Monday, October 3, 2011

A Divine Meeting Place

Most people think of a "divine" meeting place as a holy, hallowed hall.  Perhaps a sanctuary of an elegantly designed architectural masterpiece comes to mind.  Maybe something from a picture book you looked at as a child is what you remember. I have been blessed to see some amazing sites in England and Scotland.  I have worshiped in some beautiful places here in the U.S.  I have had special times of communion and worship outside in nature.  You would think I would be expectant for God to meet me anywhere, but I must admit that His presence still humbles and surprises me.  This past week God met me in Subway in Swannanoa and subsequently my truck ride home.  Although I find this story a tad bit unusual and humorous, what I find even more intriguing is that in looking back through my blog I find that God met me in that SAME place back in 2008  So as I compare the two accounts/meetings I am awed again by God's love, His ability to meet us flawed, broken humans where we are and His still small voice that speaks to us IF we are willing to hear.

Allow me to recount my meeting.  This past Tues. after walking around Grovemont with Angie and the kids I decided to treat us all to Subway.  Angie volunteered to stay home with James and Jonathan.  The older three were very excited about going and placing their order.  I was even going to treat with cookies on this visit. So here we go to Subway....we arrive at a very busy lunch hour.  I allow my children to place their orders (which they did very well by the way) and then I ordered a combo for the littlest J's and a sub for Angie and myself (so 4 kids combos and 2 adult subs).  The line behind me was ever-growing.  I could feel the tension in the air.  However, I was "pleased as punch" that my kids were doing so well and even a family of seven has the right to eat at Subway, huh????!!!  Upon arrival at the cash register, confirming the order, adding the cookies I realized....NO WALLET!!!  YIKES.  At this point the angry woman next to me could have killed me with her stare.  Joseph begin to "flip out".  JoyAnn went to the truck to look for my wallet.  I said OUT LOUD "I love having five kids".  I was just about to flip out myself, when suddenly I experienced God's peace wash over me.  Come on....this really isn't a problem. They are sandwiches.  I calmly told the ladies behind the counter (who were VERY kind) that I had nothing to leave them as collateral, but that I would return shortly to settle up my tab.  The "angry" lady said something mean about "having to leave....could you PLEASE help me and just clear out her order".  I didn't let it get under my skin.  I got my kiddos into the car (actually had a teachable moment about what REALLY matters is eternal).  I shared with them how sad and embarrassed I was and lovingly reminded them to look for opportunities to serve others (i.e. ask Mom if I can carry anything, are you ok, etc.?).  Joseph had the MOST trouble dealing with it all.  He was quite agitated about finishing a song on the CD and "Where are the cookies?".  We made it home and I promptly let the kids out of the truck.  Angie met me in the driveway with my wallet and I pulled out of the driveway in quite a hurry.  ONCE AGAIN, God met me with a peace.  I prayed, cried and asked Him to show me something redeemable about this experience.  Well....He did!  I immediately began to think about how other people all over the world were having WORSE days than me.  I wondered about the people in the line behind me.  What were their stories?  I thought about the women behind the counter.  I am SO grateful that I don't have to work outside of the home.  Even though my kids drive me batty sometimes, I wouldn't miss a moment with them.  The Lord spoke to me and them ME.  I knew I was to extend grace to the ladies at Subway and to redeem this experience and make it about something/someone OTHER than myself.  I went to Ingles and bought a small, but beautiful potted flower arrangement.  I took it into the store and thanked them for their kindness, mercy and grace.  One of the ladies (Mary) said that she had noticed Joseph's growing sense of discomfort.  I talked of his autism and subsequent heightened anxiety.  She then recounted that her son also has autism and shared a VERY private story.  She began to cry.....I was already crying.  It was a beautiful moment where two mothers shared a private pain.  They were blown away at my display of thanks and I was blown away that God took a small, trivial, embarrassing, frustrating moment and turned in into something special, holy, divine and redeemable.  I will forever be grateful that He met me that day and that I felt His love for me.

Isn't God the coolest?  So....I wonder where God will meet me next.  Stay tuned....