Friday, July 13, 2012

thin places

I have two moments I need to share (and record) here.  They're moments I don't want to forget.

They're those kinds of moments when I feel God.  A thin place between heaven and earth.  As if He's reaching down and placing His hand upon our shoulders and whispering, 'I'm here.  Please know that I'm here.'

They're moments that often bring me to tears.


Thin Place Number One:

On Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), we headed to a nearby Chili's restaurant to eat.  Our niece had recently started working there and we wanted to surprise her, so we popped in for a meal.

We took our seats in one of those made-for-large-parties booths that Chili's has.  Love those.  James was sitting in a high chair scooted up to the end of the table between JD and me.

He had been home a month or so and he was really into chatting up the public when we were out and about.

Who am I kidding?  He still does that.

There was a couple eating in a booth diagonally across the aisle from us.  They were smiling at James, and he was waving to them and saying, 'Hi!'  They were enamored and he was laying on the charm.  At one point, we exchanged niceties with them and the husband mentioned that he works at the International Mission Board (IMB).  They were so very warm and sweet in their demeanor toward James and all of us.  They congratulated us for adopting James and couldn't believe he'd been home such a short time.

We proceeded to order our spread of food: a sampler appetizer, tea and milk for drinks, four kids' meals, and two meals for us.

We had a great meal.  It was just one of those dinners out: we didn't have to take a child to the car as a consequence for acting out, the food was tasty, it was actually relaxing and there was even laughter to boot.  I don't even remember what we laughed about, but I remember us laughing with the kids.

As we were wrapping up, the couple got up to leave and nicely waved to us.  We smiled and wished them a nice evening.

A few minutes later, we asked our niece for our check.  She said, 'Sure!' and strolled off to get it.  She came back a few minutes later and said the couple had paid for our meal.

Y'all, it had to have been at least 70 dollars with the tip!  Which they included!

I immediately smacked my hand to my mouth and said, 'What?!  Noooooo!'  I was so uncomfortable.  I broke my neck looking for them and insisted that JD walk outside to see if he could catch them.

He returned and reported that they were gone.

Then came the tears.

Because I knew.  

I knew that they had just been used by Jesus' Himself.  They were His hands and feet right here on earth!  They were following a nudge from the Holy Spirit.  And it blessed us!

And the power of that blessing rippled through the restaurant.  Our kids were slightly startled by our (okay, my!) reaction (okay, my tears) and wanted to know what was wrong.  So we explained what happened.  They sat as children do with their mouths agape and eyes wide listening and asked why they would do such a thing.  We were happy to have them witness this gesture of love and care.

The coolest thing?

Our niece said she heard it through her headset.

"Table such-and-such just paid for table such-and-such."

This was heard by every Chili's employee there that night.

Which caused some of them to ask our niece why they paid our bill.

And she explained that they were touched by what God was doing in our family.



Thin Place Number Two:

This Monday, Payton, Jackson, Brooks, James and I were at Kroger picking up some groceries.  (Avery was at gymnastics).  James was in a social mood and smiled and said hello to a few folks as we passed in the aisles.

One man that he waved and spoke to was immediately drawn in.  You could just tell.  He had this sparkle in his eyes.  He leaned in and really took the time to lock eyes with James and speak to him.  And James was aglow.  I stood by with the cart stopped and watched their sweet, albeit 20-seconds-long, interaction.  It was tender.  The man sweetly paused to linger with James.

About 20 minutes later, I had finished checking out and our van was loaded.  The kids were all in and I was just climbing into the driver's seat when I heard someone say, 'Ma'am.  Ma'am!'  I turned and found this same man coming toward me with his grocery bag or two in his hands.

Slightly out of breath, he said, 'Ma'am, the Lord told me to pray a blessing over your son.  May I?'

Oh, the goosebumps.

While nodding, I said, 'Absolutely!' and waved him over.  He asked where James was, so I hit the button for the door next to James and it slid open revealing James to the man.

He laid his hand on the top of James' head and prayed.

There was such a part of me that wished I'd thought on my feet and gotten it on video or a photo of him and James (my phone was right in my purse!).  But later I thought that this is just one of those holy moments.  Let it be what it is.

These are the words that stuck:

He will do mighty things.

He will be a preacher or pastor. 

He will share Your Gospel all over the world.

He will be wise.


That was not what I was expecting from my usually mundane, ordinary, rote, shoot-me-now trip to Kroger.

Thank you, Lord, for showing Yourself to me.  And to our children.


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