“uprooted” Amos 9:15
I’ve talked about it a lot lately, all the changes in my life; working outside the home again, my son graduating from elementary school, finishing a two and a half year project, remodeling our house, changing churches, the list goes on and on. Life feels like it’s been turned upside down and I’ve been left trying to figure out where everything is again. And it seems like just when I’ve figured something out, I discover that I haven’t after all. Most of the changes have been good changes, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been difficult changes none-the-less. For instance, for the last seven years I have had my feet firmly planted in my home or in a church. I spent those seven years tending to my beloved children, writing to you all my friends and teaching Bible Studies where I’ve nurtured deep relationships with some gals that I love from the bottom of my heart. Now, for the last two months I’ve been leaving my children to go to Dollar General where my feet tend to stay planted behind a cash register and the only time I get to see my friends is if they come into the store to buy something.
I smile and greet customers, enter into surface level conversation with them, hand them their change and they’re out the door. And while I know in my heart of hearts it’s where God wants me to be, I’m having a very difficult time with the tremendous paradigm shift. I’ve been transplanted to a completely different environment and it’s taking a lot of getting used to! Not only am I surrounded with a different building, I’m surrounded by different people who use very… colorful language and reek of cigarette smoke that turns my stomach. There are some whose hands shake like leaves in the wind and take forever to write their checks. There are some who come and you have to hold your breath because if you don’t you may vomit from the intense urine odor. There are some who come who’s tempers are very short and conversation is clipped because they’ve just had “one of those days” and they want to get home and be done. There are some who come and they’re done with their children asking for things and begging for candy and not taking, “no” for an answer. There are some who come to buy wine or beer in the hopes that it will drown their sorrows, if just for a night. There are some who steal; some because they need it, others just for the thrill. And there are some who treat me like less than dirt just because I’m standing behind that counter serving them, they have no idea how highly educated I am, how many newspaper articles I’ve written or how many books I’ve published, nor do they care. I work at Dollar General and that means I’m less than they are because they have some high paying “important” job and I work at the dollar store. They’ve never considered the fact that if I wasn’t there doing my job, they wouldn’t have toilet paper tonight. Now whose job is more “important”?
I’ve been uprooted from my homey little insulated house with my little yard and my dusting rags to go and be transplanted with the salt of the earth. I see it all in there, all kinds of people with all kinds of problems all needing the One True God who sent His One True Son to be the savior of the world. They may have no clue who I am, but I know who they are. They’re orphaned children searching for a Father who loves and cares for them, a Father I KNOW personally. I know that they’re looking for something to heal and to help them, and I know that some of them are looking in all the wrong places. I pray for them constantly, without ceasing my heart goes out to them because I love them. I love the urine stained, palsied, smoke scented faces that come in and smile through tears. I love them, and I touch them. Even if for only the briefest of seconds, I’m given the honor of talking to them and I try to make them smile before they leave. A laugh can be amazingly powerful you know, so I try to make them laugh with me (or at me). I complement their shoes or their jewelry; I talk to their kids and remind the moms how adorable they are (when they’re not begging for things they don’t need). But most of all, I simply share my smile with them. Sometimes that’s what you need the most, for someone to smile a smile that says, “I love you because Jesus loves you. I do this because He cares for YOU.”
Is life playing out exactly how I hoped that it would, not really. I still haven’t gotten that call from the publisher who wants to PAY me to write for them. To be completely honest, I never wanted to work at Dollar General. I thought it was way beneath me. I wanted to spend my days searching scriptures and writing about them and then stepping onto stages and teaching people about them. Instead I’m searching aisles looking for places to put things and writing notes about how to get to that place down the street that someone is looking for and then stepping back behind the counter to ring up someone’s breakfast on their way to work. Is it my dream job? Not really. But I know God has His plans for me and that they’re good plans for me. And I know that this is part of that plan so it must be good for me no matter how hard or painful it may be. And I’m determined to bloom where I’ve been planted and to make that Dollar General bloom because I’m there. I carry with me, inside me, the blessing of Abraham. I have been blessed in order to be a blessing and by golly I’m GOING to bless that store while I’m there! From the toothbrushes, to the cigarettes, to the suppositories when someone buys something from that store they’re going to be buying something that has had a blessing of health and healing and conquering addictions spoken over it in Jesus’ name! They don’t know it, but I do and so does Satan. And there’s nothing he can do to stop it.