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Flowers from a friend, a lesson from a stranger, and a wink from God

Experiencing life through the lens of following Jesus is so exciting. I personally have loads of stories involving moments when He’s blown me away – sometimes in the most subtle ways.

I’m a big proponent of finding not only joy – but finding God – in the little things. At this point in my faith, I’m convinced that He speaks to us in whispers much more often than He does in clear, bold answers or statements. I believe that God is a quality time guy, and He wants from us the undivided attention and radical pursuit that He gives us when we come to Him in prayer. Relationships take two after all, right?

I’ve been asking God to “use me” for years and years. At this point, I’ve learned to pray for it and then wait expectantly to see what He’ll do. I’ve also learned that if I’m not looking for Him But sometimes when I’m constantly humbled by the thought that He doesn’t need me at all – yet he invites me to play a role in the work He is doing in the lives of others.

Flowers from a friend

As I was finishing my weekly lap around the Brentwood farmers market after church one Sunday, the middle-aged man who runs the flower stand came running back towards me with lilies, saying “thank you for the smiles”. I’ve bought from him once or twice, but even on the weeks when I wasn’t a customer, I always made sure to stop by to chat for a moment. We had become friends.

On this particular Sunday afternoon, I was especially exhausted and really not feeling great.

I wasn’t quite in the mood to talk, but the thought of walking quietly by didn’t even occur to me. I offered a smile and an enthusiastic wave as I passed his stand and I told him I was happy to see him.

Before church that morning, I had said a prayer to God, asking Him to give me rest and shine through me. I didn’t feel like I was good for anyone, in the mental state that I was in at the moment. So when the florist handed me a bouquet of flowers, I felt God winking at me, saying “I can still use you. Look at what happens when you just show up.”

A lesson from a stranger

I’ll never forget hearing the same thing one day, on a similar but unrelated encounter in the grocery store:

It had been just an ordinary trip to my neighborhood Ralph’s. But as I was leaving the checkout line, an older gentleman in a wheelchair signaled for my attention. He had been waiting for me. He told me this:

“I just needed to let you know that your smile turned my day around. Thank you.”

Wow. I LOVED hearing that, but guess what? I didn’t even remember him. Apparently, as I was zipping through the market I had smiled at him in passing. It must’ve been out of habit for me, but for him, it may have been the first time he had felt noticed in a while.

The takeaway

I believe the responses I received from these people have impacted my life much more than my smile impacted theirs. They have probably forgotten these moments by now, but I never will.

Friends, hear me out on this; it’s important: we really need each other. That message has come in loud and clear for me. And I know it’s hard to believe this, but you on your worst day could very well be the best part of someone else’s.

As you can see, showing up for someone doesn’t always need to be grand and momentous either. In fact, I’ve found that sometimes the smaller gestures leave the most impact.

A call to action

So here’s my challenge to you and I:

Show up for people. Remember them and check in on them. Ask them their name for the 10th time if you have to; at least you care enough to know it. Stand through the awkward silences. Stumble through your words. I really believe that being awkward and interested is so much better than being cool but detached. And if you aren’t feeling it today, ask God to shine through you. Besides, you never know who needs to be noticed, acknowledged, or simply smiled at, and you may even get to leave with some flowers.

“Give away love like you were made of the stuff. We are rehearsing to spend an eternity together”

Bob Goff, Love Does


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Brooke

    I needed to read this today!! Such an important reminder. It’s so true though. My day is often made by small moments of kindness. And it’s so easy to brighten others’ days. Never know when they might need it!

    1. Ari

      Yes! We all know how it feels to be on the receiving end of grace and kindness on a bad day. You’re so great. I’m glad you liked it!

  2. Aubrey McCabe

    These are beautiful reminders of what God can do through us even if we don’t feel like we could possibly be considered useful. I’ve been there and He’s shown me time and time again how wrong I am. He’s always looking for us to just simply show up and be open to what He has for us that day!

    I am so so proud of you

    1. Ari

      Yes, and what great news it is that He can use us, even then!! Thank you so much, Aubrey!

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Hey friend, It's just me. A 23 year old female, sharing faith, lifestyle, and light while learning how to follow Jesus and love people well in a broken world. You too? Tag along!