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