Thursday, December 9, 2010

Choosing Not to See

Disappointed in not finding the item I was searching for, I headed for the store exit. Funny, I had felt so compelled to stop here. I hadn't left the house planning on coming this way, but an inner voice had persuaded my direction. Now I was frustrated. It was freezing cold outside. I really hadn't had the time for this extra stop in my travels. I needed to get home. My husband just had oral surgery and I should be checking on him and playing "nurse".

My departure was detained by a young woman leaving the store. At first I didn't see why she was walking so slowly. Completely immersed in my own little world, I was unaware of her need. Upon closer observation I realized she was pushing a baby stroller with one hand, while pulling a fully loaded cart with the other. A human "train" so to speak. She obviously was doing some Christmas shopping and had been more fortunate than I by the appearance of the shopping carts contents.

As she headed towards the parking lot struggling to keep all her treasures within her grasp, a thought filled my mind. Joy, offer to help her. Immediately that idea was dismissed. The kind gesture was counteracted, convincing me such an act would be foolish. I reasoned that she would refuse my help. These days everyone is skeptical of others who offer their services. She would be concerned about 'stranger danger'. She certainly wouldn't allow me to push her stroller, and I questioned, would she trust me with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise? Offering to help would only make her nervous. She was handling everything alright. I should just leave her alone.

I turned a blind eye. I chose not to see. I walked to my car. Unlocked the door. Sat inside. Glanced quickly back. Then it happened. As she tried to maneuver it all over the curb, the shopping cart swayed and several of her items fell to the pavement. Frustration and exhaustion were written all over her face. As she picked up the skillet, looking for dents, I could almost hear her sigh and see the tear. How could she do it all? Care for an infant, shop, look after all the details of Christmas, and in this unbelievably cold weather too. Surely her baby would rather be at home sleeping in a cozy crib, but she had gifts to buy and time was running out. So much needed to be done. She was so weary.

And there I sat. In a warm car. Opportunity missed. Stricken with guilt gut.

The image of her face at that moment still haunts me. My heart is aching with my own selfishness. I can't turn back time. How I wish I could.

Yes, I know many of you would have helped without hesitation. You would have even gone the second mile, loading her car, returning her cart, making Jesus visible. I made a wrong decision. No excuses. No justifying. Just remorse.

Oh Lord, how I pray it’s not too late. Please don’t give up on me. I don’t want to live a life that is shy of Your best for me. Please forgive me for the many times I have not obeyed Your voice. I can’t go back, but I can move forward. Help me become someone You can turn to and say, “I’ll ask Joy. She embraces My plans for her, trusts Me and steps out in faith.”

I had felt compelled to go to this store, yet I didn't purchase one thing or understand the promptings neccessity. I believe now that God placed me there for the purpose of being His hands and feet to a young mom in need, but instead of letting her meet Jesus in an over crowded parking lot, I said 'no' and walked away. And so tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and all my tomorrow's, I will be looking for that one in need. For the weary and wounded. For the broken and betrayed. For the forgotten and forsaken. For the lonely and the loveless. For the abused and abandoned. For the busy and the burdened. For the harried and the harassed. For whoever God places in my path. I will listen for His voice. I will risk rejection. I will face fear. I will combat complacency. I will choose Christlikeness. I will live loud. I will say 'yes'. I hope....

What about you?

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5 (TLB)

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Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Oh how often I have missed or ignored opportunities to 'be Jesus' to another in my life!! I know exactly how you feel and I'm sorry.

I pray that the Lord will visit you with a sense of forgiveness and peace.


Nichole said...

Sweet Friend you so didn't go home from this store empty handed...nope you went home with MORE of your Jesus burning passionately in your didn't fail, you didn't miss it, you totally allowed His grace to create you for the next it fully. Friend your post here has deeply reminded me that we are to live in this moment with God its what we have! Hugs!

~Tam I Am~ said...

Oh what good news- God still loves you! He still is pursuing a relationship with you. I dare say you were stricken with not guilt but conviction from the Holy Spirit. He LOVES you, Joy and because of Jesus you are worthy to be loved. I can't wait to hear how you allow the Lord to use you today. I love you, too!

Morgen said...

Excellent post Joy. I too have "brushed" off that nudge from God; only later to regret it. Thank goodness for a God of second chances.

Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Joy, how beautiful that God is using your "Just remorse" to spur you on in the days to ahead to have eyes and heart wide open to be His hands and feet. Thank you for allowing that godly sorrow to work in your heart. Love you!

"See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." 2 Cor. 7:11 Corinthians+7&version=NIV

Lori said...

Sweet Joy, Because your Father loves you so much – he spoke so loudly to you while sitting in the car. He’s gracious, forgiving, and His love never ends. He allowed this to happen – to open your eyes for what is to come.

Perfect timing for all of us to read – as this time of the year we get so busy that our eyes drift to our own needs, forgetting what we are called to do: love those around us. I’m going to be more ‘watchful’ today – thank you for sharing your insides with us. Love u, friend! Hugs, Lori

Cheri Bunch said...

Your post returned to my thoughts today, Joy. I was in a hurry but the Lord gave me opportunity to slow down for others. I will be keeping my eyes open for more opportunities. Thank you for taking time to be used of the Lord to bless us!

Love you,

Cindy said...

Great reminder of how our lives should be about saying 'yes' to the opportunities God places within our reach. Yet, we all have those moments of making our choice and unfortunately, like you, I'm sad to say that I too have turned a blind eye and missed the opportunity to be Jesus with skin on.
Blessings to you this Christmas season.

Genny said...

Thank you for sharing this... I have done the same thing before.

Just today, there was a young couple in front of me in line at the store and I had the urge to compliment the girl on her beautiful wedding ring. I had this odd sense that she was unhappy about something. I wondered how long they had been married if perhaps they were arguing. I kept noticing her pretty ring and was about to say something, when the girl got in front of her husband in the line, and they began talking to the cashier.

I missed my chance. It might've been nothing, but it might've been an opportunity to remind that girl of her wedding day and the probably very special memories that happened on it. And maybe, for whatever reason, that was why I felt the nudge to say something. Yet I didn't.

Anyway, thanks for the reminder to act on those nudges!