Yes, he is my husband. And yes, I am an adult, but I’m still growing.
Sometimes on vacation, at a restaurant or grocery store, and sometimes–well, often at a Starbucks he sees a stranger to pray for or encourage. He speaks life into people he doesn’t even know.
There have been so many times I have felt like I should pray for someone or give a very specific word to them or buy their meal, but every ounce of my love and courage gets swallowed whole, and there I wallow in the belly of fear.
But the obedience and courageous love within Kyle overcomes the insatiable appetite of fear’s diversions. Kyle allows the Jesus in him to be bigger than any hesitation. He may wrestle momentarily with apprehension, but ultimately breeches all bounds the enemy tried to place between him and that person who needs to hear his words.
On our way home from vacation last week we passed through Houston and stopped for an energy boost at a Starbucks in Hunstville, Texas. We ordered, used the restrooms, and grabbed our drinks from the barista. Just as I was about to push open the door and head to the car Kyle paused and gave me a look implying I should wait. He gestured to a guy sitting at a table I couldn’t see sitting behind a large display of merchandise. “I’m supposed to go tell that guy something… I just don’t know what it is yet.” Kyle ushered me back into the coffee shop.
A random guy at a table in Starbucks was about to be blessed and he didn’t have a clue. I think it’s even more electrifying for me to witness and watch when the Holy Spirit speaks to someone else through Kyle, because it is like second nature to him, but for me that kind of evangelism is much more difficult.
I shopped the new collection of Christmas-y mugs and holiday latte syrups next to Kyle while he waited for the specific words to say to this unsuspecting man behind the shelving.
How does he do it? How is he so brave to face the fear of rejection accompanying approaching a complete stranger with, “God wanted me to come tell you something…” I awed with wonder.
Within a few moments Kyle looked at me and assuredly said, “Okay, I’m supposed to ask what I can pray for him about. I’ll be back.” He turned the corner and disappeared behind the shelving unit and I heard him introduce himself.
I wanted to creepily peek around to watch how it was going, but instead I remained hidden, looking at the same small selection of mugs and coffee beans over and over, as if they were so very intriguing. I strained my ears trying to make out the few words of their conversation I could comprehend. I heard a few random words I could not place, but I then heard the faint words, “weeks along…” I could recognize that lingo anywhere. Someone this guy knows is pregnant! The rest of the conversation blended and my mind wandered.
About my thirtieth time reading the fluid ounces in a pump bottle of vanilla flavored latte syrup Kyle emerged. He called me over and asked if I had a pen. I shook the guy, Trevor’s hand and dug a pen out of my purse. Kyle wrote down some contact info for him and said we would mail him a book. I picked up on his reference to the book and began explaining how it is full of true, encouraging stories about God’s love and faithfulness during unplanned pregnancies. This guy looked shocked and encouraged. We wrapped up, said we’d be in touch, and headed back to the car.
Kyle told me how this guy is a senior at the nearby university and he leads a fraternity and a small group within this fraternity. When Kyle explained he felt like he was supposed to pray for him, Trevor replied that he had been having a rough day at the frat house and headed to Starbucks to read his bible. One of his good friends just found out his girlfriend was pregnant. There was a lot on Trevor’s mind, the mind of his friend, and his friend’s girlfriend. This was not what any of them had planned and they were all trying to process it together. He didn’t know what he could do to help or encourage them.
I knew I had heard mention of an unplanned pregnancy during my eavesdropping! My heart was bursting at the thrill of how God orchestrated us to walk into that Starbucks, knowing this guy’s situation and knowing that Kyle would be obedient to pray for him and get a copy of A Bump in Life into the hands of this overwhelmed, newly pregnant girl.
God will use all kinds of situations to get His words into the hearts of those who need to hear them–even a chain of people like this, where He placed it on Kyle’s heart to pray for Trevor, who has a good friend whose girlfriend just found out she’s pregnant!
I asked Kyle how he could make snapping the jaws of fear and approaching a total stranger look so easy and be so certain it would make a great testimony. He said he has been following through on these promptings for five years and God always shows up. It may not be immediately evident, but God always does something. Kyle said he still gets nervous every time he’s about to walk up to a complete stranger, even knowing God always shows up, but the regret of feeding fear and wondering “what if” would be worse.
And he is right. The smelly inside of the belly of fear totally stinks. I so admire his confidence and courage when he chooses for love to win. And the thing is, he doesn’t have to be confident in his own ability to say the right words or pray the right thing. Neither do you or I, like in the bible when David declares, “My heart is confident in YOU, O Lord…” (Psalms 108:1, emphasis added). The love, power, grace, and ability of God is way more than enough to work through us without a smidgen of our own efforts or additives. If we will just say YES to what, where, or whoever we are called to, God will work through us! In Him we can be confident.
I so badly want to be Kyle’s kind of obedient and brave, ever certain of the faithfulness for God’s words to come out of his mouth when walking up to a stranger. I am not there yet, but I’m still growing and have this goal in mind. I don’t know how many people didn’t hear the words they needed from my mouth, because I willingly fed myself to fear, but I know there are plenty more people who still need to hear something from God that just might come from my mouth.
There’s a copy of A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage During an Unplanned Pregnancy headed to a girl in Huntsville, Texas right now, who Kyle and I may never meet–a girl who might just need to read the stories in that book to encourage her to choose life and reassure her that God is holding her’s safely within His hands. How cool!
I’m going to set a goal to follow through with that stirring in my spirit at least once a month, whether it’s writing down a verse and giving it to a stranger, praying for them, or a very specific word for them. Once a month may not be much, but with each and every time I refuse to back down to fear I gain territory for the infectious love of Jesus to reach more people in need of His touch in their hearts and lives. And over time I do not doubt that in doing so, spreading that infectious love will become more like second nature for me, too, and happen much more often than one out of every thirty days.
Will you do the same? Will you make a goal to at least once a month go out of your way to follow through with praying for, giving a word of encouragement to, or doing something extra nice for a complete stranger? Ask God to highlight someone to you as you buy your groceries or go in to get your coffee before work. It can be a scary moment in those seconds preceding saying hello and introducing yourself, but God says our hearts can be confident in Him! He is the same God who has spoken and acted through Kyle for five years and probably many others for even longer, as they step out in faith and obedience to love people. Will you join with me to grow up to be this kind of big love in the coming months?
We would love to hear your stories of what happened or happens as you starve fear and allow the Jesus-sized love in you to be bigger than any voice of doubt while reaching out to love people you’ve never met before. Just say YES and watch as God sets up the coolest meetings with people you otherwise would have walked right past. And I will update you in the future with my testimony of Love showing up and loving big, too!
by Jacqueline Fox