Last week I spoke with one of my best friends. We had plans to get together for a couple of hours at her pool on Saturday, when she surprised me with a text asking if we could, instead, go to a nursing home and visit with some of the mothers that don't get too many visitors.

I jumped at the chance.

You see, my mom showed me grace in action when I was growing up- making the same visits to nursing homes-with blueberry muffins in tow. 

She picked me up on Saturday AM and we headed to IHOP to catch up over breakfast. We had a sweet young girl that waited on us. When it was time to pay the check my bestie grabbed the check and excused herself to the restroom. I asked her to let me tip. I normally don't keep cash, but I had a bit in my purse. As I was counting it, I clearly heard GOD say, "bless her big." I heard Him but that doesn't mean I immediately obeyed. Sometimes my flesh gets in the way of my walk. I counted my money again and considered giving her smaller bill but I obeyed, in the end. As she passed my table, I pressed the bill into her hand, telling her that GOD told me to bless her, and to keep smiling. She thanked me, profusely, and walked away. We left IHOP and were halfway to our car when another waitress chased us down. I thought maybe my girlfriend had forgotten her card, instead this time she pressed a note into my hand. It was from our waitress. She thanked me for the gesture and then reiterated it again; finally she told me just how much it meant to her. 

I cried tears of JOY in that parking lot.

That was the first blessing.

We headed to Publix to grab the flowers for the women that we had identified. We were causing quite a scene, gathering 7 vases of flowers. We sat down to fill out the cards, I noticed the woman working in that particular department smiling at us. 

"That is a really sweet thing y'all are doing for those ladies," to which I replied,"its not me. It the ONE that lives in me." I felt the strong urge to know more about her, to encourage and pray for her. We embraced, Phyllis and me. I asked her how I could pray for her. She said, "oh for strength," and I said, "but specifically how can I pray for you?"

She went onto tell us how she was caring for her elderly mother, how honored she was to do it, but it still, how hard it is at times.  We loved on her and left, promising to pray for her. 

I asked my girlfriend after we got into the car if we could pray for Phyllis right there. She obliged. We prayed for Phyllis, and her mama, right there in the Publix parking lot. Pretty remarkable, if you think of it, Phyllis was a perfect stranger just minutes before, now we were praying for her outside of her work. 

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That was the second blessing.

Fast forward to the nursing home. You can imagine my surprise when we walked into the first room, the recipient of the flowers reminded me so much of, soul-mate, grandmother that I instantaneously felt tears of joy brimming from my eyes. Her smile, the shape of her shoulders, her hair, even her phrases, all strongly resembled my precious grandmother. After hearing all about her life, the tragedy and the joy, I left promising to call her soon to check on her. 

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That was the third blessing, but it wasn't over. 

We left their room and continued onto the next scheduled room, but there was a beautiful lady sitting in the hallway. My girlfriend made a great decision to give her the extra set of flowers we brought. Her name was Ophine and she is 100 years old. My grandmothers' name is Ophelia. 

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We finished visiting, and handing out flowers, and headed towards the door with full and happy hearts. I looked over one last time before leaving and glanced down at a man's chair, it read "Mr. Snow." My grandmother's married name was Snow. Chills ran up and down my body, I literally felt like I was kissed from heaven. 

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I went home to get ready for a black-tie Catorceaneria for my precious friends that evening. I chose to go stag. I was pretty stoked about being my own date, until I realized I couldn't get my dress all the way zipped. I made it about 99 percent of the way, before just deciding I would enlist the help of the first female I found. (I'm a mess; I know.) I whispered a prayer for a female Uber driver. Half in jest. The notification popped up on my phone, Sandra was coming to get me. I just smiled and shook my head. I use Uber fairly often, and in my history of being a customer with them, I've maybe had five female drivers. I told Sandra that I prayed for her as she finished zipping my dress and helped me get into the car. The trip to the event was heartfelt, passionate, real and empowering. We both agreed that our meeting was divine. We poured into one another and encouraged one another. Again, I cried tears of joy. I loved her so much that we snapped a pic together before I walked into the party. 

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After having time to reflect on this amazing day, I can clearly see the dots connect. I feel the act of giving at IHOP set off a chain reaction of grace, of blessings, of love, remembrance and joy….pure joy

I hope you set off your own chain reaction soon!

 

-Rachel Joy