When do you feel accepted ... just the way you are?
With family and friends .... ?
In a room of strangers .... ?
Most people would say ... family and friends.
Our middle boy, James, found out a total stranger can make you feel accepted .... just the way you are ... no conditions.
A few weeks ago, our family attended a carry-in at our new pastor's home. A group of church members flocked into his home with cold meat sandwiches, chocolate pie, cherry delight, soup ... ready for food and fellowship.
The kitchen was filled with the aroma of home cooked food. And, smiles.
The thing is ... James is a picky eater. Jerry and I have (and are continuing) to work on this issue. Nothing set out was on his ... "I eat that" list. I talked to him before we walked into the house. I explained the situation to him and that he would be polite. He would find something to eat from whatever was provided. No arguing or complaining.
Everything was going great. Until ... it was time to fill our plates. James followed Jerry and me into the kitchen, holding a plate ... nervous look on his face. He went back to the table ... nothing on his plate.
In that moment, any number of things could have happened. But, the one thing I never saw coming ... happened.
Our pastor's wife brought James a bowl of Cheerios. After the meal, she put in a dvd (Shrek) and talked to my little boys. She laughed with them, sang silly Shrek songs with them ... made them feel welcome.
No one said anything about James 'diet' or ... anything. James was ... James ... and that was perfectly fine with everyone. Especially, Susie.
What no one in that room knew was ... James has not felt accepted in a lot of places. He's unsure of himself.
That day, he felt total acceptance. Unconditional. Unreserved.
That day, I learned a small act can mean so much.
A bowl of Cheerios and Shrek ... things some kids would take for granted ... made my James feel good about himself.
Each day, I want to live my life in a way that shows others ... they are loved. Just the way they are. There is a God who loves them unconditionally ... without reservations.
Thank you ... Susie. You have no idea how much your act of kindness meant to me.
John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."