We walked in the restaurant and there was not a booth empty. Not one.
Well, actually, there were several, but because of Covid restrictions, they were taped off.
My daughter and I sat down and waited for a booth to clear.
A waitress asked us what we needed. I told her in my kindest voice that we were waiting for a booth.
She did not respond. She waved me off flippantly and went back to her work.
It seemed odd that she was not very friendly. Not even a tiny bit.
My daughter, who is often much more perceptive than me when others are "not being kind", looked over at me and asked if we should leave.
Nope. We are staying. I pasted on my half fake smile and waited for a booth to clear.
Finally, two men got up and my girl and I grabbed the open booth.
The same unfriendly waitress looked over at us and rolled her eyes. She was very obvious and very clear that she did not want us to grab the booth.
I was so confused. Why was she so upset with us?
Again, my girl asked if we should leave.
I could feel that warmth going up my spine. That warmth when someone is being rude or unkind.
That feeling when you want to say something back and stand up for yourself or just make a big fat scene and march out the door.
I took a long breath and remembered what my pastor had JUST preached on...
He had asked the question..."do we act like we have been spending time with Jesus?"
Those words pierced me.
I had spent a good amount of time with Jesus that morning.
But now, Jesus seemed like a far away stranger!
I was getting upset...my throat was tightening, my pulse was quickening...
What would I do?
I could just get up and march right out with my daughter.
I could tell the waitress that she is rude and she does not represent this business well.
I could sit there and be kind.
I could sit there and act like I had been with Jesus that morning.
Let me tell you...it took every bit of The Holy Spirit for me to stay seated.
The waitress had been rude. She had messed up my happy mood, and I even felt foolish for staying to possibly be humiliated more by her rudeness.
My thoughts kept going back to my 16 year old daughter.
How would she remember this day?
Would she remember her momma retaliating back at this waitress? Or would she remember her momma choosing to stay put in that booth....choosing kindness over putting the waitress in her place.
I had to play it out in my mind. My emotions and my blood pressure were sky high.
Would I bow down to those, or would I bow down to Christ in humility?
Jesus loves this waitress just as much as He loves me.
How will I treat one of His beloved?
Oh man, trust me, it was hard not to get up and walk out.
A small voice in my heart kept repeating, "Show her love, Jill."
My daughter asked me for the third time..."Mom, are we going to leave?'
I took a deep breath and whispered back to her, "No. We are staying. Everyone has bad days. Today is hers. Let's show her some grace."
She finally came over and took our order.
Our meal came, and we ate. It was a sweet time with my girl.
All of the weird emotions and hot feeling up my spine disappeared.
Jesus had been present.
He cleared the path for Grace, and I , more than the waitress, needed Grace the most.
As I sat down to tell you this story, I pulled my prayer journal in close. I opened it up to the page from this morning...from my time with Jesus.
I had written down this verse. God had led it to me before my eyes were barely open to see...sleep was still settled into the creases of my lids.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people. Isaiah 58:6
After writing out that scripture passage, I wrote directly underneath
"Lord, I will free those who I have imprisoned by unforgiveness...."
By staying in the booth, by showing kindness despite my bubbling pride, I freed her from my own bitter hearted imprisonment.
How many have I held hostage, Lord? How many do I have wrapped up in chains due to my bitter heart of unforgiveness?
I saw her name on her name tag and will never forget it. She has not left my thoughts.
I have prayed for her throughout this day and will continue.
God put her in our path...He showed me the bitterness of my own heart at times.
He showed me that even after spending time at His feet that morning...
My heart will still bend towards wrong if I allow my emotions to take over.
Lord, let me represent You well. I want people to see Jesus. Even when it is uncomfortable.
praying for my waitress,