Time Out! I Need a Break!
As believers in Christ, we are called to be God’s hands and feet – to help teach and reach the lost in a variety of ways. Because of that, we are often placed in situations where we have to step out of our comfort zone. We all have a purpose, and God can do amazing things through us when we are willing to serve. Agree? Although I do believe this – wholeheartedly, I recently had nothing but rest and relaxation on my agenda for spring break. You know what I discovered? God doesn’t take breaks.
I went to a mall one afternoon that was within walking distance. As I walked up to one of the stores, I discovered that it wouldn’t open for about 30 minutes. I was in Arizona, and the weather was very pleasant. Rather than go back to the hotel, I walked over to a small table and sat down in one of the 4 chairs that surrounded it. There was a good breeze, and I truly could’ve stayed in that spot all morning.
Within 2 minutes, a lady walked up and sat down in the chair next to me. I was a little uncomfortable at first because there were many (I mean MANY!) empty chairs in the area to choose from, and she chose the one right next to me! She looked at me and smiled, and mentioned that she thought the stores opened earlier. I agreed, then struggled for something else to say. This was so out of my comfort zone. I finally asked her if she lived in Arizona. I guess it was the right thing to ask, because from that point on, we talked for over 30 minutes!
Tina is her name. This 67 year-old sweet lady was originally from Vietnam. I had a difficult time keeping up with what she was trying to say, and had to keep asking her to repeat what she said. She was very patient, and for whatever reason – she pretty much shared her life story with me. She never looked away, nor at her watch or phone….and neither did I.
She told me that she began working when she was 12 (so that she could help support 7 siblings.) If I understood her correctly, she has continued to send money back home to help support her mother and a couple other family members. She said that’s what God wanted her to do – so she does it. She really misses her mother, but doesn’t go back home often because of her stepfather. She said he’s mean to her when she visits, and often worries that he may harm her mother.
She got married when she was 20, then soon divorced because he had an affair. She was devastated. She still doesn’t understand it. She remarried only because she wasn’t independent enough to stay here on her own. Sadly her second husband had a gambling problem and spent all of their money. They were separated for 2 years – but he finally changed his ways. She smiled as she told me they are still married today.
What got me was that she was able to open up to a total stranger – me! I won’t go into all the details, but I just kept asking myself – and asking God – why is she telling me all of this, and what do you want me to say?!
Although I’m not exactly sure what God was teaching me, this is what I do know…. In 30 minutes, a total stranger taught me how meaningful it is when someone trusts you enough to share their story. God used Tina to make me realize that there are no ‘breaks’ when it comes to sharing God’s love – even when it’s spring break.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8