When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

A couple of weeks ago on the way home from the YMCA, I had a strange thought.

Stop by Starbucks. Get a gift card for a friend. Buy a cup of coffee.

Coffee? It’s 95 degrees. So hot outside I can’t breathe.

But my car turned into Starbucks.

Standing in line, I spotted two friends from my women’s small group. There was another lady with them. Someone I’d never met. She wore jeans. A cute sage-green top. Her hair was in a ponytail. They looked deep in conversation, so I smiled and waved. Didn’t plan to interrupt them.

I was in a hurry. Wearing  ugly workout clothes. No makeup. And they were busy.

But the soft Voice inside seemed to whisper, Go over and talk to them. 

I don’t want to.

Go say hello.

When I did, they invited me to join them. Colorful craft supplies lay on the table.

Uh-oh. 

I sat down on the edge of the chair. “Y’all know, I’m not craftsy.

My friends smiled. “We know. This is the lady we’ve been praying for in small group.”

I looked at her–with the eyes of my heart this time–and I knew who she was. 

Her child had been caught in sex trafficking. Operation Liberate is helping. It’s a Christian 501-3(c) non-profit organization.

At that moment, sex trafficking became real to me.

It’s happening right here.

Not in a third world country somewhere faraway. 

“I have an idea,” she said. “I want to make a lot bracelets to help get the word out.”

Get the word out.

Holy goose bumps traveled up my spine.

“You’ll never believe it,” I said. “Next week I’m going to the Christian Communicators Conference. I just found out I was randomly selected to give a five-minute devotional. I’d like to tell our group about your bracelets.”

“Really?” Her eyes filled to the brim. “Do you…do you think they’ll care?”

I couldn’t imagine her pain. “Of course. We all care when someone’s hurting.”

She spent the next four days making 40 bracelets.

I shared them with 36 ladies from all over the country. And they cared. Oh, how they cared. 

God’s gentle nudges are uniquely designed for each one of us. Click to tweet. 

Last night, a few of us from our small group made more bracelets. Some did the fancy, detailed work.

I used the paper-cutter. 🙂

So many times, when God’s Spirit prompts me to do something, I argue with Him. Or pretend I didn’t hear Him.

~~Buying a cup of coffee in the heat of the day seemed silly. 

~~I was wearing mismatched clothes and no makeup. I didn’t want to “interrupt” my friends. Pride got in the way. 

~~I didn’t want to do arts and crafts. Fear. 

Sometimes, interruptions are Holy Moments designed by God to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Click to tweet

Can you relate?

His Voice is so… very…soft.

Love,

Julie

Comments

  1. sandy coffey says:

    God lead you on that hot day into a coffee shop. Not necessarily to get the coffee but to lead you to your friends and introduce you to this other lady making the bracelets. Good for you going over to them. I always make a point of stopping by a table or where ever if I see a group of folks I know. Something just pushes me over there and I am basically a shy person. Always there to help someone everyday we can get up and move around. Hope the bracelets are a success.

    • You totally get it, Sandy! Yes! That’s what I was feeling–as if a gentle hand led me over.

      Thank you~ Your comment means so much.

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Beautiful post. God’s nudges are interesting. That day Six years ago when I reached out to you on Facebook, God nudged me to do so. As typical, I argued with Him about why that was a bad idea. I booted Him. So glad I did.

    • Anna Haney says:

      That should say “I obeyed Him.” Auto correct. Sigh

    • Anna, I can hardly believe it–God nudged you to reach out to me. And you argued?!!!

      I’m smiling. So very glad you listened to His Still Small Voice. Your friendship and encouragement is so very special to me.

      Makes my heart smile that we’ve become friends…though a God-prompt.

      xoxo

      • Anna Haney says:

        I was depressed at the time and felt like all my friends were tired of hearing me stress. I needed someone to talk to. God told me you’d understand. You’d been there. I told Him that you’d probably think I was nuts. You didn’t. I said something asking the lines of I felt useless and you said, “why you’re no such thing. You’re valuable.”

        • Anna, one day we will meet. And on that day we’ll sit and talk and laugh and cry. And I’ll tell you face-to-face just how much you mean to me. Even then, I probably won’t be able to express it.
          You’re so VALUABLE to me!

          And yes, I understood how you felt that day. For sure.

          So many times, after I press “publish” on a blog post, I’ll think, this makes sense to me, but surely nobody else has ever felt this way. Then I see your sweet face pop up in my comments. My faith returns.

          Love you dearly. I’m so glad you opened up and shared your heart with me.

          Love,
          Your Heart Sister

  3. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Just last week, I drew our Pastor’s Christmas letter from my stack of Christmas cards, was inspired by its message again, and felt a “nudge” to tell him and his sweet wife. I e-mailed them and shared a couple of lines from their letter than touched my heart, yet again, thanked them for all they do for college students and our church, and let them know I was praying for their family that day. I received a quick response back and his wife shared that she was having “one of those weeks” and the words I shared was just what her weary heart needed. They are both university professors, doing intense research on their subject matter (Theology/Religion, Anthropology, and Bio Chemistry and Molecular Biology), mentors their students, coach their sons’ athletic teams, and pastor us part-time. Whew! They truly are amazing people and we are blessed to have them. I was touched and humbled that I followed thru on that “nudge”.

    I appreciate SO much, Sweet Julie Girl, your continued sharing from your heart that touches so many of us! Blessings and prayers for continued inspiration….Brenda

    • Ohhh, Brenda, yes! Yes! This is exactly what I’m talking about. And we never know how much it can mean just to show someone we care. We’re thinking about them. We’re praying for them.

      It can move mountains and lift our spirits into soaring.

      I’m so grateful you said, “Yes.” I’m sure this family is too.

      Thank you so much for reading…and letting me know it made sense to you.

  4. Duckbumps. A big sigh. I close my eyes and pray. God put you right where you needed to be. Doesn’t He have a wonderful way of doing that?

    • Boy. Does He, B.J. He put me exactly where I needed to be in that exact moment–even though it made no sense to me.

      Coffee in Georgia on an August afternoon?

      I love you dearly~

  5. Such a good reminder to listen to those Spirit nudges!

  6. Melinda Franklin says:

    Your obedience to God’s leading is so encouraging and always uplifting. Thank you for sharing and encouraging others to listen and follow God’s will. God bless you, Julie.

    • Thank you, Melinda.

      I’m hugging you from here. I’m so glad He has reconnected us after all these years.

      I think maybe you were listening to His Still Small Voice when you invited me to lunch that day. 🙂 🙂

      So much love,
      Julie

  7. marci says:

    This is so uplifting Julie. God does have a way of getting us to where He wants us to be. I have presented my case to the Lord, when He seemed to be telling me to do something that somehow, didn’t make sense to me. “Really Lord? ” But when the Lord wants us to do something.. we need not question. The answer will become clear soon enough. That is always awesome to me.
    And how He can take the smallest thing to accomplish the greatest good. Only God can do that. And your sharing your little nudge has reminded me of some times when He gave me those little nudges, or I would happend to go to the grocery store at the same time as someone I needed to see. Or one time He held me home when I planned to run errands,.. and as I was feeling bad that I had not managed to get myself out the door yet, it became clear that it was God holding me there. Someone was about to take my husband’s combine. Had I left on time, by the time I returned the guy would have already taken it and it would have been gone. Your share. What a good reminder of how awesome the Lord works and how He can use us and work through us. A good reminder to listen to the little nudges, even when they don’t make sense to us at the time. God’s will. God Bless you dear Julie.

    • You said something so wise, Marci’a—when the Lord wants us to do something, we need not question. The answer will become clear soon enough.

      And God’s Spirit speaks in such a small voice–so easy to ignore, unless we want to hear Him.

      Love how He saved your husband’s combine!!

      xoxoxoxo

      • marci says:

        Thanks for your comment, always boosts my spirit.
        I am always in awe, each time it happens, but maybe that is a good thing!
        Those little God nudges, and God Winks.

        God Bless, and Love, Marci’a

        • And Marci’a, you do the same thing for me. Your comments and love and heart boosts my spirit. It’s mutual, my friend. 🙂

          Praying for lots of God nudges and winks for you this weekend!

          Love you~~~~

  8. Shelley Elaine says:

    Oh, what a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing…so…very…soft.

  9. Cindy says:

    I’ve been praying for a friend, her husband and her children. Her parents are unsaved, and she had been desiring for someone to pray for her kiddos like a grandparent would. My friend asked me to pray for another child that had been bullying others. I thought about that child on Monday (God’s whisper) and texted my friend about the bullying problem. She said that the child’s mom was unsaved and that she used to attend my friend’s Bible study group but had not attended in quite some time. She asked me if I could pray for the child’s mom. I added the mom to my prayer journal. Well guess who showed up at Bible study this week?! That mom! My friend invited her to a moms group at church on Thursday morning. The mom said she was a personal trainer and had conflicts with Thursday. Well, guess who called my friend back this morning and said she changed her appointments, and now she is going to the moms group on Thursday! It’s just so cool to see God move after you pray for something. He’s AWESOME!

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Cindy!!!!!!!

      Talk about listening and obeying!! This is such Good News!! And sometimes God moves quickly too! Like it seems He’s doing for this prayer request!

      Thanks so much for sharing~~~

  10. Monica Henson says:

    So glad we did arts & crafts that night. Love this post.

    Your equally non-craftsy friend.

    • Love it–you’re my equally non-craftsy friend!!! But God doesn’t seem to mind our shortcomings, does He?!

      xoxoxoxoxo

  11. Yes, yes, yes, Julie. You’re helping to change the course of history. Oh, praying to hear his voice ever more clearly!

    • So very humbling, Beverly–what happens when we are still and quiet long enough to hear. And obey.

      Much love, my friend.

  12. Jane Ensminger says:

    Thank you for eplaining what to me are “God nudges”. When the only reason we may find to explain why we may do something – like your unplanned visit to Starbucks, or my hour long conversation with someone where I exercise. Being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit is not always “explainable” and God certainly leads you into action, and by writing about it, may be the encouragement someone else needs to simply be open to that leading. A non-tweeting reader.

    • Yes, Jane. That’s it exactly!

      We can’t explain these nudges. They seem so small and insignificant. Those conversations when we feel Him tugging on our heart to give someone our full attention, and care.

      Thank you so much for reading, and letting me know it.

      So much love, my non-tweeting sister!

  13. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie,

    Hey wasn’t there another time you were prompted to buy a cup of coffee for someone? A coworker? And it turned out to be exactly right? I remember your story about that. I thought about that as I read your blog through for the second time. I remember telling you about the time the Lord prompted me to give a cup of coffee to a homeless man after hearing about your coffee encounter. Another story I heard once was about a car full of college kids on their way to a revival or some kind of speaking engagement when one of them who was normally very quiet piped up and said, we have to stop at that purple house right over there! They looked at her like she was nuts, but she maintained they HAD to go there! When they did, the woman who answered the door told them she’d been minutes away from hanging herself but offered one more prayer for God to show up if He really cared. She knew He’d sent this group of kids. I don’t remember the whole story, but enough to know that it’s really important to listen to those nudgings. I’m reading one of the GodWinks books right now that is about exactly that thing. I wonder what nudgings I’m supposed to be listening to right now that maybe I’m missing. Thanks for reminding me to think about that!

    Leafy 🙂

    • Yes, Leafy! I was going to the gastro and felt a strong urging to take one of the nurse’s a cup of coffee. I guess coffee is one of my love languages. 🙂 And I remember your coffee story and the homeless man.

      Ohhh, your purple house story…wow. And y’all showed up at just the right moment.

      I know what you mean about His nudges. He whispers in a voice without sound.

      I’ve been seeing some yellow leaves near our house and thinking about you. Our favorite time of the year!

  14. Oh, Julie. I’m praying for her daughter. It’s so scary out there. I pray with my daughter in college now and out and about by herself some, that she’ll heed the warnings I’ve always given her. Every time she leaves the house, I pray … pray for her merging onto the interstate, for every step she takes. Lord, surround her with good people, your people. Your post is a nudging for me to give her a gentle reminder. Thank you. xoxo

    • Thank you, Shelli. It touches me so deeply that you’re praying and you care. As mamas, it cuts so deeply, doesn’t it?

      Saying a pray right now for your girls. You are The Best Mama!

  15. Thank you for this encouraging post, Julie. I love that when we act in obedience He handles the outcome of our actions. Praying that I will always feel His nudges and hear His voice. Bless you for being sensitive to His leading.

    • Yes, Dee Dee, He’s given me a tender, sensitive heart. Sounds like you’re the same way.

      I have a feeling you’re doing a wonderful job of listening and obeying His nudges.

      XO

  16. Patricia Martin says:

    Yes, Julie, I can relate! I have often shoved that voice out of my mind when I am busy, proud, or just embarrassed!(): God has a voice that is worth listening to. I remember how shy I was when I felt a nudge to post a comment on a Guideposts writer’s Blog. I rarely post comments on blogs. I am so glad that I did as I have enjoyed reading her wonderful blog posts every other Wenesday! How is Katie?(((: said a prayer her today.(): please pray for my teeth as a few of them are bothering me. I love your attention to detail and am so glad you listened to that whisper!

    • Patricia, thank you. So many times I’ve ignored His voice. I just can’t imagine our blog (because it belongs to all of us here) without you. I’m SOOOOOOOOO glad you have the courage to post your thoughts.

      Katie, keep praying. I prayed for her over the phone this month–that in God’s timing and in His way, she’ll get to be a mommy. She loves being a step-mom–absolutely loves it.

      Your teeth? What’s going on…..

      xo

  17. I heard Glennon Doyle Melton on Oprah the other day say that she was beginning to understand the “be still and know,” verse to mean sometimes that voice is almost unheard- and you would “hear” the voice almost without words- you just “know.” It reminds me of your “gentle nudge.” You illuminate how in tune you are to Him and how you “hear” and “know” and it prompts you to just act, and not question too deeply. I’m just in awe of this whole process, and your example is just breath taking! Thank you for showing us how we too can do this! You make it so very relatable! Love!!

    • Vicky, thank you. Your words always go straight to my heart.

      I don’t know why I so often teeter-totter between obeying and ignoring. So often I ignore.

      Yes, yes, yes, Be still and know. So powerful. And so unlikely. Just think. Being still and knowing allows us to enter into His Presence and sense His nudges.

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

      • Kim says:

        I love, love “Be still and Know that I am God.” In a Bible study a couple of years ago, I learned that the word Know in the bible is often not meant how we think of it today. It is not just head knowledge. There is an intimacy intended with the word. To Know God is to have Practiced Walking with Him in Faith and Loving and Obeying… It is to have Experienced Him through Trusting… Just like your listening story here, Julie. This is Knowing God. Biblical Know is a Huge word!

  18. Carmella Russell says:

    Took me all week to get a chance to read you blog post! Going back to work full time outside of the house and I still in the organizing phase of my personal life & work life. But aah I’m happy that as I comment on your blog I was able to read it in a peaceful moment with an open heart! Thank you for sharing your Holy Moment❣

    Carm, ⚓️

    • Hey Carm!! Wow–that’s big news!! Share more! What’re you going to be doing?

      I’m always so, so, so thrilled to hear your voice. Honestly, I feel we know each other. The heck with virtual friendships!

      Praying you experience many Holy Moments in your new season in life.

      Love,
      Julie ~~~

      • Carm Russell says:

        After spending the first year of what I thought was my retirement grieving the loss of David, I found that I felt that moving further on in my life without him was not supposed to be about being home, retired, doing what I wanted, or not doing. I was being called to return to my chosen profession teaching science. There was an opening at a smaller district nearby. So I applied and was offered the job. The entire district is as big as the last HS alone I taught at. So I’m loving it. I have 4 sections of physical science and 3 of chemistry. A year ago I would have said no way would I go back but…
        Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
        but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

        xoxo

        • Tears, Carm. Tears.

          I’m soooooo thrilled for you. His kind of Joy. Wish I could be sitting in your classroom.

          So much love~~~~you are such a wise lady.

          • Carm Russell says:

            Thank you for the kind words! If am wise it only by God’s grace.

  19. What an amazing story, Julie. Good thing you acted upon the Voice. I remember turning a deaf ear to the inner stirring every time when I was younger. God knows how many opportunities to bless or be blessed I’ve missed then because I thought it was silly.

    I’d like to help in this ministry. How do we promote this?

    • You and me both, Lux. I’ve missed so many opportunities.

      So kind of you to offer to promote this. Tomorrow night, we’re going to make more bracelets. Let me find out what to tell you….

      Back soon!

      xo

      • Thanks, Julie. It’s a simple gesture that I’m sure will benefit many.
        Looking forward to that. 🙂

        • Hey again, Lux.

          If you’d like to re-post my blog on your site, that’s totally fine. If you’d like to mention the bracelets and give my blog link, or the link to Operation Liberate, that’s fine too. We made more bracelets last night. 🙂

          It’s Operation Liberate dot com. The Home Page has a click here spot at the bottom right, under donate. That leads to where people can choose their color of bracelet and put their mailing address. Thank you. Whatever feels right to you to spread the word, is wonderful.

          xoxo

  20. God still speaks and moves today. You heard. Obeyed. Nothing is sweeter to our Father. This vivid scene explains scripture so beautifully. Again, I thank you. Mother

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