Because sometimes you need to eat encouragement

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The cost of living is high in this small mountain town of my beloved Colorado.

It can be discouraging at times, such as this, after looking for an affordable rental, researching living options, asking, seeking and still not finding. It can feel frustrating after months of trying and seemingly not getting anywhere. The weary weighs some days. Trying so many paths and hitting dead ends again and again can cause anger to arrive.

This was the state of all my emotions one morning earlier this week after looking at another possible place to call home, and feeling the not possible of it after seeing it.

Discouraged, frustrated, fatigued, I set out to do the errands I’d put off for endless days. I stroll sad into Safeway and load bread and milk into my limp arms. I turn to head for the register and come across my florist friend on the way. Nothing in me feels like stopping to talk with her, but I force my feet to still long enough to pass a few sentences between us.

In the middle of my moody mindset, she asks how I am. Fine, I say. Aren’t we all (pretending)? She asks again, like she really cares to know. Something in her tone causes me to realize she really means it, that how are you? that is authentic, not just the how are you? that really just means hello. So I let her in a little on how I’m discouraged, frustrated, and feel as though I keep hitting brick walls of dead ends in my home search, my car search, and more. Closed doors are all I’ve found. How these big life things seem to be halted, stalled in a long term waiting.

And she listens with caring eyes and then tells me right there by the dog food aisle behind her florist booth that she’s got these big life-job-house troubles of her own, she and her life-man. She tells me more than I expected, more than I felt ready to listen to right there next to her flowers. But her eyes are caring, weary, and carry a sparkle of faith-love. I see her at work in the midst of her struggle, and her way of telling me she sees me, sees my frustrations, is to pour out her own. That we might share each others burdens and say I feel you, I see you. Me too, sister.  So I wait and listen as patient as possible.

Her gentle voice then suddenly shifts to tell me this new thing, like it’s what I’ve come to Safeway for, instead of the bread and milk I hold in my arms. She gives me bread-words of life.

“I’ve been studying the names of God,” she confides out of thin air, that holy space, “and there’s this one that Hagar uses when she cries out to God in the midst of her pain. It’s El Roi.” She reveals it as this precious secret, a treasure she’s discovered anew. With the faith sparkle in her weary eyes, she hands me those bread-words of life, “It means the God who sees me.”

It was just what my heavy heart craved in that moment of numb nuance. Just to know I wasn’t alone, unseen or unimportant. My friend chose to really see me there, to pause her plant passion to point me to the priceless, powerful Prince who doesn’t just pretend but pours out his humble heart to my hurt, providing the nourishment I need.

I came to gather bread for my body and instead He filled me full with bread for my word-weaned soul.

“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.'”
-John 6:35

He came to me right there in the middle of my busy, weary day in the grocery store and saw me. But the thing with God? He doesn’t just see and walk away. My friend’s words reminded me of another Hebrew name for God, Yahweh-yireh, the God who provides. 

I don’t know when his provision of a home or a car will come. But I will take and eat his promise words, the manna for today, and receive the encouragement He brings in despair.

The costs of adulting in this town are high. But then I receive living bread-words from a friend by the flourishing flowers and I think that the blessings, the rewards, they far outweigh the costs. And the weight of God’s glory far outweighs them all.

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