Basketball, Taco Bell & Jesus

img1457850293919It’s 2.5 hrs from my place to the Convo, both ways. Tonight was my 4th trip there in 2 weeks as the team my son coaches is playing for a chance to go the Final Four in the State Tournament. I prayed all the way there “God bless my boy tonight.  Give him wisdom against his opponent.  Bless all the boys.  Give them strength & endurance.  And in our Victory – may YOU get the glory.”  I was blessed to hear my son thanked God first and foremost in his post-win interview.  I’m proud of him for many things – but not being afraid to thank God – and my knowing it’s not “cliché” for him –  is what I’m the most proud of.

After screams and cheers and boys running around the gym and through the stands; radio interviews, hugs and pictures… it was time to finally go home.  I left the Convo thinking “This night couldn’t get any better!” and “I’m starved!!”   I remember seeing an exit with some good restaurants not too far down on my way back.  I’ll go through a drive thru there.  But I didn’t.  Why?  Can’t really say, but it didn’t seem right to stop, yet.  Re-living the evening in my head I suddenly realize I’m a bit more than ½ way home.  There’s a McDonalds in Peebles.  Yep!  Sweet tea sounds good!  But instead, I drove by.  Why?  Can’t really say, but it didn’t seem right to stop, yet.  Got to Mt. Orab – I’m almost home at this point and so hungry my stomach thinks my throat is cut… and I pull in and get out.  What?!?  What am I doing?  Why am I getting out, here, in the middle of nowhere? It’s dark.  There are only 2 cars there.  The other restaurants around are closed.  Why am I parking and getting out?  I had intended, and almost always do,  go through the drive thru!  It’s 11:45pm are they even still open?  As I walked up to the doors looking for the hours, the lady said “Come on in”!!  Another girl took my order, but this woman kept looking at me, smiling, making conversation.  Then it started…. She came out from behind the counter and joined me at the pop machine.  We talked about hair color, etc. and then that nudge came.  Ah….now it’s starting to make sense why I passed all those other places, stopped, got out and came in.  Wasn’t my plan I was following.  It was that prayer I prayed this morning “God put someone in my path today.” I asked her name?  “Judy” she replied.   “Hi Judy, I’m Kris.  I feel like I’m supposed to pray for you…is there something going on?”  Once the shock wore off her face from my very bold question,  she said “Yes, please!  I’ve been clean a little over a month.  I’m in church.  I’m doing good.  But somedays I still struggle… and I want to stay clean!  Will you please pray for me?” I could’ve said “Yes Judy, I’ll remember you in prayer.”  But instead, I sat down my pop and burrito on the counter and hugged her.  Then I took her hand and we prayed right there in the middle of Taco Bell; for strength to continue this journey, protection against the enemy that would fight her, and peace of mind.  She said “Thank you Kris and hugged me back.”  As I was getting ready to walk out the door, she grabbed my elbow and twirled me around with tears in her eyes…. “God does love me!  Doesn’t he?  I mean I think he sent you in here tonight for me because I’ve been praying for him to stay with me through this…to send me a sign he’s with me…”  My reply.. “Oh Judy, he does indeed love you.  You see, I pray every day ‘God put someone in my path I can help today, or someone who can teach me something.’  I just drove 2 hours and passed many restaurants and I left hungry!!  I always go through a drive thru when I’m alone.  I had no intention of coming into the dining room tonight – yet something drew me in.  And once I was in here, he nudged my heart to speak to you.”  We hugged again as tears fell…

And just when I thought my night couldn’t get any better! I don’t share this story to say “look at me” – not at all.  I’m nothing more than obedient.  I share this story to say “Look at God!!!”  I couldn’t even pray with someone in public 3 years ago.  I was on my 2nd “Cheeseburgers and Jesus” and I was all about handing out the burgers, loving on the people, but praying?!?  That’s when I said “Hey, someone get over here” or I just joined hands while they prayed.  Until the day God got sneaky and put me in a situation where if I didn’t pray for the girl, she didn’t get prayer.  So I did.  And once you conquer your fear?  You become fearless!!

We live in a dying and hurting world.  We’ve lost touch with the human condition and connection that binds us together.  I shared this story for 2 reasons:  God is no respecter of persons.  He’ll use you just like he does me if you simply ask, and then listen for that still small voice.  Be intentional about those around you.  Be the answer to someone’s prayer.  I once read “Someone else’s miracle is on the other side of your obedience.”  And for someone out there tonight who’s hurting.  Who’s reading this and thinking “Does God really love me?!?”  He does!! Promise.  Keep believing!  Keep fighting!  Keep moving forward one more day!!

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