By the time I was six months old, my raised, bumpy, dark red birthmark covered half of my face. It was the only thing most people saw when they looked at me and it was a source of many awkward moments for my very young and very shy mom.
She tells a story of a woman who made a beeline for her in the store one day when I was still an infant. My mom saw her coming and thought for sure this woman was coming to find out what was wrong with her baby or to make an inappropriate comment, but she didn’t.
The woman hiked over to her to let my mom know she thought her baby (me) had the most beautiful giant brown eyes.
35 years later I still think of this woman and her words.
I think about how she probably doesn’t even remember the moment.
Some of the most impactful moments of our lives – where we do something that affects another person for decades – might be moments we don’t even remember. Positive or negative, our words and actions sink into the hearts of the people around us.
Lord, help me be aware of how my words and my actions are affecting those around me, help me be someone who is leaving a trail of joy and love and positivity, help me be always pointing others to you.
I think about the times God has led me to do something for or say something to a stranger – I especially think of the times I chickened out.
Because, for the woman in the store, I think it was a God moment – a Holy Spirit leading – I think it was what my mom needed to sustain her in that moment and I think the woman obediently took less than a minute from her day, risked awkwardness, and said the words another person needed.
Lord, in those moments where you are giving me the opportunity to be your hands and feet for a stranger in front of me, fill me with courage and drain me of insecurity. Remind me of what I might miss if I chicken out. Help my unbelief.
And I think about how she didn’t know the whole story – she could guess some things based on the state of my face, but she didn’t know the depths of the struggles my mom was facing or how much the stares and whispers affected her or how much she needed a kind word. She just gave out some kind words, as if they were free, as if they cost nothing, as if it couldn’t hurt.
Lord help me to see people. Help me to see these people around me who you love. Help me to give away kind words as if they are free, as if they cost me nothing, as if they couldn’t hurt.