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A Smile and Some Change

What would a day be like without someone offering a smile and a hello?

Several years ago, I was at a low point in my life. I was in a very bad relationship that had damaged some of my family relations and a few friendships along the way. I was working full time at a job I hated and taking night classes three hours a night, four nights a week. I was completely broke, financially and literally – every credit agency under the moon was after me, I had broken my ever so useful right hand and was in a cast up to my elbow, and when I was at home, I was completely miserable because of the jerk waiting to break my heart and my spirit at any given opportunity.

I remember one day, I had to run by the junior college bookstore during my lunch hour to buy scan-trons for a final I was to take that night. I only had one five dollar bill with me and my checking account was drained. I had been having a particularly bad day, I won’t go into details, but I felt like it had been a really long time since I’d even smiled. It was a hot day, no a/c in the car…I think you get the picture.

As I was pulling up to the last stoplight just before the school, I saw a man standing in the median, holding a cardboard sign and asking for money. He was standing right where I would be pulling up to stop. As I came to a stop, he began walking toward the car. I stared down, doing my best to avoid making eye contact with him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him walk right in front of my car, holding his sign out in front of him. He stopped directly in front of me and stood there. I lifted my eyes. He held my gaze for just a moment and then he flipped over his cardboard sign. On the back of the sign, he had drawn a big smiley face with a purple marker. He smiled at me and made a funny face.

I melted.

A huge smile slowly spread across my face. He gleamed. As the light turned green and the traffic started up again, he took one step aside, leaned in toward my window and said, “You’re going to be okay.”

I continued the drive to the school in sort of a daze – I couldn’t stop smiling. I was almost giggling. For the first time in a long time, I felt an internal warming of my soul. For the first time in a long time, I felt the slightest twinge of excitement about my future. I had been given a message. I had been given hope!

At the bookstore, I found the pack of scan-trons I needed and took them to the purchase counter. The clerk was a fellow student who said that a girl had come in just a few minutes before and bought a pack of scan-trons, but only needed a few. She’d left the remainder of the pack at the counter and said to give them out to anyone who only needed a few. I only needed one. So the clerk gave me three.

And I still had my five dollars.

I left the store and drove back around the block to the intersection. With tears streaming down my face, I pulled up to the man and told him that he was the first person who’d made me smile in a very long time. I thanked God for him for giving me a glimpse of hope, and I gave him my last five dollars.

I think too often we are in such a hurry to live our own lives, that we forget the warmth and peace that can be offered just by taking a moment to acknowledge the people rushing by us. Maybe they need to slow down and remember to smile. Maybe they need someone to give them a reason to smile. Maybe we need to make more of an effort to become that reason to smile – that reason to have hope and to make a change in someone’s life.

Devotionals

I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N

What does it mean to be a Christian? It means I am who HE says I am.

Shout out to my 80’s Bible School buddies!  Where’s the s’mores? Did y’all sing this too?
This song just brings joy to my heart. I remember being so proud of myself when I  could sing it and spell it faster and faster right along with my mom and the big kids.

Life was so easy when I was little, living in my little Texas town, where my Daddy was the  preacher and my Momma played the organ every Sunday morning and the piano in the little chapel every Wednesday evening. Wednesday evening church was a favorite of mine because we always sang out of the Cokesbury hymnals. Everything was simpler then. Weekend Revivals were gospel music-filled, Holy Spirit motivated community events with three-legged races and homemade ice cream. I always wondered if it was as magical for the grownups as it was for me. I hope it was. I loved that time in my life.

It’s a different world, and I’m one of the grownups now. Being a Christian is a life I choose to make for myself and for my own children to grow up in. The magic of being a Christian as a grownup is that now I get to experience the renewal of life. I know what it feels like to be called to action by God. I understand WHY those gospel songs are so amazing, and I sing Victory in Jesus at the top of my lungs every chance I get.

So what does it mean to be a Christian, now that I’m a grownup?

I am who HE says I am:

I am a child of God.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. ~ John 1:12
I am renewed.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am redeemed.
And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 3:24
I am accepted.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. ~Romans 15:7
I am created to do good.
For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God  prepared beforehand so we may do them. ~Ephesians 2:10
I am chosen and dearly loved by God.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy,  kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12

Hallelujah Thine the Glory! Hallelujah Amen! Hallelujah Thine the Glory! REVIVE US AGAIN!