The pine trees danced over my head as they sweetly whispered their songs of praise to the wind. I was hiking alone through the beautiful park that day, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the feeling of doing something really good for myself in diligently keeping up my pace in walking. Somewhere in my conscious hearing I began to register an angry voice lashing out in the distance behind me.
“Hurry up, you slow poke. You are so stupid. Can’t you ever do anything right? You are a bad little girl. You have to walk faster; run if you have to! C’mon, move it! Hurry!” This diatribe continued to get louder as I turned and sought out the offending, cruel voice.
There to my right, not far behind me, was a precious little girl who looked to be around four-years-old. She was running as fast as her little legs would take her with a look of terror on her sweet cherub face, but it still wasn’t fast enough for her mother who was about ten yards from her, off to the side. Rage filled my soul at what I was witnessing, but just as quickly I asked Jesus what was I to do. I knew it was urgent to intervene but was unsure what would be most effective. Truth be known, I had this uncanny urge to scoop her up and run the other way with her in my arms. What would make a difference and not make the mom’s anger even more caustic? I knew that if I just jumped right in to rescue the little girl, I could meet with a wall of hostility, making it harder for the child.
Jesus immediately told me to put a smile on my face, squat down a few feet from the little girl, and let Him speak through me. Getting down to her level, I began to talk to her in my most delighted voice at my joy to see her. I told her she was beautiful. I asked her if she knew that Jesus loved her. She ran right over to me and stopped a few steps away and just stood there staring at me in wonder with huge unblinking eyes. Suddenly it was as if I was looking into my own face from all those years ago when I was being sexually abused. My heart cried out for someone to rescue me from back then. I instinctively knew that whatever I would say to her, I would be speaking to that little girl inside me.
I told her she was a wonderful little girl and so precious to Jesus. She seemed to understand what I was saying as she lit up like an angel. I knew I was speaking directly into her spirit…and mine as well. It seemed as if I already knew her, and I felt divine love for her as she stood there looking up at me with a hunger to trust. She was starved for love, kind voices, and validation to her existence. She seemed frozen to the place where she stood.
Now, her mama had noticed me right in the middle of a harsh bellow of criticism as she was lashing out to her (I assumed) daughter. She immediately lowered her voice and put a fake smile on her face, and listened to what I was saying. She began shaking her head in agreement with me as if she wanted me to know she already knew that what I was saying to her little girl was truth. I could see the mask begin to cover her face to hide her out-of-control anger at this innocent child. In an instant, I knew that this mother had been abused as well and was repeating the same pattern with this precious little child.
The encounter didn’t take long. Maybe less than five minutes. I knew that whatever Jesus did that day in the heart of that little girl, she would never forget that she is loved. Even in her worst moments in life. It was a supernatural thing. I believe she will find Jesus in her life ahead.
Is it a smile that’s needed? How about paying that extra amount in the grocery store for that single desperate Mom struggling to get by? Or a cup of cold water or a kind word to someone weary in this life? You never know what a person’s story is behind their sad countenance. We all have a story. Only God sees the whole picture. We just need to be obedient to do what He says to do. To hear Him, we must be in the knowledge of His constant presence to be able to be available when He speaks.
One day not too long ago, I had a whole Saturday all to myself with nothing planned to do. I decided to give the day to Jesus and ask Him what He would have me to do that day. At first I wished I hadn’t asked, because almost instantly I knew He wanted me to visit an elderly shut-in whom my husband had been wanting me to visit for a long time. I had been putting it off because visiting with the elderly is not my strong suit. But now that I asked, I had to do it. I certainly knew I didn’t make it up, because if it had been me, I would have told myself to go to the beach and relax.
I went into my backyard and picked some roses, wrapped them up, and went to the assisted care home where she was living. I had known her for years. I will never forget, as I entered her room, the light that came into her eyes. We had a delightful visit and prayed together. As I said I would pray for her, to which she was delighted, she said that first she was going to pray for me, and then she took over and prayed a prayer for me that humbled me to the ground.
I thought I was going to minister to her, and she ministered to me instead.
She told me that she prays every day that this will be the day she gets to go home to be with Jesus, as she was so excited for that day to come. She was ready. I left that day full of joy and thankfulness that I went. Because if I had not, I would have missed it all. Kathleen has since had her prayer answered and she has stepped into eternity, and I look forward to seeing her again one day. I am so thankful I was listening that day.
We are here to make a difference in the lives of others. It doesn’t have to be a hard thing. A little kindness goes a long way with so many who have none. You never know that one day as you walk through Heaven you won’t encounter someone you don’t even recognize. When they know you, you will ask how they know you. They will say, “It is because of you that I am here. You spoke life into me when I wanted to die, and I knew that there must be a God.” You will say, “But I only spoke a kind word to you that day.”
Their answer? “That one word drove me to my knees to seek a God whom I saw in your face, as you were reaching out to me.”
Let His love shine through us always.