The Booth at Panera’s

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First of all, Happy Mother’s Day! (Hey, even if you don’t have kids, you have a mom, right?) Hope you all had a special time with your family and/or friends.

Second of all, thank you to all of those who attended or supported our family friend, James, with his fund raiser for his missions trip to Africa. It was quite the success! 🙂

This week, say hello to a good ole’ fashioned blog. (No video blog). I wanted to share with you something really cool that happened last week. I went home and wrote this right after it happened. Here it is…

It’s been a rough week. Something happened that left me shocked and speechless, and other times sad and confused. Over the past few days, I vary between handling it okay, and sometimes the whole thing really gets me down. Occasionally my mind wanders and I wonder a little where God is in all this. Now before you get all Bible-quoting on me, ☺ I KNOW in my head that God is there, but sometimes it doesn’t FEEL like it, you know? Are you watching, God? I know this is an age old question, but when it hit me personally between the eyes, I wondered it all over again–before I caught and reminded myself that “fair” isn’t the name of the Bible. It’s not the “Fair Bible”. It’s the Holy Bible.

Rats. I’d really like my Christian life to be fair.

But this is just the intro to the REAL story. That is just the set up. ☺

I’ve been doing okay. I’m hurt, and I feel misunderstood. But over the last few days, I’ve tried to look at the big picture and see God’s hand in this. I know he didn’t make this happen, but I’m asking what’s in store. He’s known for taking bad things and making good out of them, right?

Today I was at Paneras with Kailey. We hate coming around lunchtime, because there never is a booth available. And the tables are always squished together. There’s not enough room to sit comfortably, much less have a private conversation. When we got our food, there was only one table available, in the middle of everything and even skinny Kailey had a hard time wedging herself into the space allotted for us to sit. As we took our first few bites, a booth opened up! We made a rush for it, like two gold diggers, staking out our claim.

As we stealthy slid into the booth seats, I noticed an elderly gentleman hobbling toward the booth we just took over. He stopped, changed directions and then continued to move to our table we just abandoned. I realized after we sat down, we had just taken this booth from him with our quick and somewhat-nimble actions.

I watched as he poured himself into the same spot Kailey just left. He got frustrated and gave the table a good shove. I felt so bad. The older I get, the more I understand how it feels to be old. It stinks. Everything hurts. And being wedged into a table is not an idea of fun. So I got up, walked over to him and asked if he would like our booth. Told him I realized too late that we had taken it from him. Just then his wife walked up and he looked at her with a little look of surprise on his face. They accepted our offer, thanking us. We exchanged tables. I thought that was the end of it.

As Kailey and I were eating, another older gentleman came up and said, “I just saw what you did, and I want to give you something. Kindness like that should be noticed.” He then handed Kailey and me each a movie ticket voucher. It was my turn to be surprised. It felt good. And something inside clicked. I started crying. I couldn’t help myself. Right there, sitting at that squished table, in the middle of everything.

It was as if God was saying, “You’re okay, Laurie. I know you feel beat up right now. But in spite of it all, I’m watching and I love you. You are my child and just when you need it, I come to you looking like a 75 year old man, with movie vouchers.”

Then, when I could barely hold myself together because of the God moment I was having there in the middle of Paneras, the wife of the booth-trader came by and gave me a Panera cookie, thanking me. God again whispered in my ear, “Just in case you missed it the first time…you are a person of value and I love you.”

I’m no different from you. We all feel “beat up” from time to time. And in our finite minds, it’s hard to figure out. But God IS always there. Sometimes in human form. Thank you, Lord, for your reminder. ☺

I’d love to hear from you! Share a time when God came to you when you most needed Him.

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About lauriebarkercopeland

I'm just like you, but totally unique. We have things in common, but we are all God's one-of-a-kind creatures. I enjoy finding The Funny in life when it gets messy. And we all know how life can get messy, right? Some of the things I love: God, family, friends, storytelling, community, nature, the arts, beauty, travel, fun and games, learning, the study of the personalities, teenagers, acting, writing and missions. More specifically: the mountains, the beach, breathing clean air, traveling to new places, experiences, deep conversations, appreciating the minute in nature, lunching with girlfriends, practicing sensing, predicting trends, taking a few risks along the way. I hate routine, so starting (and keeping up) this vlog is risky for me...but I love community (and a few risks), so I'm going for it! I hope you join me and we can have some Serious Fun together!

15 responses »

  1. We’re all in a state of feeling God nudge us when we least expect it. You were nudged after catching a glimpse of the fella headed to your 2nd seating location. The Holy Spirit kicked in to action and there’s Your nudge. Gentleman with movie tickets got a nudge. His was to reward you Wife of gent # 1 got a cookie nudge. Okay, hers was to show gratitude. Meanwhile, can’t you See your heavenly Father busting a big grin? His people; living out “goodness and mercy” among one another! And one of them? She sprinkled the festivities with some tears of Joy. Thanks for sharing. Really.

  2. We all have challenges and obstacles that we face. Sometimes we just have a ‘bad day’. We can get negative and discouraged and overwhelmed…or NOT…
    What? That’s right,we have a choice in how we handle our lives .When we allow our JOY to rise up, we can focus anew. We will be ready for the LORD to move in us and through us.
    . I’m so glad you were available today Laurie and Kailey. I know today, not only were the people you interacted with blessed. I believe even those around you ‘watching’ were witness to how GOD operates. Let’s focus on HIM and see ‘GOD in action’.

  3. Sad? Confused? Hurt? Huh? You should be dancing in the streets celebrating our good God who always comes through in special ways. Thank God that you could be acting as the angel who helped the older couple. God certainly rewarded you in super-special ways. Remember – God loves you and you deserve every good thing that he sends your way. BTW, I’m older than you — how about reserving ME a booth at Panera’s!! (Just realized – maybe you were “hurt” squeezing into that little space at the table.)

  4. It’s the “little” things, eh? Seems like that’s when God speaks the most clearly and powerfully. Thanks for sharing that story…brought a tear to my eyes. (By the way, I got a Panera gift card from a student last week..I will think of you when I use it!)

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