I picked the perfect hot pink polish and relaxed into the big cushy massage chair as the glorious warm water swirled about my feet. Oh sweet pedicure! What heaven to escape for an hour with a fashion magazine, solitude and an awesome leg massage!
Or so I thought.
Typically an anonymous Asian woman starts the water in the foot bath as I check Instagram on my phone, or answer emails or texts. It’s easy to remain distant, disconnected and disinterested in the human being who is dutifully washing my feet.
Today though, I felt the Lord prompt me to engage. “Talk to her, ask her name.” I’m fully aware our cultures are miles apart and she serves while I’m the one being served. But we’re both women so I knew there had to be common ground somewhere and I made a choice right then to close my cellphone and open my mouth. I learned her name is Kim and, no surprise, she’s from Viet Nam. So I asked questions and she began to share about her life.
I learned she’s been in America for ten years and has two children, a girl, eighteen just starting college and a boy who’s ten. She got married in Viet Nam and was blessed with the opportunity to come to America because her husband was in the military.
I asked her if she ever gets back to Viet Nam. With a hint of sorrow in her voice she told me she went back last year to see her whole family who still live there but unfortunately can never come here. She has to go to see them, but only during the years she can afford it.
As I spoke to her and we chatted a bit more, I was struck by how easily I let so many human beings who daily cross my path remain anonymous. Service people. The girl checking out my groceries. The college kid making my chai latte, the waitress serving my burger. Or, this precious lady studiously scrubbing my feet and expertly polishing my toes.
Just the act of her sitting at my feet reminded me of how Jesus served without fanfare. As she applied the hot pink polish He gently whispered this:
She has worth too.
She is not anonymous. She has a story. A compelling story in fact. And she’s not so different from me.
I decided right there and then I want to get to know her. I realized as women, wives and mothers Kim and I have far more linking us together than pushing us apart. I’m hoping we can be friends with no ulterior motive meaning, I won’t try to convert or proselytize, although it would be amazing if she saw so much Jesus in me that she simply had to know about Him. No, I want to get to know her because I really like her but also because of this:
Jesus values her and loves her as much as He values and loves me.
I’m eager to get to know her, to request her when I go back next month, to choose the super-duper extra special aroma-therapy $4o pedicure so I have more time with her and to tip her very well so she remembers me. I’ll put my money where my mouth is or, in this case, where my feet are. Jesus has shown me that she matters and He’s put me in her path and He’s teaching me an important lesson.
Each of our lives are critical to the story of redemption. Each of us can have extraordinary impact by ordinary acts of kindness and attention, by listening and engaging with the people in our path. The people loved by God.
We don’t have to be heroes, we just have to notice, open our mouths and engage.
I’ll be praying for Kim. For her salvation of course but also for her family, her husband and kids, for blessing on her life and protection and whatever else the Lord puts on my heart.
We all say we want to impact our world and live big God-Sized dreams and believe me, so do I. But what if I start with just one? Maybe the one I’ve never noticed before. Who knows, maybe in a year she and I will be real friends and our families will share meals together. Maybe I’ll get to meet her husband and children. I don’t know what God has for our relationship but I won’t ignore her, I can’t do that anymore.
There are so many folks that cross our paths who are easy to forget. But I don’t want to forget, I want to make the extra effort, go the extra mile. I want to be more willing to love, to smile, to talk, to shine love to someone I wouldn’t usually talk to. To turn my ordinary acts into extraordinary love as I embrace the small ways of making an impact and living like He lived.
Imagine if each of us who calls ourselves a Christian committed to connect with just one person we normally wouldn’t even notice, to give without asking anything in return. To lay down our personal agenda and simply show Christ’s love. To wash their feet. I believe we would change the world. One pebble dropped in the middle of an ocean will become a tidal wave by the time it reaches the far off shore. And one intentional act of love can be the beginning of changing the world.
For me it starts with my willingness to reach out and connect with just one Vietnamese pedicure lady.
As God is challenging me, I’ll share the challenge with you.
Who do you know?
What a wonderful message – thanks for sharing it with us. People are all around us wearing masks covering up pain, loneliness, emotional hurt, etc. and just the simple act of a smile, saying hello, or trying to get to know them, can totally change their day, as well as our own. Love you!
Hi Teresa! It’s amazing who God will put in our path if we just pay attention! I can be so distracted by the little things I miss the opportunity to reach out to those right in my path. Thank God for His faithfulness to remind me to reach out in those everyday places I can so easily forget about! Love you too friend 🙂
What an inspiring message. So many times we look at others and miss their worth. Jesus see’s that worth in all of us and we need to remember that share that message with them. Everyone has a story and most people want to share it and are just waiting for someone to ask them. Thank you for your inspiration. I am going to put my cell phone away at my next pedicure and learn more about the person who God loves too.
Angela–I’m so glad! I’m sure whoever she is will be blessed by you’re taking an interest in her. Thank you and blessings 🙂
AMEN… GOD IS AMAZING… I AM AT WORK (2ND JOB WEEKEND OVERNIGHT) … AND GOD GAVE ME A VERSE TO A SONG (RAP) I’M CREATING IN MY HEAD… IN WHICH THE LINE READS: HE HAS ME WASHING FEET LIKE I DO NAILS… SO AFTER THAT LINE POPPED IN MY HEAD… THE HOLY SPIRIT PROMPTED ME TO LOOK UP THE PROCESS FOR A PEDICURE WHICH BROUGHT ME TO YOUR POST/TESTIMONY. .. WHICH IS A BLESSING AND CONFIRMATION OF HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS BEEN LEADING MYSELF AND MY WIFE… THE TRENDING TOPIC OF OUR CONVERSATION LATELY HAS BEEN. ..” WE ARE THE IMAGE OF GOD, AND GOD IS LOVE, SO WHEN PEOPLE SEE AGAPE LOVE IN US THEY SEE GOD”…
OUR JOB IS JUST TO BE ACCEPTABLE VESSEL FOR GOD AND HE’LL DO THE WORK. .. IN JESUS NAME. ..
P.S. EXCUSES THE CAPS…I AM NOT YELLING… NOR IS IT NOT MEANT TO BE FORCEFUL… BUT INSTEAD EXPRESSES THE VIGOR HAS PLACED INSIDE ME.
I LOVE YOU ALL WITH A BROTHERLY LOVE… GOD BLESS !!!
Thank you for your kind words Tim! I’m sorry it took me awhile to reply–we moved recently and I just got internet access. Blessings!
Hi Kate! I somehow missed this one, but the title was intriguing when it popped up after your latest email with the link to your latest post with Wendy Speake- (I am going to buy that book and give it to my daughter and DILs for Christmas) It was amazing btw. But this post, drew me in. Where I go to get my nails done it’s practically a family affair- Mom, 2 sons, one son is married to a young woman who works in the shop. There is one young woman there who wears a simple silver cross, I’ve not had the opportunity to talk with her much, but there on the table as one walks out is the food offering they lay out daily. I realize that it’s an opportunity that I must seek out with them and ask more questions and engage. for the most part I’ve chatted little, instead of checking in and having real conversations. I’m going to make a point of praying about this before I go in the next time and pay attention to the Holy Spirit instead of just chilling! thanks! hope you are enjoying your new house! N
Hi Nancy–I’m so glad the post drew you in! It’s easy to want to chill when we get pedicures but I try to look for open doors and see where God takes the conversation. I’m glad you’re going to get the book, it’s so good!! We aren’t in our new house quite yet but closing today and hopefully the moving truck will arrive Thursday. Hugs! 🙂