Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking A Moment To Smile

"Good Morning!" I smiled broadly at the teenage girl taking my money at the McDonald's drive-thru window. She glanced briefly at me and said "good morning" without a trace of emotion. I kept smiling. "Is it?" I asked her. "Is it a good morning for you?" Finally she smiled and turned to look at me. "Yes. It's ok." Her countenance had brightened a little as she realized that I truly cared about her feelings. I suppose she is use to people passing by her window without a thought for her. Some speak to her, but then pass on quickly. She must see no reason to put forth any effort in engaging in any sort of exchange with them. Like a little robot she tells them what they owe, they pay her, and she says, "Have a good day." In her head she's thinking, "This is a recording."

I had her attention now, and I decided that with no one in line behind me I would try to let her know she meant something to me.

"It's a beautiful day, and you have a great place at your job to enjoy it by standing here at your window. Have you been busy this morning?"

Her smile continued as she began to tell me that she had been busy and that she really enjoyed her job, that she worked with a lot of nice people. Our conversation was less than a minute, and then I moved on.

"I sure hope you enjoy your day." I quipped. "See ya later." And off I drove.

As I headed down the road to meet with some friends I had a smile in my heart. It wasn't much, no big deal, but because I took the time to stop for less than one minute this young lady has reminded herself that she likes her job, she has something to smile about, she has good friends at work, and someone stopped to say "Hi" to her. I imagine it was just a little break in her monotonous morning. But, with the nudge of the Holy Spirit, I started it. That really felt good.

The overwhelming gratefulness that washed over me was so fulfilling. So often I lament the fact of being too old and too infirm; too old and too infirm to get a job. I am in the Social Security days of my life. I've been out there in the work force, but it's now time to sit back, and I wish I could go back. But today I realize that if I were working 8 to 5 again I wouldn't be out here spending time with friends, time to lead a Bible Study for those who haven't heard His Word and are so much less fortunate than I, to blog the stories of my childhood for my grandchildren, or to stop and say hello and give a smile to a teenage girl who needs a lift. No matter where I am in my life I have much to do for the glory of Christ. Right up until my very last breath I will honor Him with my best.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Friend Belinda

                                         MOTHER THERESA LIVES ON

                                                                      Part One

God has put a most wonderful woman in my life. Allow me to introduce to you Belinda Parks, a mother of two boys, married to Will, a woman who yearns after God's own heart. Belinda has devotedly given her life to a ministry that God has called her for almost twenty years, a ministry to a people that she has come in contact with by choice and perseverance. She goes looking for them with love and determination. She has never waited for them to come to her.
I doubt that Belinda knows the meaning of wait. She is a fireball that never seems to find a place to stop burning, and I have witnessed over and over how her heart burns and aches with love for the people of Atlanta that have little, who struggle day to day for the needs and necessities of daily life. She reaches out to a people who have made wrong choices in their lives, or are victims of others' wrong choices. She finds a people who many of us never see, never touch, in fact, who are invisable to most of us because we rush through our padded lives thinking only of ourselves or our own. And if we did come in contact with them most of us turn our heads and pretent not to see. We are loathe to touch them, to smell them, and our hearts have been hardened by our selfish and prejudiced thoughts that are usually lies we tell ourselves so that we don't have to go near them. We are afraid of them. These are thoughts that almost never cross Belinda's mind because she sees them with the eyes of God, merciful, loving, as brothers and sisters, and most needy of His Word and forgiveness.

I heard my call from God one morning in worship after pastor had mentioned Belinda's need for helpers in her ministry. I had no clue as to what I could offer. I had been ill for years, so I was weak and out of shape physically. But, in my mind I knew that God's workers always need prayer and encouragement, and I knew that was something that I could do. God would do the rest.

I spoke with Belinda after the service and told her that I was willing to help, to pray, to make phone calls, whatever she thought I could do. Her response to me within weeks was to ask for my teaching skills on Wednesdays at one of the women's groups. I was excited that I could give this offering to them, and that I would get to know these women, enjoy watching their growth in God, and helping in ways that I never thought I would ever get to be a part of. I was going to get to do something I had always wanted to do, reach some that were less fortunate than I, bring them God's Word, and just love them. I was most thrilled that God chose to use me just when I had begun to think that I was beyond that now, too old, too infirm. He chose to use me! I had no clue that God was planning to not only use me but to change my life and even my basic beliefs by being with a most unbelievable woman,  Belinda Parks.

God has begun a work in me, to change me. When I prayed for God to make me a more loving person way back in 2009, He began preparing me little by little, by bringing verses to my attention, softening my heart in areas, and bringing me to a place where I knew even a change in churches was necessary for my spiritual growth. That change brought me to my meeting with a new family of worshippers, a new pastor who spoke to my heart in new ways, and then Belinda, the most loving woman I believe I have ever met. God is just so exciting!