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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pass the Chips, Please

Photo Credit:  bhjoco from
We never know who or what God will use to make an impact in our lives.  Aunt Irene sent me a great e-mail that I’d like to share with you:

A little boy wanted to meet God.  He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man.  He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.  The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase.  He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.  The old man gratefully accepted them and smiled at him.

His smile was so brilliant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.  Again, he smiled at him.  The boy was delighted!  They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As dusk approached, the boy realized how tired he was, so he got up to leave.  But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug.  The old man gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.  She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"  He replied, "I had lunch with God."  But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what?  He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home.  His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"  He replied, "I ate potato chips in the park with God."  However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  Embrace them all equally!  Have lunch with God.......and bring chips.

Just as I felt God so powerfully among the people at our recent church picnic, I also feel Him in the smiles, hugs, and words of encouragement during my everyday comings and goings.

Since March, I’ve been dealing with some issues in my left ear – muffled hearing, pain, fullness, ringing, lightheadedness…blah, blah, blah, blah.  With a paralyzing fear of all things doctor or dentist or white-lab-coat-anything, I put off the inevitable.  Over the summer, I finally went to the walk-in clinic a couple of times and tried a combination of oral antibiotics, antibiotic/steroid ear drops, Ibruprofen, Tylenol, and every other ear drop known to man…to no avail.

Then, my friend, Melissa, chatted with me one evening recently and encouraged me to see a specialist.  She hugged me.  She even cried with me.  She said, “You can do it.  You are brave.  There is nothing you can’t do.”  God made Himself known through my friend that evening.

I made an appointment with an ENT doc…only six months after my symptoms began.  (Not bad.  Ha!)  Not that I don’t love and adore the ocean, but the feeling of a big seashell covering my ear 24/7 does get kinda old.  I have to be honest.  I was a complete and utter mess during the entire appointment, but I survived.  I also strongly felt God’s presence in the sweet nurses there who sensed my anxiety and chatted with me about my kiddos and anything else that would distract me and bring me comfort.

I left there with a prescription for an oral steroid.  Hmmm.  Oral steroid?  Have you ever read about the side effects of prednisone?  Well, don’t.  Just calmly step away from your computer and put down the mouse.  Some of the horrifying side effects can include (but are not limited to) these: 

You will never sleep again.  Your heart will jump out of your chest and literally run away.  You will sweat profusely.  You will be so ravenous that you’ll eat until you burst in two.  You’ll gain 40 lbs. overnight and your face will become as big as a full moon.  You’ll grow a beard and chest hair.  You might even turn into an American Pygmy Shrew.  “With a pulse clocking in at more than a 1000 beats per minute, the smallest mammal in North America really needs lots of food to keep its phenomenal metabolism going.  Every day it eats three times its own weight.  To do so, it needs to constantly eat and never sleeps for more than a few minutes.  An hour without food would mean certain death.”  (Yikes!)

Yea, I get a little excited about new things…especially strange medications.  However, God was present when I called my wonderful friend, Kim, (who happens to be an awesome pharmacist) and she eased my nerves and we worked out a dosing schedule.  Her calming words and concern were reassuring for me.  I felt God’s love through her.

Of course, I always feel the love of God through the actions of my incredible husband.  On the first day I took the steroid, he called me multiple times to check on me.  Of course, I would always joke about it when he called.  I’d say, “Well, I didn’t really like where our house was located, so I picked it up and moved it a few feet to the left” or “I lifted the furniture with my eyelashes in order to dust underneath.”  Humor makes the impossible more possible for me.  Laughter helps me cope with my level of crazy on any given day.

My hubby and the kiddos also prayed for me – you know, that I wouldn’t go raving mad on the steroid.  I’m a huge fan of “where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst.”  Knowing that they were praying for me brought me peace and allowed me to see God through them as well.

I’m still working through my ear issue, but I’m making it a point to be fully aware of God’s presence in the people He puts on my path during the journey.

I will close with these inspirational words by Lysa TerKeurstI used to think it was crucial for me to know God’s will.  If I knew His grand plan for at least this season of my life, then I could direct all my decisions to fall in line.  I ponder and pray.  I ask friends.  I read the Bible.  I look for confirmations that point in one direction or the other.  I assume there is one correct choice and in order to stay in God’s will, I must figure out that exact choice.  That’s a lot of pressure for a simple girl like me.

What if God’s will is more simple than that?  What if God is more concerned with us looking for Him than looking for answers?   We want big directional signs from God.  God just wants us to pay attention.  Yes, He wants us to pay attention to Him and ask Him what our best “yes” is in the midst of all the choices.

God intersects our lives with people who need His hope and whispers to us, “You have the hope they need … give it to them.”  Maybe it’s to offer them a little of our time.  Maybe it’s to share a little of our story.  Or maybe it’s to simply offer a smile.  And when we listen, a shift happens.  It’s like the world splits open with each of our simple acts of obedience to God and His light breaks apart the world’s darkness.  This is our Best Yes.  This is us paying attention.

I just love these words by Mrs. TerKeurst.  I hope and pray that I’ll be paying attention when God says, “Pass the chips, please.”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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