Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

God blessed me even when I was a reluctant giver

On a regular outing for coffee, I ended up getting unexpectedly blessed when I tried to bless someone else.

I had thirty minutes to myself before picking up the kids, and I was determined to use it productively: get my coffee, sit down, scroll through Instagram, and spend the last few minutes staring out into space.

Right outside Starbucks was a skinny man with grey hair wearing a faded red polo shirt and cargo pants. He made abrupt hand gestures talking to himself although it sounded like it was a conversation with another person.

In the span of less than thirty seconds, this “pacing” guy quickly shuffled up to a middle-aged patron who was busily typing away on his computer. Before he could even finish asking for spare change, he got turned down immediately with a stare and curt response. He apologized and walked away like he was used to this kind of interaction.

It’s difficult to articulate but I felt like God was prompting me to ask this guy if he wanted coffee. God didn’t ask me to make an earth-shattering move, just a small gesture to help someone out.

I learned how special a good cup of coffee can be during hospital stays with Ellis. She usually won’t let me out of her sight for more than five minutes, so I sit bedside dreaming about how lovely the first sip of iced coffee with a splash of soy milk will be and comfort food instead of Saltines and peanut butter.

So many times, my gracious friends delivered coffee (not from the hospital), treats, food, texts, and their company to ease my stress. Chris also delivered coffee, but he had quite a disastrous experience when he accidentally dropped and spilled a venti-sized coffee in the hospital lobby. I was still grateful he tried but grumpy.

Those memories taight me how a cup of coffee can turn someone’s day around and uplift a person’s discouraged heart.

That Starbucks drink was delivered by a friend that morning. So grateful. Made me more sociable and sane.

The guy smiled and said he would like a large coffee. Then, as I was ordering our drinks, his gaze turned to the refrigerated food section looking intently at the menu options as he pointed from one item to the other. I had an inner conflict that split second: do I ask him if he wants something to eat?; isn’t coffee enough?; and emergency advice-asking prayer…God, what do I do? Please give me a generous heart.

I felt disappointed in myself for questioning so much over this issue when it was clear I should get him something to eat.

“Come on, you can do this with a generous heart and help this guy out” I thought. Countless times people blessed me and my family extravagantly when we were in survival mode with Ellis’ constant illnesses. Sometimes those friends told me that God pressed on their hearts to reach out to me, and those were the exact time when I needed help and encouragement. I’m so thankful they acted upon it.

I resolved to buy this guy’s lunch. I asked, “Would you like something to eat too?” He said, “yea? Thanks” and chose a few items. I sighed silently to myself thinking this would be an expensive coffee outing.

When all our orders were on the counter, I handed my credit card to the cashier. The person must’ve been a supervisor because he wasn’t wearing the green apron. (This is my assumption which may be inaccurate) But this supervisor only rang up my order. I told him to ring up the other items to my card. He answered vaguely and said, “I’ll ring up your order first.”

Once he rang up my order, I was ready to insert the card again. Instead the smiling supervisor with clasped hands told the “pacing” guy that his food “was on the house today.” Huh?! What just happened here?!

I was taken aback because of its unexpected nature. He then looked at me and said, “Thank you for your kindness. I hope you have a great day.” I felt humbled and blessed by this person’s thoughtful act and was filled with gratefulness. It was strange that someone commented on my “kindness,” but he didn’t know the inner turmoil and my reluctance.

I thought I was going to do something  nice for a stranger, but in turn I got blessed so much more. I felt God was there in our midst. I was able to see God’s goodness in other people’s hearts. I wanted to be kind, but in turn, I was touched by the Starbucks’ guy’s kindness and thoughtfulness.

The “pacing” guy was very happy too and he asked the supervisor if he could eat inside. He got his food, sat down at one of the tables, and started to unwrap the plastic wrap from his sanwhich. I don’t know why but this sight made me want to cry.

Isn’t God amazing and good?? In that moment God showed me He will bless my feeble efforts and gifts, but I need to first obey His voice. But how many times do I ignore and rationalize why I can’t do what He wants. God is God of the universe and everything belongs to Him anyway, and He makes a way when there is no way. Geesh, such little faith on my part although God shows me his extraordinary love in big and small ways.

When I excitedly shared the story with my kids afterwards, they were interested in the details: what did this guy look like?; did he not have money to buy food?; which sandwich did he pick?; how could I go to Starbucks without them; and lastly, can they get a treat for being good students in science class that morning.

Kids can be so random. But in sharing my honest encounters, the fears and joys that giving produces, I hope they learn too that kindness matters.

Sharing love between little and big Apatosaurus…old drawing by Elliot

Author:

Writing and daydreaming have always been two of my favorite things to do. I've been an avid journal writer since junior high school. It was a way for me to survive the complex world of being a Korean-American female straddling two cultures. Journal writing continued through graduate school, but that luxury is now replaced with multitasking to raise and homeschool two young kids. As the self-proclaimed domestic C.E.O. of our home, personal reflection occurs mostly in my subconscious dreams, during solo grocery shopping runs, or when my husband Chris takes the kids to Costco for an afternoon trip.

12 thoughts on “God blessed me even when I was a reluctant giver

  1. Hi dear Friend! I love your story – so to the heart of how close we all are to that place of love with a simple gesture from one person (YOU) How universal it is – how powerful that connection is – you are a beautiful friend, mother, and being! Your friend…Always, Pamela

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Thanks! You are an amazing friend too…teaching me what it means to be a good friend. Learned from the best (You). How can I tell you the many different ways you helped me on my growing up journey?! Hope you know how loved you are!!

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    1. Thanks dear friend! Your story of buying $120 worth of groceries for a lady who asked you at the store inspired me. That happened years ago to you when you shared, but your action blessed that lady so much, as well as those you shared it with. Mine was not that much (and it turned out to be only a gesture), but I hope it helped to brighten the guy’s day. Thanks for your giving heart and for your friendship. You know I lov ya…

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  2. Kindness had its rewards. Not always so easily or quickly realized. I think God, karma, fate, whatever you believe in, wanted you to know this with certainty. You may not see the *reward* but you will feel its presence. Helping another human being in any way you are able is always the right choice I believe. Thank you for your choice.

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    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment! I was blessed more by this encounter than I imagined, and the experience uplifted me. I remembered the times people’s kindness touched me, and they happened when I was in a dark place. Your words are so accurate: kindness has its own rewards.
      Hope you have a great Sunday and thank you again for your comment!

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  3. that story really was inspiring and how awesome of the supervisor to comp that – feeling all the love

    and thanks for providing another example of the small ways we can make a big difference int he world – and then when we reach out the lowly or down and out – well God is all over that even more and reminds us that what we do for “the least of these…”
    oooo – chills

    and side note – I had a chance to reach out earlier this Summer – I gave a store clerk a ride home and we swung by Starbucks – she had never been inside one – can you imagine? and she wanted sweet tea – but then tried some of their other things – did not find a Bev she liked but we got her a breakfast sand to go and she shared my earl grey tea and was happy –
    it was a god appointment for a few reasons –
    cheers and wishing you a great day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment! The supervisor’s reaction was unexpectedly kind and what happened at that counter among 3 people was indeed beautiful.
      Sometimes it feels like God answers prayers or acts way later than we expect, but He is not restrained by our concept of time. He is ever so present and shows us what He wants us to do. God gives more than we can ever imagine. We serve a big and generous God!!
      And what an experience for the store clerk you helped?! It’s hard to imagine how someone could not have ever been to a Starbucks…wow. I hope that person had a lovely experience with you and so kind of you.
      Thank you for sharing your story too! When we reach out, we get so much back in return.
      It’s always great hearing from you and thank you always for your kind comments!

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      1. thanks for the nice feedback – and we were able to give the lady a ride home again last week – hubs was with me –
        and you know – I feel equal to her as a human – I know you know that – but wanted to say that because sometimes reaching out is to elevate one’s position (not everyone see it that way – but you know what I mean) and so I humbly remember that anything I have is all God’s anyways – he gives and takes away – and well – I do want to always have a loose and open hand with what HE has given me – and so all resources are His…
        which I know you know too –
        and I love what you wrote in the comment –

        “He is not restrained by our concept of time. He is ever so present and shows us what He wants us to do. God gives more than we can ever imagine. We serve a big and generous God!!”

        amen to that!

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      2. Motivation for helping makes a difference in whom you help. I think it’s wonderful that you reached out again to this lady and showed kindness. When you get to know people, there’s more that we share in common than not.
        I agree that that all we have is from God and that we should learn to be good stewards of what he’s given us. But how hard is that?! It’s humbling when you realize the wretchedness of the human heart condition. Kindness doesn’t always have to be about money, but showing respect and giving dignity to someone who may feel down and out.
        I appreciate your comments and the encouragement you give! I hope you have a great start to a new week!!

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