your hand off of it. You don't need to know why or try to figure out how to fix it. Let me in with you."  I wrestled with it initially, well, all day honestly; until I was driving home. I began crying as soon as I hit the onramp home and took my hand off for a minute & He gently wrapped His arms around me the whole way home. Jesus says, "My sheep know My voice.." and I found myself promising to not "do half the work" anymore and walk this way with Him till its finished; whenever that is. (Phil 1:6)

My prayer is that anyone reading this, who's gone through what I am or chances are you will know someone eventually is, not that: You would pity them. The world throws pity parties, Godly people throw comfort parties (love one another, yes, pray for each other) Not that you would allow him/her to  wallow in disappointment, but that you would remind the despite it, there is hope eternal. I even dare say, Don't tell them, " God has a husband/wife for you." its true and awesome but first remind them instead, "At His right Hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Jesus is seated here) There is comfort in Christ & let me tell you, this doesn't always look pretty. It's messy, but there is a beautiful powerful nearness in our need for Jesus to be our strength and light in the wilderness of grief. Because although, I know God is all powerful and can do ANYTHING. I also know there is a Peace that comes with praising God through the pain. There is a hope that emerges in the, shadows of His wings, and joy in the Lap of the Father.  

I heard this saying once, that walking with Jesus is walking 
the Road to Redemption. To deliverance,to being rescued. I like that. I like it because its trusting in the process, in the signposts marked," The Saviors Way--->Keep going!" So as I'm writing now, I'm encouraged in my heart. Because I know this road leads me to more of Jesus. 

Paul said it this way about some of Jesus' disciples felt, he said they were," Sorrowful...yet rejoicing." Yeah. I really like that.

.....Yet rejoicing



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pick up your mat and walk!

I love that with Jesus, we don't need to explain ourselves, he doesn't want to hear our pity party about our past. The way people have hurt us, disappointed us, or let us down. In fact, Jesus came to crash our beat downs, misunderstandings, complaining, excuse-making parties. It's not that He is apathetic towards our situations, the Lord cares for us and comforts us in all our troubles. It's only that He knows everything about our lives already 
Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand! Psalm 139 1-6

Have you ever felt paralyzed? We're afraid of screwing it up, of misunderstanding Him, of disappointing him? Or is it a little different: Have you been hurt & scared to move on? Maybe your life hasn't turned out the way you thought it would & someone let you down and you don't know what to do "next." Maybe you aren't feeling like a "good Christian" for some sin you've been hiding lately, that cannot be hidden by the way (Your Father knows you intimately, Psalm 139)
 No matter the reason, I wonder if we are like the guy in John 5

One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

I love Jesus, "When Jesus saw him and knew(he was aware of his situation and his past) he had been ill for a long time and yet he asked anyway, "Would you like to get well?" The man laying there had to have heard about this man Jesus! The miracles, signs and wonders! Yet he still replied, "I can't sir....someone else always gets there first." Thankfully the Lord didn't join the pity party, seriously, literally says in the verse before this, "All kinds of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed lay on the porches." Now, I know these people we're truly sick and hurting & the Lord had compassion and came to heal them but I feel like a few of them may have been content laying on that porch, pleading, " We have no one to put us in the pool." Yet to this man the Lord spoke to, He commanded him, " Stand up, pick up your mat, and WALK!" 
& He did. It says he was healed instantly, picked up his mat and began walking. Some people tried to stop him(like yourself or others try to stop you too) to which he replied," The man told me, pick up your mat and walk." I love that response!! This man, who had no faith, simply responds:" I was told to get up and walk, so I did." 
Is the Lord telling you to "Pick up your mat and walk"? Did we hear the Lord the first time when he told us:
Pick up your mat and walk, you are Forgiven

Pick up your mat and walk, you have been Redeemed
Pick up your mat and walk, you are made clean by My blood
Pick up your mat and walk, leave the past in the past.
Pick up your mat and walk, into forgiveness for others 

__You can fill in the blanks with whatever the Lord is ASKING you as he asked that man, if he WANTED to be healed? Do you want to be well?  Some of us, in a way, sometimes are telling the Lord we're content in it. Whatever is hindering us from being closer to Him by refusing to pick up that mat and walk with Him. But I think some of us are done being lame (pun intended) & realize, when the Son of God is standing before you asking if you want to be free..You  just pick up your mat and walk.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

You don't love God today.

"If you loved God, you'd do/say/act/feel_____!" If I had a dime for every time that voice snuck into my head! I won't even ask you, professing Christians (sarcasm), if you have ever had the same thoughts. If we all have the same God, there is surely one Liar!

Honestly, I could get drag this out and really get into how we are wired to, spiritually and culturally fill ourselves with junk , sex, alcohol, food, praises of men, vanity, but most of all: Love. We will do almost ANYTHING to get it, from objectifying ourselves, buying more and more, chasing success and ambitions; But I'll save that for another time.

You don't love God today. Come on, you know it's true!
You probably didn't get up and pray for your "devo" time, and if you did, you might have rushed it cause you were just way too tired (you may or may not have stayed up too late last night twittergrammin' somethin) OR how about when you were not-so-patient-&-kind (Hello 1 Corinth 13, you can't even get the first two down!!) OR how about because its the holidays and you work grocery at one of the busiest "I LOVE TRADER JOE'S!!!" retail chains and all you did all day was complain about _____ . 

Yikes!! You are pretty much the worst "Christian" ever. Yes, you kind of fail at it, so, you must not love God. I know some of you may have some words to throw at me here and tell me how I should and shouldn't be doing all of those things, BUT, hear me out. I completely agree....

Our God, our Father, is HOLY and PERFECT, JUST & RIGHTEOUS & Jesus said it Himself "Only God is good!" Mk 10:18. God has said it a few times in His word, "There are none who seek me, none who do good, all have turned away." Now this isn't going to be a message about beating you down into humility; my aim is for you to be reminded that we're all in the same boat here & if you are truly a person who has been born again, you'll know it was the goodness of God that led you to repentance (changing your mind about Him/sin)

When I began to seek God out, God through this man Jesus Christ mind you ; My mom charged me with this, "He is calling you by NAME. " I'm still pretty intimidated by that, not in a bad way, but in a holy reverant...-The-God-Of-The-Universe-Knows-My-Name kinda way. When you realize the Maker of Heaven & Earth is calling you to follow Him, you may unknowingly finding yourself wrestling with thinkin you have to earn this in some way.
Yes, you are undeserving, but God is perfect in all HE does. Do you BELIEVE that? When He said, unto HIS glory(lest you boast about how you are closer to God more than the next person because you outreach minister more....), that you have been saved by GRACE alone (By His perfect, wonderful, mercy) He didn't stop there though, since God is just He had to make sure you, whom He is calling by name, were fully justified (made right) to Himself so He came to earth to do it perfectly for you. We sing,"Nothin but the blood" but lets not forget Jesus was perfectly obedient to the Father unto death for our sake! Is anybody else feelin me? Why the more and more I know the Cross, the more and more I claim to know nothing else but Christ crucified? Why the more I know I can trust the God of all creation, when I can relate to John in 1 John 4:16 when he whispers along with the Church, "We know how much God loves us, & so we put our trust in His Love."
Why, when I get up in the morning, I don't drag my feet into pray to God as if my Father hasn't been watching over every detail of my life BY HIS GRACE alone. Because, its all grace, in case you didn't get it by now. We cannot put our trust and hope in ourselves, for we have proven ourselves not so great at it, we come to the Cross and put our faith in His finished work & we rest & humbled by our God. He served us when we refused to serve Him. Now, knowing this, how can we not be drawn- adoring and madly loving a God like ours? We can't, at all, being so enlightened by Grace believe our love for God is dependant on His love for us. So now, we love Him, we rely on Him, we say no to the things that don't please Him, we repent remember Christ at our defense,  & our humility doesn't require thinking less of ourselves,but rather meditating so much on Jesus.

Loving God, only
Because He has FIRST loved me,
Bc He lifts my head, tore the veil, & draws me with loving kindness,


p.s. If you see someone strugglin with this, please, please, for the love of all that is good in the Gospel..Dont give them more things to do, Remember, " The letter(law) brings death, but the Spirit brings life." Tell them about the One who did what they couldn't & how He loves them!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

John Sparrow

"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:16-17

I know its been a while, but I knew what was put on my heart shortly after meeting John (I'll explain the made up alias). 
It was the usual, same kind of boring Tuesday at work. Just filled up my favorite coffee dog cup & was finishing up writing an order for someone who had forgotten to before their day off. I stroll past the sample station and my attention immediately pulls me to the conversation ( I wasn't TRYING to be nosey, really) Once I stop and sort of creep around a bit, my eyes settle on a young guy, around 24-ish, shaved head, over-sized T shirt, blue jeans, striking blue eyes. Then I notice the dirt, I notice the cuts, I notice the look of shame & the unconvincing effort to make up a story about "His father and him staying in a hotel room, needing very simple things to cook: No stove or such things." (Which very well could be partially true) 
But as he spoke to Sharon, slipping a sample into his mouth, then another...then another....then another; I realize with every bite this is not the entirety of the matter. He slowly backs himself out of the conversation and slips into the sunshine of Carmel Mountain. As I watched him go, I made an escape into the back room and sighed in heart-wrenching helplessness. As I start to tear up, Sharon follows me back, "Hey, are you okay? Whats wrong?"
I'm almost speechless. "Did you get his name?" "Huh???Who?" "The guy, the guy you were just talking to." "Oh, no, why?"...I tried to explain, but why bother? His hunger was beyond obvious, I just smiled and walked off.

I walked back to my stack of beer, but I couldn't shake those eyes from my mind. Lord, I have seen/spent time with/prayed with plenty of "keyless" as my old boss JB would call them & it's been a long time since I have seen and almost felt how hungry that man was. As the tears started flowing from my eyes,  I self admitted myself to one of my 10 minute breaks. 

I wandered back to the artists den, where a wonderful and beautiful Jesus lovin lady named Bree gets her art on and I plopped and cried. I told her everything I saw. Like a woman of faith, she simply replies, " How much more valuable is he..." is all I hear. Yeah, yeah, than a sparrow. I know this one.... But that's not enough. All I wanted to do was feed him, why did it have to be at a time when I couldn't possibly do anything? To make his belly as full and happy as those eyes may have been once. Then come all my other, Why?....why.....WHY?'s & I cry out to God silently as I sit there. Then I pray for him, all I can do is, pray. I pray that John would come across a stranger sometime very soon after, who would reach out-look into him- and do what I was unable to do; I practically command it in desperation. 

Believer, not a believer, whatever. Lord, send ANYONE to feed him. Bless him. Show him he's loved and yes, much much more valuable than Your sparrows. 

Knowing He WILL wipe away EVERY tear,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jenny: Hippie Pilgrims

 Jenny: Hippie Pilgrims 

So I've recently discovered how much cheaper iced coffee is at Starbucks vs. Vanilla-froo-froo whatchamacallits are (sweetened w/milk for only two whole dollars & fifty cents cheap!). So being an 80 degree kinda day in beautiful San Diego, I decided to read a book and grab a cold one before work today. Since God has been revealing  I am called to be an awesome big toe instead of an arm, nose, or whatever other body part I was trying to be (Cool fact my friend pointed out as I was celebrating big toes everywhere: The body would fall over w/out the big toe! It's for balance!); I've quite enjoyed resting in Him for EVERYTHING and as He has put it, "Finally now we can get YOUR work done." 

Still stuck in some bad habits, I walked into the Starbeezy right next to my house and my brain was immediately taken captive buy the Impulse-Buy-Ninja-Attention-Stealers lined up screaming, "Buy me!"  as I am waiting in line. 
Nope, still to expensive... I glance up for a second and my eyes meet with a hippie looking brown skinned girl. There's about a .7 second awkward stare before she cracks and smiles first. 
Maybe she's my stranger....Eh, probably not .
What? I only had about 40 mins to squeeze in some good reading time outside!!(God's working in my life, I swear...)

I get my coffee and head outside to find a nice quiet table to sit, read, and pray at. A random guy comes and plops at the next table with a mini poodle, (no kind of dog a man should have on his leash IMO)...but that's neither here nor there...Is HE my stranger? I steal a glance & of course he looks up at the same time & proceeds to smile.....mmmm, Yeah, nope God. (I pray that God blesses him anyway)
I can't get my mind off the hippie girl inside. She was gettin her study on, seemingly, I don't want to interrupt that w/some random "Sooo like, I do this thing...." shenanigan I decided to start doing. (Yes, this is me making excuses). Fast forward ten minutes later & I find myself inside spinning my heel in front of her as I started to walk outside. As she pulls her earbuds out, I give her my spiel "So you', my stranger. " (Not my finest," I'll pray for you moment") She's a little confused at first & I can't figure out whether or not she thinks I am crazy till she blurts out, " Wow!! Really?! I feel like, so lucky!!" She starts telling me how "My sister does this sorta stuff w/her church..."  and her long wonderfully thin black hair trails down the front of her shirt merging into 3 different colors: Blue, purple, & pink. So, pretty!!  I'm listening again. Can I sit down?
"Whats your name again?"Ahh, so can I pray for  you about.....anything?
"I'm terrified actually." She looks realllly stressed suddenly. "You can pray for that." About what?
"I start school in the fall, San Luis Obispo..." We make small talk as she shares her fear of loneliness, failing, & all that  other stuff you are terrified of when you are suddenly "on your own". Unlike my friend Bobby, I instantly know what to pray for. Friends. Support. Community. I ask for her hand and ask God for all these things plus a few extra like "Grace for school work load"
After we're done, we hug and say goodbye & she thanks me again for choosing her (I protest how I didn't of course) & I silently pray again as I walk away, really reallllly praying God would bless her with some friends there in her new world to come cause they truly are a part of Gods grace for us as we search, long, hurt, and grow on this journey. Again, I sense that familiar feeling of peace & total joy as I walk to my car. I wonder how much I missed being trapped as an arm, probably in a sling I'd guess. That doesn't matter, I hear a whisper of reassurance, but I ask to be forgiven anyway.
It matters that I responded today. That I saw the good works He prepared for me Today.  
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
& I feel glad. Glad He opened my eyes. Glad I met Jenny. & I prayed again. I prayed for that beautiful blue, purple & pink hair. 

Face first into Good works

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bobby : Chronicles of the Pilgrims

Chronicles of Pilgrims 

I sat in the sauna at 24 hour fitness last Wednesday afternoon, quietly immersed in thought over a new book I picked up recently called Praying For Strangers by an amazing author named River Jordan. This book, breathed a fresh air into me, that I've been praying about for a few months. I've felt the gifts I have too insignificant, lacking crazy holy fire kinda passion. I love talking to people. I loved it more when I was a non-believer & have wondered where my place in the Kingdom lies & how/if this gift can be glorifying to God.

The book is literally the simple concept & story of a woman who was  lead by God to pray for a stranger a day; a resolution she sort of fell into. As I have been reading this book, Gods expanding my mind again & pulling on my heart about the power of Love between strangers (who, really, are not really strangers) One word that comes to mind instead, is a pilgrim (a foreigner, travelling wanderer). Realizing, we are all wanderers; looking for a home. I've made the best of friends with these pilgrims (as one myself!) through smiles, through a genuine "Thank you" or a simple conversation while waiting in line at Starbucks. I've asked God again and again as I've wondered what my part is here; how I can do it for His glory. I've battled and battled to figure it out; leaving me useless & sidelined instead.
Until Bobby.

I resolved I would pray for a stranger a day too & wondered what God could show me through something seemingly so simple. Truthfully, I hadn't been seeking out a "person" who pulled on my heart for well over a week after I bought the book. As I was sitting in the sauna & selfishly checking out of life for a moment, a voice piped out of nowhere breaking that awkward-sauna-silence, " Whatcha readin over there eh?" I looked up to see a slightly overweight middle aged man, sweaty, and inquisitive about my book. It was him. My stranger. 

I kept that part to myself and vowed to listen and be invested in our conversation w/out an agenda. 
I told him the premise of the book and we began to make small talk from our love of great literature, to how we both came about living in San Diego, to how he knew angels had been following him & watching over him his entire life. I don't quite remember the exact story of his angel, but I told him that God has clearly never left him & then lovely awkward silence that followed a man who feels he may not be the best candidate of the care of the Creator of the universe... crept into the room. I know none of us are perfect, but I also know God made man in His likeness; clearly. So just before he walked out, I blurted, probably with a little too big of a smile, " So you're my stranger!" He looked stunned. (I mean, what did he expect?:) He was a perfectly good stranger to pray for! I asked him if he needed prayer for anything specific. Flustered still, he managed to mumble with a nervous laugh, " Um, well, um, I don't know! What do YOU think?" My thought was basically,for Heavens sake, you got nothin!? But I said, "Well then, I will just pray God brings lots of joy & laughter & protection to you &tonight, I will say an extra prayer just for you." He looked down & it was as if I could hear every thought in his heart. The undeserving thoughts of lowliness, the grateful thought of a simple idea that someone would," say a prayer for me?. We said our goodbyes and the room & all the other people in it suddenly faded back into my peripheral. I said to God, as my eyes welled with tears of thankfulness that God sets up divine appointments with fellow pilgrims of all race, gender, status, & background, that if this was my part; to love the wanderers the best I could, my answer is, " Help me be more aware &YES, Lord, I will."  & if they ask why I do it, I will say, "Because Jesus did it for me." "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10
Send me, I'll go, Isaiah 6:8