This week’s guest post is from my friend Cynthia Insko, a fellow pilgrim on the road. I first met her three years ago when we worked together on producing an Advent Devotional Guide for our church. A mom to three, Cynthia has been a campus minister, retreat leader, and writer of education materials. Recently, Cynthia accepted a position as the Children’s Minister at First Baptist Church, in Frankfort, Kentucky. (And I miss her.)
It was my first Sunday as a new staff person at First Baptist Church. I was feeling excited and anxious and hopeful about this new ministry. After lunch with my family I decided to spend an hour or so by myself at the local Starbucks to rest and refresh before returning to the church for a committee meeting. Intent on being alone and reading my newest “How To Be An Amazing Children’s Minister” book, I ordered my standard skinny latte and settled down away from other customers in the upholstered chair in the corner.
I hadn’t even finished the foreword of the book when a young woman plopped down on the couch next to my chair and energetically greeted me with “Hi! I’m Mary! What’s your name?” A bit annoyed at her intrusion of my personal space, I reluctantly answered. Diverting my eyes, I tried to start reading again, but she persisted. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“Reading,” I curtly replied.
“Oh, are you a student? Are you studying?”
“No, I am a children’s minister. I just started today at First Baptist Church.”
“Really? I am not a child, but I am kind of like a child. You see, I have some disabilities. I am living at a home with some other people like me where I am learning to make good choices. I can’t tell you where it is because that could be dangerous to tell someone I don’t know where I live…You know, not everyone can be trusted. But you can. I can tell.”
I forced myself to look her in the eye. “You are right. I understand. That is a good choice.”
As our conversation unfolded, I found myself compelled to listen, to really hear what this simple, yet radiant young woman was telling me. We talked until time for me to return to the church.
“Mary, I am going to have to leave to get back to my job. Nice to meet you.”
“Cynthia,” she said, looking deep into my eyes, “I have to tell you something. You are going to be a great Children’s Minister. Those kids are going to really like you.”
My eyes brimmed with tears. What had once been the face of an intruder had become to me, the face of Christ. Smiling, I said, “Thanks, Mary. Thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot. A whole lot. It has been an honor to meet you.”
On the trip back to the church a new energy poured over me and I knew in my heart that the Spirit had, through a stranger, affirmed and anointed me to do the job at hand. Beyond a doubt I had met Jesus at Starbucks.