So on Monday my long time friend Bea calls me about 3:30 in the afternoon to ask how I am doing. This is so refreshing because she means it.
Here’s how I know:
I say the usual “okay,” and she follows it up with a “What is going on right now in your life.”
I tell her the obligatory things, school for the kids, sports for the kids, church for the kids, Boy Scouts for the boys, piano lessons, a recent writers conference I helped at, church, the house is a mess, oh, and dealing with the feeling of having two kids out of the house.
Then she asks me if I have started dinner yet. That is a very common mom-to-mom question about this time of day and it is the usual ping inside when I have to say, “No,” and it is almost dinner time.
It is the nagging question on every mom’s to do list. What to make for dinner. What will the kids like, what is not too hard, what is healthy, what am I not bored of, what are they not bored of? What will last two nights (my favorite one).
I told my friend that I have the chicken defrosting in the sink and that I am looking for my sister’s recipe to make homemade enchilada sauce. I had wanted to make tortellini soup-
Then my friend Bea says, “Well, how about if I bring you dinner tonight?”
For me? I thought? A family of 5 [usually 7]. I am the one usually making the dinners. Why would someone bring me a meal. This is something you do when someone is sick or has a baby or when a family member dies.
Me? I don’t deserve a dinner made for me. I am not sick, I didn’t have a baby recently and no one has died. I am fine, there are so many other people with real problems.
But Bea insisted, “Well, God laid it on my heart to call you just now and to offer to bring you a meal. I had made an extra white sauce lasagna casserole and thought I would like to give it to you. I had a sense from the Hoy Spirit that you needed to be encouraged, that perhaps you were down for some reason, and you do so much for others to make them feel special, and I just wanted to do this for you, to make you feel that you are important to so many people, especially to me.”
Okay, so now I have tears welling in my eyes. I am thinking, wow, someone thought of me. My good friend had remembered me. And pointed out nice things about me, and wanted to do something for me, even when I didn’t have a crisis in my life.
She knew I had been down a year ago when my daughter Rachel left for Germany. An empty nest feeling, though I still had kids at home and will for a while. Then this year Ryan left for college and my youngest started first grade and I have been home alone all day now for the first time with kids in school all day, so things are changing for me.
But, really, I am not going through anything that other mothers have not gone through or are currently going through.
So, to have my friend think of me, to want to bring a meal to my large family was a huge deal. And that she said God’s Spirit had nudged her to do this act of kindness was especially significant to me. And even more so, that she acted on it.
How many times do we get ideas to call someone, to write someone a note, to stop by to see someone, to help someone on the side of the road. And we quickly talk ourselves out of it.
“Oh, I’m sure they’re fine.”
“Oh, I don’t want to bother them.”
“Oh, I am sure they are busy.”
“Oh, I haven’t talked to them in so long, it will be awkward.”
“Oh, I am sure they have plenty of help.”
“Oh, I can do it tomorrow.”
But Bea did not wait till tomorrow. She called me right away to do something kind for me. And within an hour – at 4:30 p.m. — she was at my home with white lasagna. I had never had white lasagna much less even heard of it. And I had just been thinking how bored of my usual meals I was and needed to try something new.
I made tea for us and we sat and had tea and some homemade chocolate chip cookies, which I has made earlier in the day.
After she left about 5 p.m. (with a few home made cookies I was able to share with her), I checked my e-mail and noticed a particular e-mail sent at 4:36 p.m., about the same time that my friend had arrived with dinner.
It was a rejection slip for an article I had submitted to a national publication. I had been trying to get published in this particular magazine for a while this was disappointing and felt like I had been looked over and it felt like I was not appreciated and it felt like I did not matter and that somehow God had perhaps forgotten me.
But, then, when I considered my friend’s kindness in bringing me a meal, I realized that perhaps God knew in advance about the disappointment I was going to have with the e-mail and He knew that because of it I was going to feel discouraged, and maybe He wanted me to know that He does care about every detail of my life. Perphas His Spirit spoke to my friend to encourage her to do this act of kindness at just the right time. To help me feel that I was thought about and that I was valued. At the time I needed a reminder of being valued. God’s timing is perfect.
I thought about the term “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” and we’ve all seen the bumper stickers with those words, and this kind act from my friend got me thinking about how untrue that statement actually is.
Yes, it is true that what my friend did was an act of kindness. But, it was not random.
God brought to mind that kindness is fruit of the Spirit that Christians are given when they follow Christ and live by His Spirit.
Found in Galatians 5:22-23, we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
There was absolutely nothing random about my friend’s act of kindness towards me, but it was an inspiration from the Spirit of God. She sensed that she heard the Spirit of God talking to her and she listened, and most importantly followed through.
Acts of kindness are not random but instead spirit-filled acts. Fruit of the Spirit filled acts of kindness.
As long as we are just sure to listen and follow through as the Spirit is speaking to us in His sometimes still small voice.