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Placing Myself Where the Action Is

My local coffee shop has proven to be a place of connection.

Over chai tea, I have written many of these blog posts, hosted my first book launch, prayed for friends, and met men and women who spoke life into my soul. I have learned to listen to God's prompting and lean into the lives of others because He wants them to know God sees and values them.

This is a skill God has fine-tuned since I committed my life to Him. Though I'd like to say I listen and obey every time, that is untrue. Places where there tends to be connection with others can be terrifying because I have to put myself where the action is. And sometimes God leads me deep behind enemy lines.

My oldest attended a private Christian school. When he was in fifth grade, I felt prompted to share my testimony. To tell of overcoming depression with the youth at his school during their chapel time. I felt inadequate. Getting up in front of teenagers terrified me. I proceeded to behave like the prophet Jonah, avoiding Gaven, the chapel leader. He was the one who coordinated speakers, and every time he crossed my path at the school I found I wanted to slip away. If Gaven was present, I wouldn't make eye contact and exited other doors to escape talking to him.

The prompting never waned. Weeks later, as I sat at the coffee shop waiting for a friend, I felt the Holy Spirit say, almost in an audible voice, "Look up! Gaven is coming in." S I looked up, and my jaw dropped as the youth leader entered. In the three years I was a regular at the shop, I hadn't seen Gaven. Done running and unable to speak, I finally surrendered to God's will. After a few minutes, I went up to Gaven and asked him to sit and talk with me.

I spoke to the kids about the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). About how we have many pit and palace moments. How these are used by God to shape us, and help us bring others to Him. I may never know the results of my final obedience, but that moment occurred because I placed myself where the action happens. Sometimes this occurred whether I wanted the connections or not. My life has been altered by how God used others in my life to sharpen me, To challenge me when I am wrong. To spur me on to embrace all God would use to equip me for the tasks in which He calls. (Hebrews 10:24-25).

These interactions fall into the following categories:

  • A brush

  • A season

  • A lifetime

A brush is an encounter with a stranger in any setting. After my son died, I went to the coffee shop once a week to make myself avail