Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Series: Proving That We're Different

Mis-matched work-out clothes and a sagging pony tail is how I like to roll.  You might see me running errands in my regular Wal-Mart attire: purple athletic shorts and a pink Disciple Now t-shirt yes I'm that woman.  Although, I haven't been brave or insane enough  to wear the pig-tails that Baby A likes to fix my hair in. 
But, then there was this one day.... day when I wasn't in my usual frumpy lounge clothes. I happened to be dressed up in my preppy GAP clothes when I ran into Wal-Mart for a few items. I hurredly threw my stuff up onto the conveyor and glanced at the checker.  
She seemed college age. She wore all black other than her blue Wal-Mart vest. Her hair was short and spiked. Her eye make-up black to match her clothes. 
She was making a statement. 

I immediately got insecure. I was over-dressed for any Wal-Mart run and I started to think: "This girl probably thinks I'm some snob that runs around town in full make-up and never ditches her heels."  There I was making an assumption, and judgement, about her judgement-- about me. 
I know...right? 
Then, I heard Him whisper like a faint breeze. 
Immediately I got insecure again. My face grew hot and I didn't like what I might have heard Him say. 
"You want me to do what?" I pleaded. 
And then again. 
"Prove to her you're not who she thinks you are." 

Now if you know me well, you know that I would take a beating over being embarrassed. 
I've been that way since childhood. I don't like to be embarrassed, but I also didn't want to disobey God 
I began to quickly question God.
"What am I suppose to do?"
Hug her?
 I was 99% certain this girl already hated me just because of how I looked 
and God wanted me to witness to her??!?!?! 

Compliment her?
Two people got in line behind me and they were definitely in earshot!
"Earshot! Did you hear me God, someone might hear me?" 
But, again...
"Prove to her you're not who she thinks you are."
I tried to start a conversation.
"Hi, how are you today?" 
She just kept on scanning.
"Have you been pretty busy today?"
And then I got this...
So, I threw up a quick prayer that went something like this:
"Help me God RIGHT NOW and show me what to do if that is really you talking to me."
About that time, without looking at me, she asked me if I needed cash back
and I realized...I could give her a gift. 
So, I pulsed out some cash. 
And the man behind me was so close I could feel his breath on me which was adding to this already highly embarrassing situation God wanted me in for some uknown reason and I debated for a few split seconds just how in the WORLD I was going to give her the cash without being so INCREDIBLY awkward. I hate being embarrassed did I mention that?
Right then, she threw the cash up on the check-out counter. 
I grabbed it, feeling so very embarrassed, and started to push my cart on to the comfort of my vehicle.
But, God. 
He just. Wouldn't. Let me. Go.
I paused at the end of her station. 
Breathed in deep and handed the cash out to her.
She finally looked me in the eye. 
"Ma'am is something wrong, you did want that amount didn't you?"
"Yes, you gave me the right amount."
Shifting my weight, I looked her in the eye and said,
"Would you get in trouble if I gave you a gift?"
She stared at me as her powder skin turned red.

"I mean, I don't really need the cash back. It's for you. 
Actually. I mean..umm..just take it, I'm sure you could buy something cool with it." 
The two people behind me were now seriously staring.
"Why would you give me money?" 
"I just felt like God wanted me to give you a gift today. That's all."
Then I saw it. 
Warmth filled her face and she seemed to relax. 
She had been cold and unresponsive when I tried to talk with her before.
Yet, in that moment, I could see the tough facade melt away. 

I don't know what her life was like. She might not have needed the money. 
She could have begrudged me for holding up her line.
I may never know if it meant anything to her. 
But, maybe, she was down on her luck.
Maybe she had spent her last paycheck on car repairs and had no money to eat.
Maybe she dressed like that for attention because no one in her family cared what she did.
Or maybe, the call to be obedient had nothing to do with her, but was a test of obedience for me.
Maybe God wanted to see if I would forfeit my comfort to meet a need. 
Maybe He wanted to know if I would react to a whisper or if He still needed His megaphone to get me to move. 

Has obedience ever been uncomfortable for you?
What has God asked you to do to prove that you were different?

Tell me about it and come back tomorrow for another piece of the story.


Choctawwoman said...

I used to work for a Tacoma School District as a ParaEducator in the ECAP/Headstart area and I used to ride the bus. I bounced between 26 different schools and never knew when I was going to work unless it was the morning of. I had cue cards so I would know when to leave the house, what number the bus was,where to transfer if I needed and the times of two buses after school was over so I could help the teacher clean up . I sometimes wore leather pants and the Leather jacket so I guess I looked rough. Another ParaEducator worked with me sometimes at the same school and for the same teacher. To her I suppose I looked like a mean biker that was ready to kick some butt. I could tell she was scared to approach me,but one day she got the courage to ask me for a $1 for the bus and promised to pay it back when we worked together again. I wasn't mad I was just thinking, I guess looks can be deceiving. It took me a few minutes to think about it and I pulled out a dollar for her and we began to talk. The next time we saw each other and worked with each other, she went to pay me back and I told her that it was no problem and to keep it in case she misses the bus. we struck up a friendship that is still strong today. That was 16 years ago. Isn't it wonderful how God places the right person in your life at the right time? Later, we found out that we had GOD in common and she got me back into Church.

Jessica Kirkland said...

That is a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing. I guess sometimes insecurities (I know for me as you saw in the story) can hold us back from God's best and wonderful blessings. I appreciate your feedback. Tonight, I'm going to tell you another piece of the story.

Geoff said...


I love this story. Thanks so much for sharing it with me.

I once was in a similar situation, when I felt like I was supposed to pay for the groceries of the woman in front of me. I had so many opportunities, including watching her card get declined, her leaving the groceries and going to make a phone call etc. I never paid for them, I missed the opportunity to bless/give to her. I always regret that.

Thanks for being brave Jessica.

I also love the random and quirky style of your blog, with the photographs and the crossed out lines. It's a point of difference for you that will make your blog stand out.

You are a natural storyteller. Keep writing.


Jessica Kirkland said...

Geoff, I've missed other opportunities too - where I second guessed the prompting of God and left feeling the same. I'm certainly not perfect in that department
But, this was one time I stepped out despite my embarrassment.

Thanks for reading and leaving me a message. I'm getting a hang of the whole Twitter thing finally! haha

And finally! Someone that understands the crossed out line thing. hehe

Sherri said...

I love your stories of your very real struggles to follow God's promting in your life. We all struggle in one way or another and it is good to see that we are not alone. Now I have to tell you one of my stories.
When I was in college and on the way back from a BSU summer missions orientation in Fort Worth, God told me to pick up a hitch-hiker. I convinced Mike Killingsworth (fellow missionary) that God was telling me to pick up this young man that was walking down the side of the road. It was several miles to the next town and it was well after dark. (We were south of Madisonville.) It took us at least a mile to get turned around and back to the man. We said a prayer (although if God is in it, what are we worrying about?), stashed my purse under the seat (why?), I climbed in the back and he got in the front seat. Mike looked straight at him and exclaimed, "Leslie Killingsworth, what are you doing here?" You see, it was Mike's cousin. He had been driving a Nursery truck which had broken down and he was trying to walk to the next town. We talked all the way to Conroe where we dropped him off at his car and then made it back to Beaumont quite late, but not sleepy at all after witnessing what God can do when we only listen to his voice! Never before and never since have I ever felt the urge to pick up a hitch-hiker!

Kim said...

Hey Jessica,
You blessed me today with this great post and by being a blog follower. I remember our brief meeting at SheSpeaks last year and have often wondered how you were doing. I can't wait to look around your beautiful blog and check out how your year has been. Are you going to SheSpeaks this year?

Jessica Kirkland said...

Sherri! Wow, that's a pretty amazing story. Picking up a hitchhiker would have been hard for me. But, what an amazing answer to prayer. I think the tough thing for all of us is discerning God's voice ( or atleast for me). Thanks so much for sharing. And Sherri - you are definitely geographically close to me. Are you still in Texas?

Kim! I was looking at your face wondering why you looked so familiar. Now, I know! Yes, I am going back to She Speaks this year on the speaker's track. Are you? I am flying in Thursday a day early. PM me on facebook and tell me some more.

Choctawwoman said...

Sherri, that is a great story as there are so much going on with hitchhikers and people begging for money. It really is amazing how God won't let you go when he wants you to listen to him. Jess,I have to say everyday I have to somewhat "prove" that I am not a hardcore person because of my tattoos. You don't see many Christians with as many tats as I have (12) but nevertheless my last tat is of the Phoenix which was my Icon on twitter before I changed it. I simply chose it because God has literally pulled me from the ashes and has changed me for the better. I definitely am not the same person I was 12 years ago. I do find myself wanting to help those that are asking for money but then I get to thinking, "If they spend it on drugs or alcohol then I am basically enabling them and I am not about to do that" but then I remember that God knows my heart and that I want to help people and if they use it for those things instead of what they need, then it really isn't my fault. He knows I was doing it for the right reason. I have helped in the past but not so much anymore. That is a daily struggle.

Karen Barnes Jordan said...

In my mid-forties, I sensed
God leading me to start college (yes, I mean for the first time). I was scared to death, but I knew that was what I needed to do. God taught me how to face my fears during my journey there. And five years later, not only did I have two degrees, I was teaching in the very same room where I took my first Comp I class. Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story, Jessica!

Jessica Kirkland said...

Yes, that is a full circle story, Karen. Proud that you had the courage to follow God's leading --look where you are now! Sometimes we question the whispers, but God is faithful to keep whispering when we seek His will. Thanks for reading and for our phone conversation the other day. I thoroughly enjoyed it and continue to enjoy our online friendship!