Sunday, June 29, 2008

A God Moment

We have a Sunday morning routine: early morning church service, Sunday School, then a walk across the street to our favorite brunch spot. This morning after Sunday School I suggested to the children we try something different, skip our usual brunch and go somewhere else. Of all places, I had an inexplicable craving for Waffle House!

My husband was working, so we paged him to let him know our intended whereabouts in case he was able to breakaway and meet us.

As we entered the Waffle House a couple went in before us and took the last 4-top booth. I was completely annoyed because the only other open table was a 2-top, which they could have sat in rather than taking 'our' table. The children and I waited a long 10 minutes for another table to open up, then settled in for lunch just as Daddy was arriving.

As we were finishing our lunch I noticed an apparently homeless couple walking down the street just in front of the window we were seated in--it was KP! Last I heard from her (3 1/2 weeks ago) she was was back in jail facing a total of 7 drug-related felonies from two separate arrests. I knocked on the glass as she was walking by. She looked me in the eye, then quickly glanced away.

My husband and I debated the appropriate response. I wanted to run out after her. My loving, protective husband was (understandably) a bit leery of her sketchy-looking companion. KP & her friend paused at the corner of the restaurant, then started to walk away. I jumped up from the table, ran to the front door and called her name. She was at the far end of the parking lot. Her friend turned and acknowledged me, then slowly KP turned and made eye contact again.

As I walked toward her, she started taking steps in my direction. I asked her how she was doing, when she got out of jail, who bailed her out, where she was living. She did not look well. She looked haggard and tired--far older than her 18 years.
"Have you been using?" I asked.
"Please don't lie to me." I countered as I hugged her.
She said she had received my letter a few weeks ago in jail, but that she couldn't get a stamp to write back (yet she had a cell phone). She went on to tell me how all her friends are using (crack cocaine) and trying to get her to go back to her old haunts. She said she was trying to stay away, but finding it difficult to do.
After my experience with her, I was not sure how much of what she was telling me was true and how much was manipulation. I encouraged her to stand strong, reminded her that another arrest would be the end of the line for her, pleaded with her to be careful.
Then I felt the Holy Spirit take over--This is your moment. Be bold. Love her.
I hugged her again and with her companion standing 2 feet away said, "KP, I am praying for you. I am here when you are ready to get serious about getting out of bondage. This is not who you are. You do not have to live this life. You can be free. It is not by accident that we are here together this moment. I know God did this. He loves you and wants so much more for your life."
She softly said, "I know" through misty tears as she slowly moved out of my embrace.
I reminded her that she could always find me by contacting the children's home and she walked away.

I am not trying to be overly dramatic here...but there is absolutely no explanation for the love I have for that child but Christ. I am not normally this bold. Nor do I generally feel this drawn to people with her history. She is a mess: A 7-time suspected felon, crack addict, homeless young woman who almost certainly turns tricks to get her supply. By the world's standards, we have nothing in common. Standing in the Waffle House parking lot the outward contrast between the two of us was stark. Me in my suburban housewife Sunday best, she in her dirty, rumpled threads. Yet, because of the nature of the incredible God we serve we stood in a heartfelt embrace. I felt sincere, inexplicable love for this seemingly hopeless child. And in that moment I got a glimpse of the grace and mercy of God.

We are all, in our ways, addicts that return to our old haunts. We are harlots that trade the affection we should reserve only for God for cheap trinkets and short-term highs. Yet He leaves His seat to pursue us. In His pristine holiness He embraces us and whispers truth to us. He loves us in spite of ourselves.

I don't know what happens next for KP, I pray that she'll embrace the gift that was given to her on that cross 2000 years ago, but the lesson God taught me today--the small taste of
His love for the lost...I pray I will never, EVER forget that.

And as for the couple who greedily took 'our' 4-top. If we had been sitting there, we would have never seen KP. God is Sovereign and at work everywhere. To Him be the Glory!


Room for Grace said...

A God moment, I would say so.
Have you read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers? I know you said in another post you were taking a break from Christian Fiction, but wow, that's all I could think about as I read this story. The story (based on Hosea in the bible) is so similar, just a different setting.

Good for you for listening to the Holy Spirit. How amazing!

Jobie said...

Isn't it so God to place someone like KP in our lives to allow us the opportunity to choose whether or not to use what He has taught us!? I am soo thankful that you are attempting to be His hands and feet for this young woman! Although you haven't seen the harvest yet, rest assured that you have not only planted the seeds but you have cultivated the crop as well! My prayer is that the next post you make about KP is the a victorious report about her lifestyle change and her testimony about the delivering grace of God.
I have read your blog for several weeks and truly enjoy the honesty of your posts. You make me think about my own life and the reactions I have to those around me, but most importantly my response to God. I truly want to be more like Him and to know Him in such an intimate way. Thank you for helping to point me in that direction by what you write.
I've enjoyed getting to know your family, too!
May God continue to bless you richly as you continue to follow Him!
In His grip, Kim

laurie said...

Wow--what else do you say? What a way to top off the sermon we heard this morning. I will continue to pray that KP will allow Christ to change her life.

Colored With Memories said...

It's amazing how God orchestrated every moment to ensure you connecting with her today. From the odd Waffle House craving, to the unexpected wait for a different table. I've got chills.

The Lord has his hand on her.

Mandy said...

Just shows you that there really are no coincidences in life and God does not make mistakes. I am so glad you reminded me of this. Our sermon this morning was on this very topic.

Thinking of you.

Liz said...

Wow! What an awesome "God moment" story! I love reading those!

And I'm w/ the first must read Redeeming Love! AWESOME story!

Mary Lou said...

wow, what a God moment and how He organized the events and circumstances and you listened and obeyed. A beautiful lesson for all of us. You are showing Jesus to your children. You are living out your faith. What a testimony you are to me. Blessings...

Leah said...

That is an incredible story. I can only imagine your annoyance as the couple took "your" table as The Waffle House is my husband's favorite restaurant and we get very annoyed when someone sneaks in ahead of us, leaving us to wait with our very impatient children. Having never even heard of the WH before we met, I don't really see the appeal, but I can totally see you there.
I'm so glad that it enabled you to see KP and I'm sure you blessed her and I pray it will be enough.

Paulette said...

This very thing that occoured in the waffle house parking lot and what you did is what our faith is all about. NOT being comfortable in our blessings but walking outside of our comfort zones like you did. Boldness for Christ means just this, we dont wait for people to just walk through our church doors to minister, we step out of the doors to go tell.
I have prayed for KP since reading about her and will continue to do so. That was a divine appointment for you both, it was NO accident. Praise God she had yet another chance to hear about how God can and will deliver her if she just reaches out for him.

Mindy said...

That is amazing. It is wonderful to be able to see God working so boldly and to give him the Glory as you have done.
What a witness you are being to this girl!

CookingMama said...

There is a wonderful book "Same Kind of Different As Me." by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It speaks of his amazing relationship and God at work thru it with a homeless man and the difference he made in Ron's suburban life...What a wonderful post!

Laura said...

Amazing ... I love those kinds of stories!

stacey said...


Tari said...

I'm just reading your blog for the first time and wow, what a story! God bless!