I have to share this, because God was working in me today – big time. So much so that I was feeling so wonderfully emotional I think I was crying for joy all the way home from town (approx 15 miles). I’m rather introverted, which is why what I did was a big step outside of my comfort zone. God was telling me what to do, and I did it, for once.
I was sitting outside at St. Louis Bread Co., and a lady at a nearby table was talking to her friend about her marital problems and a church that has some people that apparently are….well, making God frown and Satan smile. All I know is that her husband says things like, “It’s a good day when you’re not at home.” They go to counseling. Her finances keep her from divorcing him, I think.
She attends church occasionally, but feels like she and divorced or single moms are sort of segregated from the others, because the “normal” families all sit on the opposite side. She saw neighbors there that talk to her outside at home, but at church, they ignore her. Sad. She needs love, not judgement.
I was trying to add to my grocery list and concentrate on a few devotional entries from this little magazine I get from InTouch Ministries. The conversation kept distracting me, because I thought about how this lady needed a supportive, accepting, loving church family. The right message. It sounded like her church was a certain denominational one, some people of that denomination think they are superior, that kind of thing. I know that many churches fail to clearly convey the message of unconditional love that God has for us, a love so great that He offers us forgiveness of our sin through the death of His Son on the cross. A salvation offered not through works, but through placing our trust and our lives in Jesus Christ. It’s all about trust and a love beyond human comprehension. She hasn’t been getting that from her current church family.
I thought, “This woman needs a church like mine – like Metro.” I don’t know what the other one teaches, but we share Biblical truth, love, and acceptance. It’s real and it’s relevant to our daily lives. And it’s large enough that people can check it out without being noticed as a first-timer.
Stop there, Julie, this is not an advertisement for my church. I think you get the picture. Bottom line, this unfortunate woman needs to feel love and acceptance, not people judging her. So I scribbled down the name, website, location, service times, and some notes about Metro. Maybe I should have included my phone number.
I don’t have to stand and talk to her, just give her the note. I feel God is telling me to do this. If I walk away, I’m allowing my own weaknesses to ignore her need. Whether or not she comes to Metro, she should feel the love of God through a Christian reaching out to her.
Her friend goes inside, I’m done with a late breakfast, she is still waiting for the friend, I go inside and put away my tray. Back outside I slurp my last drops of iced tea, throw it in the trash can, and hover by it, note in hand. I quietly exhale a couple times. Is she going to think I was eavesdropping? That I’m some kind of weird religious freak? Who cares? She doesn’t know me. And love transcends self-consciousness, or at least it should.
God, help me out here. Be strong and courageous, right, like you told Joshua? Okay. Let’s do it.
I walk over and say, “Hi, it sounds like you can use a different church.” I hand her the note and…oh, what exactly did I say? This was at 10:30 this morning. I told her that I had never gone to church before Metro, I went to one service, I was hooked, and I became a Christian. She thanked me. I walked away. Crying by the time I got to my car. Now.
After other times when I felt a prompt and ignored it, I finally just trusted God and enabled Him to push me to do something completely opposite of my introverted personality.
I know I’ll be looking for this lady at church tomorrow. Three services, she had sunglasses on, I’ll probably never know if she comes to my church. All I can do is pray for her. I’ll pray for me, too, for other opportunities to reach out instead of staying in my bubble.
God helped me, and He can help you, to do what is outside of your comfort zone.