There it was. The mysterious phlegmy bubble that appears in my throat when I get sick. It can’t be swallowed down, moved aside, or eased in any way. And it was just in time for the 100+ degree weekend. Yay!
I won’t bore you with my sicky sob story, but suffice it to say that I was miserable. My husband was out of town on a boys trip so I was on my own. I usually enjoy being alone, but this time it would have been nice to have an onsite nurse slash popsicle delivery man. No nurse. No popsicles. But I did have a beautiful new book to crack open, which was sort of the perfect medicine for me.
When Sunday rolled around and I rolled out of bed, I thought to myself “today I was supposed to be all better!” But I wasn’t. I hadn’t been out of the house since Thursday and had become a borderline hermit. Even though I wasn’t back to my spunky self yet, I tossed around the idea of going to church. I should go. My hubby and I usually go together in the evening and meet up with friends, but he wasn’t going to be home in time. But I should go. I invited my sister-in-laws to join me but they both had plans. I really should go. I was awake and could get ready in plenty of time for an earlier service. But I still didn’t feel very well. Although I was feeling better than the days before. So I should go.
Don’t you just love that witty internal banter that helps us make our decisions? Equally split across the pro’s and con’s of every situation until finally, something tips the scales and toggles us over to the “do it” side.
Not my best hair day and nothing I put on was as comfy as my jammies, but I had made up my mind to go. And so I did.
I didn’t recognize anyone as I entered because this was not the time we usually went. These were the morning people, and I am not typically among them!
As I made my way to my chosen seat, I passed by a young woman in the row behind me sitting alone, and I smiled at her. I wondered for a moment about her story and what brought her to church alone that morning. Husband out of town like mine? Perhaps she was meeting friends there that hadn’t arrived quite yet?
I stood and swayed and sang with the music and didn’t feel as alone as I thought I would. I introduced myself to a few people sitting near me and talked about the heat. I listened and let the message seep deep into my soul.
At the end of this particular service, our Pastor prayed a familiar prayer. The words come out differently each time, but the intent is to invite new Christians to choose God. At the end of the prayer, he asked those of us who prayed it for the first time to come to the front and accept a gift as they left. And he asked them to tell someone they had made that choice and prayed that prayer. I always pray along with that prayer because I am making the same choice every day in small ways. Even though it’s not the first time I’ve prayed those words, I still pray them every time.
As we filed out of our rows to leave, that sweet young woman who was sitting in the row behind me and I crossed paths and connected in the most unexpected way. She looked directly at me and proudly proclaimed “I prayed that prayer today!” and before I even realized it, I was hugging her and welcoming her to our church. It was a 20 second exchange at most, but it was everything.
God had used me, in the best kind of way. He didn’t care that my hair wasn’t perfect or that my throat was a little sore or that my spirit was a bit weary. He didn’t worry that I wasn’t up to certain standards. It didn’t bother Him that my voice cracked as I sang. In fact, all those imperfect things might be exactly the reason He chose me to cross paths with that lovely young woman yesterday.
Maybe those things made me approachable. Maybe my imperfections make me relatable. Maybe the worst parts of my life make the best testaments to His glory. Maybe she just needed a friendly smile to convey a welcoming message. Maybe He needed me to be exactly who I was in exactly that moment. And maybe, there have been a million tiny moments like this one that I didn’t even realize I was being used.
And just maybe He is using you in exactly the same way at the most unexpected times too.