Welcome to Faithful Friday! If you enjoyed Mindful Monday’s post, “4 PHRASES THAT BRING COMFORT IN THE MIDDLE” (read it HERE if you missed it), you will love today’s FREE PRINTABLE.
I took the phrases and the verses from that post and created one sheet (see photo above) that you can print out to give to a friend, post in your office or home, hang on your fridge or stick in your Bible or journal. For all of you who are receiving this post via email (meaning that you are one of ATC’s awesome followers!), there will be a link on the bottom of this post where you can download the pdf version and print out your FREE PRINTABLE, “Bringing Comfort to Those in the Middle.”
This is just a tangible way to remind you to use your words to speak life, build up, and encourage. It is funny how God has me write a post on using my words and then puts me in a situation where I need to “practice what I preach.” That happened to me on Tuesday of this week.
I had met a friend for breakfast and needed to run a few errands afterwards. Bath and Body Works was on my list (I needed some more of those refills that make your bathrooms smell great!), but when I drove to the plaza where I usually shop, the store was empty, the sign was down, and there was a big “FOR LEASE” poster in the window. What? I was a little disoriented and confused, so I kept driving down the plaza to another store to get pet food. As I got out of the car and looked to my left…there it was. The Bath and Body works store! It had somehow been transported…thanks for the heads up.
Anyway, I wandered around the store sniffing my way through all the new scents until I was on smell overload and had to get out of there. Seriously, I love that place but have to limit my time there. Since this little detour had gotten me a little off schedule, I was anxious to move on to my other errands.
And that is when I saw her…head bent, sniffing a candle, slowly moving around the store. I thought she looked familiar…but did I know her? My kids get so mad at me when I go up and introduce myself to people who have no idea who I am, but I really don’t care. If I think I know you, I usually risk the embarrassment and say something. But today was different: I was running late, I was a bit dizzy from the intense aroma, and I needed fresh air…so I marched forward.
Then she looked up at me. And I knew I knew her. I stopped. “Hey, ________, I know you, don’t I?” She looked a little bewildered at first (uh-oh, I did it again!), but then recognition dawned on her face. We exchanged a few pleasantries, and then I decided to dive off the deep end…
“Are you okay? I have this feeling that something is going on with you. Am I right?”
You know that feeling, when you have been damming back the tears, trying to hide and gain your composure by ducking into a Bath and Body Works, and someone sees it and just calls it out? Yep…well, that happened. And I knew it could go either way, but I took the risk, believing God had us there at that time in that place for a moment such as this.
I do not want to go into all of the specific details to protect her and her privacy, but she opened up and shared. I listened and teared up as she told her story of pain, loss, and ongoing struggle. We embraced (at least 3 times) openly as we stood there among the scented candles, body mist sprays, and foaming soaps. We didn’t care. I told her it was a divine appointment. She had been looking for the old Bath and Body works too.
I tried to speak the words I knew she needed to hear: “Your pain matters. You are not alone. I am here for you. I will pray with and for you.”
What else could I say? Even for someone who values words, they often seem empty and inadequate too.
But remember what I said about not saying anything at all?
I think that is what really scared me. On any other day, I could have and would have walked right past her…too busy to check off the next thing on my list, too self-conscious to risk making a fool of myself, and too preoccupied with my own stuff to stop, ask, and really listen.
Trust me, I did not walk out of there giving myself a congratulatory pat on the back. I sat in my car for a long time, thinking about the encounter and how I almost missed it. And it made me think of all the words left unspoken that someone who is the midst of a deep and dark storm needs to hear from just one person today.
I have been there and so have you. Let’s be the initiators…the ones who speak life, love, and hope. Even if we mess it up, even if we look foolish, even if we stutter.
In an effort to keep sharing resources with you on Faithful Fridays, I leave you with a link to Toby Mac’s “Speak Life” song (I am unabashedly a huge fan). I hope it motivates you to notice, stop, and take the time to use your words to comfort someone in the middle today.
One more thing before I let you go to enjoy the weekend…
5 WINNERS have been selected from the AT THE CROSSROADS and have already been notified by email.
Each winner will receive a custom framed calligraphy print from TheHandLetterShop. I will share more on Mindful Monday so join me then!
Below is Peg, one our lovely winners, with her framed print…I am so very thankful to have her alongside of me on the journey!