Several nights a week I return to the dorm after curfew smelling of pie and wet bar towels with crumbs smeared across my brown Pippins Pie Pantry t-shirt.  The pockets of my wrap around patchwork skirt bulge with tip money to pay for college fees.

One Sunday, before fulfilling another shift, I sit in church distracted by worrisome thoughts about how to pay bills coming due. While the preacher delivers a sermon on living by faith, I usher a quick prayer, ask Jesus for a miracle.

And just as I begin to stand up, make my way out of the auditorium, an older woman sitting next to me grabs my arm, pulls me back down and asks me to wait a moment. Stunned, I watch her fidget awkward in the pockets of her coat. She leans over, whispers into my shoulder, “God told me to give you this.”  Takes my hand in her hers and carefully places a wad of bills into my trembling fingers.

I hadn’t spoken to her once during the service. I came in late, took the empty aisle seat next to her.  A stranger to me, or perhaps an angel appointed by God.  I may never know.

And I don’t remember how much money she handed me that day. Just that I went directly to the grocery store and every single item I selected meant something.

Because I purchased each one with a miracle.

That lady, she obviously practiced hearing God’s voice and I it makes me want to hear Him like that too.  So I practice and think of the disciples.

How Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs. They travel light. Without money, extra shoes, or suitcases full of clothes and toiletries.  (Luke 10)

Just carrying the name of Jesus. 

Because it is all they need.

For healing the sick.

And setting people free.

They practice the name of Jesus, over and over again. In the kitchen of a friend, along a dirt road, at the store, they practice.

I stand in line at the grocery store; eavesdrop on the conversation behind me between a father and son. Look into eyes wrapped tired with lines.  Leathery hands of a father holding two loaves of doughy bread, bologna, milk, cereal. He shuffles bread into one arm, counts the bills in his stubby, cracked fingers.

Whispers to his son, “I just got paid and it’s already almost gone.”

The young boy looks at his Dad and I hear the guilt in his voice when he asks if they should put something back. Return an item from what an arm can hold, not a cart full.

Now I am the woman hearing Jesus, fidgeting in my pocket, because I must act quickly to obey in this moment.

And as I pay for my things, I give extra to the cashier and she looks puzzled. I whisper over to her that she can use it for the bill of the ones standing in line behind me.

Just before I get to my van, the father, he comes running after me. Asks me why I did that. Why did I pay for his groceries?  And I tell him, “Jesus told me to do it, because He loves you.”

The name of Jesus.  Practice using that name. It changes everything.

Counting gifts with Ann today and if you are joining me this year to take the dare to 1000, kindly share one of your gifts in the comment box for the eyes of community. We do this together, yes?

  • For teary laughter that makes the stomach hurt with friends on-line.
  • Hand over mouth laughter with friends at dinner.
  • A husband who finds me in the aisle of the grocery store, just because he sees my car in the parking lot and wants to surprise me.
  • For the roses I cut before the frost that radiate beauty for a week now, reminding me of hope after winter of the soul.
  • For an aunt that gives up her time to watch over my children so I can go to a conference.

Linking with Jen and Shanda on Tuesday!