The other day as I was making my way through a census of about a dozen babies I came across a relatively unremarkable photo session.
The photo session itself was not particularly memorable. The pictures were pretty standard. The room had been sparse and not any “extras”, no hats, blankets, or special outfits were around to incorporate into the photo session. In fact, there was only mom & baby. Looking back, that should have been the most remarkable thing about the session.
After I photographed the baby and I went through my spiel about package options and such, mom had responded that she thought she would like the $19.95 keepsake but had to see if her step-mom could cash her check for her because she didn’t have the money right there. I told her I’d stop back later to see if she wanted to place her order.
From the moment I stepped out that door I had the feeling that I should buy her the photos. I mulled it over in my head. What package would I get her? How much was I willing to spend? What would I tell her? Would she even care? I have been in situations like this before and have allowed myself to over think the situation so much I literally think myself out the act of kindness. Not this time.
As I was preparing for the next room, the nurse that was assigned to that mom came up to me and said, “That mom is only 17 years old. And NO ONE has been in to visit her since she delivered.” Well, that sealed the deal. I had to look away from the nurse because tears started flowing. At that point I knew that God was speaking to me and I needed to listen. It was not my idea to help that girl but God’s and I needed to carry out His will.
I also knew I needed to give Him credit for it because clearly without Him it wouldn’t have happened. Yet, sadly this was the most difficult part. I do many things in my life through His guidance but hardly ever (never?) straight out say that it was done through God’s will. I debated with myself, does it really matter? Will she be offended? And then it dawned on me that hesitating to give Him glory was actually denying His presence in my life and maybe therefore in someone else’s life. This time I was not going to be like Peter.
The bible story of Peter denying Jesus always struck me as so sad. I always thought that I would never deny Jesus if I were him. And yet, here I was trying not to associate myself openly with Him. Even in today’s world it is often times uncomfortable to be known as “religious” or a “Christian” and too many times I have taken the easy way out by not openly identifying myself with Christ. Not this time.
After much thought and prayer, I finally made it back into that room. I started by asking her if she had decided on a package. She pointed to what she must have thought was the least expensive option which I had to explain to her was really just an add on to a more expensive option. Finally getting up the nerve I told her I would like to buy her the photo book which would give her all the images. She sweetly told me that she would like that but didn’t have the money right now. I explained that I would pay for it. Again, tears in my eyes-I’m such a sap! When I composed myself, I then told her that God was telling me to buy it for her. Her reply was, “That’s amazing!”. Yes, God is amazing!!
Every day as I walk into work I try to say this prayer:
Lord, grant that I may allow myself to be guided by you, always follow your plan and perfectly accomplish your holy will.
Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you may require of me.
Help me to respond to the slightest prompting of your grace so that I may be your trustworthy instrument.
May your will be done in time and eternity by me, in me and through me. Amen.
That day I really got to feel that being done.
This isn’t something I’m writing about because I think I did something better than someone- I know there are so many people doing much bigger things every second of the day- but rather how good it felt to do something good in God’s name. I know this small act had a great impact on my life and I trust in God that his plan for that mom and little baby is pretty awesome too!
So if the next time I do something from God’s prompting, don’t be surprised if I happen to give Him a shoutout and
DON’T JUDGE ME.