Everyone needs a little encouragement—to been seen, to be appreciated, to be listened to, to be honored with a moment of your time. I mean everyone.
God reminded me of this last week in South Carolina. I was at the Allume conference, and between two sessions I was taking some of my things to my hotel room to drop off. I was passing an open door when the housekeeper called to me. She was a young woman in her 20s with a smile on her face.
She pointed to our hotel room next door. “Excuse me, ma’am, is that your room?”
“Yes.” I lifted an eyebrow.
“Ma’am, were you the one who wrote those books?” she said the last word with reverence.
“Yes, yes I am.”
“Ma’am, do you happen to have an extra one that I could read?”
I knew what books she was talking about. I’d brought a stack of gifts . . . just enough to give to my roommates and to take to my daughter and a few friends in Europe. I was leaving for Europe straight from the conference.
“I’m so sorry,” I told her. “I just have enough for this trip.”
“Oh, that’s OK.” She shrugged. “I understand.”
I walked to my room, and by the time I stepped inside my door the realization of what I’d just said hit me.
“What am I doing?” I told the image of myself in the mirror. God had put a young woman into my life at this moment. She had one simple request, and I had turned her down!
Without hesitating I picked up one of the copies of my novella, A Christmas Gift for Rose. I could mail more books to Leslie later . . . but for some reason I knew I needed to offer this gift.
I went to the open door, and it was my turn to call to her. “Miss,” I called.
She hurried to the door. Another housekeeper followed her.
“I’m so sorry that I said no. I do have this for you. I can mail another book to my daughter.”
She took it, and her eyes grew as large as saucers. She asked me to sign it to her, and then she introduced me to her friend who was working with her. “We love reading,” she told me. “We want to start a book club here at the hotel.” They both smiled wide.
My heart felt happy and full when I headed to the next workshop. It was just a simple thing, but I know that God caused our paths to collide for a reason. The young woman wanted to be seen. She need encouragement. (How many times have I walked past housekeepers without really knowing them? Lots!)
There are people all around us who feel unnoticed. They may be the person sitting alone at the restaurant table next to you, the lady who walks her dog up and down your street, the housekeeper at your hotel, or the man sitting next to you on the airplane.
Do you ever remember a time when you felt unnoticed? Think of someone who God brought to reach out to you. Then pray for God to bring someone into your life who you can see and appreciate.
Sometimes the person will call out to you. He or she will ask something from you, and it most likely won’t be on your day’s script. Know that God brought that person to you. What does your God ask of you? To open your hand, your heart.
Sometimes you may need to be the one to reach out. It’s the Holy Spirit within stirring in your heart, asking you to offer a smile and greeting. God gave Himself to you, and He wants you to share. Sometimes it’s sharing in simple ways like offering a book, and other times it’ll require much, much more. But as you reach out and love, God’s love will pour through you, and you’ll be blessed in ways you never expected.
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