I have a confession to make. I don’t drink coffee, but I am addicted to Starbucks.
I know. It’s a problem. And I’m planning to deal with it, really I am.
It’s just that the creamy spice of the Chai tea latte has won my heart … a venti-6-pump-3-splenda-no-water-no-foam-extra-hot Chai tea latte, to be exact. And even though that order sounds TOTALLY high maintenance, the baristas assure me it’s easy compared to some of the drinks they‘re asked to make. I’m not sure if they’re just saying that to make me feel better, but I’m choosing to believe them.
This problem is so serious that a few weeks ago, when my friend was coming over to visit, she texted me to ask the high-maintenance-details of my drink, so as not to get it wrong when she brought it to me. But I didn’t see her text in time.
By the time I answered her, she was already halfway to my house with the drink in tow … the drink she got perfectly right because the baristas knew exactly how to make it when she told them it was for me! Ugh. Embarrassing, right? I know. I know.
So anyway, as I continued my conversations with the Lord, begging Him to use me in whatever ways He sees fit, I began frequenting a new Starbucks. It opened right near my house with a drive through and everything. A real Starbucks, not just the inside-the-grocery-store-kind. And I’ve come to know most of the baristas by name, and they know me too, making me feel so welcomed each day.
One morning back in December, as I was using my gold card to pay, I felt a very strong impression to give the barista my business blogging card. Immediately I wondered whose bright idea that was. I didn’t miss a beat in beginning my internal arguing faster than an auctioneer could ask for a price … besides, I didn’t even think I had a card with me. But as I waited for my drink, I looked in my wallet, and wouldn’t you know, I had just one card with me? One. Hmmm.
The arguing continued…
“If I give her a card then she’ll know my story …
I’ll no longer be obscure and unknown …
besides, she’ll think I’m so silly,
And what could she possibly say back anyway?”
But as I continued to wait, the impression wouldn’t go away.
I picked up my drink, added some half and half (because that makes all things better), and opened the door to leave. But as my hand touched the handle it screamed in my heart loud and clear…
“So … are you going to obey?
I’m asking you to give her the card.
Will you get past being uncomfortable and do it anyway?”
I stopped dead in my tracks, let go of the door, and turning around, I walked straight to her. I apologized for sounding weird, told her I was a blogger and that I wanted her to have my card. And I couldn’t believe the warmth of her genuine response.
She smiled wide and without skipping a beat, couldn’t believe it at all. She told me how she was a writer too and how her and a friend have been wanting to learn how to write better. She couldn’t have been more thankful and excited to have received my card.
Wow. Only God. Who would have known?
Over two months went by and I continued to see the Starbucks baristas there. And one morning as I exited the store and walked back to my car, I saw her wheeling the trash cans back from the dumpster, this barista to whom I’d given my card–the one I’d discovered was the manager of the store. She said hi to me, called me by name and asked if she could talk to me.
I grew a bit nervous, wondering what it could be, and then she simply asked for more cards, saying she wanted to give them to some of the other baristas inside … to the other baristas! I opened the car, retrieved some cards, and handed them to her. No questions, no comments, she just wanted more cards, and I handed them over with a smile.
I still don’t know any more than that, and I may never.
But one thing I do know, God wants to use us.
He wants to use you and He wants to use me.
He wants to work and move through us, as we sense His Holy Spirit and are surrendered His way.
I’ve heard some say they don’t think God intimately interacts with us, or that we can experience Him in real and practical ways. They refuse to believe God would use us for His purpose and for the growth of our own faith.
But I wholeheartedly disagree.
Could it actually be that we miss intimate interactions with Him because we are not actively looking for Him in our everyday moments?
Not listening in for His still small voice?
And not really willing to obey anyway? Perhaps because we’d be embarrassed and feel awkward and it’d be just more uncomfortable than we’re willing to take.
I don’t know what will come of my blogging-card baristas, but I do know as I continue to see them every day (ahem!) I’m praying for them.
Praying that God would use this mercy-and-grace space to help them know how much He loves them.
Praying they’d know there’s nothing that can separate them from His love … nothing they’ve done and nothing they’ve failed to do.
And I’m continuing to pray for each of our hearts as well … that we would not be too deaf to hear His voice, too proud to respond to His call, or too busy to be part of His story.
The story He wants to weave in and through us, using our very lives that He may be glorified through us. What a gift. And I’m so very thankful.
What has God asked you to do?
What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?
Old gospel songs
New spring growth
Rose buds standing tall
Yellow flowers on the tree
Tulips in the sun
Brushing long hair
Bruise on a forehead
A new first loose tooth
Late nights writing
Worship in community
A project turned in
A new BLAST beginning
Snow melting on pine needles
Cool breezes blowing in
Passion iced tea
Late Friday dates
Talking into the night
His blood being enough
Believers to work with
Called to belong to Him