Last night I had dinner with a woman named Suzie.
I had never seen or met her before. I wasn’t planning on talking to her…and I definitely wasn’t planning on having dinner with her.
I had had a pretty long day yesterday. Drove back from Cincinnati where I was at for a friend’s wedding. Went to church. Cried a ton during worship because God is awesome. Went to the park. Decided I was starving, so I ended up at Chuy’s in downtown Nashville by myself. I sat down at the bar (don’t judge…I was just trying to get in and out of there really quickly) and was totally in my own zone. I had a lot on my mind and almost didn’t even realize the woman next to me had her head down, shaking her head and seemed to be talking to herself. Out of nowhere, she turned to me and literally started spilling to me the situation she was in. I had to focus hard on what she was saying because she told me a ton of details, and most of them I could barely follow. Suzie had lived a rough past. In the hour and a half that we spoke and had dinner together, I learned that she was a victim of men who clearly disrespected women, didn’t really have a home to go to, and she had believed many lies that the devil was using against her in her life. I won’t share any specific details because a lot of them are pretty vulgar. (A woman actually had to come up to us and ask if she would quiet her profanity down because she had young children at the table with her) but I just listened. And in my quietness, I felt that God wanted me to ask her if she knew Him. So I did. At first she totally ignored the question and wouldn’t really give me a clear answer. So I asked again. Suzie told me that she did believe in God because she was Jewish, but did not believe or care at all who Jesus was. She made sure that I knew that she didn’t care at all who Jesus was. I learned that since she was a claimed Jew, she felt that Christians hated her and also said that Jews don’t care about Jesus because He was “kicked out” of their people when they put Him on the cross. I told her that I believed that Jesus was sent to Earth to die on the cross for our sins and that ALL of humanity put Jesus on the cross. I put Jesus on the cross. We all put Jesus on the cross. I told her that Christians love her and that I thought she was beautiful. I also told her that she deserved a life of happiness and joy because God created her for a purpose.
After we had finished eating, I offered to pay for her meal but she said it was already paid for. I gave her 20 bucks because I felt she needed it and gave her a hug. She then asked if I would come sit by her on the road while she had a smoke…so I did. I sat beside her and we talked about how she had tried quitting smoking and was going to try again. I told her it was horrible for her health. I will never forget what she said next…
There was a moment of silence and then she looked at me and said, “You just sparkle.” I laughed and asked her what made her say that. She told me that I sparkled just like bubbles in champagne (weird analogy, but I’ll take it). It seemed as if nobody had ever sat and listened to her like I had last night. Before we parted ways, I asked if I could pray with her. She was a character for sure and said that since she was Jewish, she wanted to hold my hands. So there we sat. Hand in hand at the bus stop on Broadway. I prayed over Suzie’s life that God would show her purpose and truth and that the both of us would live a life of joy despite any situation. I prayed that we would both start from that moment on to not live with the past in mind, but to look to the future with hope. As we got up, Suzie gave me a kiss on BOTH cheeks and said that she would look up my band on FaceBook the next time she had a chance ;). I left and was honestly replaying the past hour and a half in my mind repeatedly.
You see, Suzie and I have a lot in common. We both have a past where we have messed up. We both have a present in which we have decisions to make. We both have a future full of hope that the Lord has planned for us. We both could choose to live in the past and dwell on those things. We both could also choose to start right now to live a life that is pleasing to God that is full of such joy and happiness.
Suzie sure taught me that my eyes needed to be opened. She was just one woman on a Sunday night at a bar by herself….but how many people or conversations about Jesus have I just walked away from or missed because I was so focused on myself? It would have been way easier to have just eaten my meal at Chuy’s and told her I had to get home, and would have totally missed the opportunity to talk to her about what Christianity was all about and pray for her. I didn’t necessarily get to see Suzie come to believe in Jesus yesterday, and I don’t know what she was even thinking when she left. All I know is that God places us both in each other’s lives. I know that I want to pray that she stays safe and that God spoke to her through me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to “sparkle” for Christ yesterday. It felt so incredible to stand up for my Savior and my God who is constantly redeeming me and showing me mercy. What a God we serve, and what a privilege it is to be a part of His army and to just love on people. Let us always remember to open our eyes to the people around us.
Let us always remember to live from the inside out.
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”