Emmanuel In The Wal-Mart Parking Lot

I have lived in a small town for the better part of my adult life. There are so many pluses to living in a small community and as you might imagine there are also some downsides. Variety, for instance, in terms of places to buy the basics of life boils down to Wal-Mart.

I get personally rolled back (as they say about prices at Wal-Mart) almost every time I need to buy sugar, coffee, or TP.

FullSizeRender 2Getting rolled back looks like me getting out of my car and preparing to be irritated by the lack of care anyone seems to have about being a polite human and depressed by the endless sea of people in their pajamas shopping at any time of day. I roll back into some seriously judgmental places. (Please don’t tell me I am the only one with a dark side! I am feeling pretty vulnerable here, people.)

It is a good exercise at getting back to the garden. Take away the pajamas and the lack of caring, take away my shiny car and my actual (fairly cute) clothes and we’re all naked before our Creator.

Sometimes, God has to offend our minds in order to speak to our hearts. He uses Wal-Mart to do that for me on a regular basis.

Having already been rolled back into the darker side of myself by a rough workday, I stopped there on the way home out of sheer necessity. I am sure you have had a few of those days that beat you down and leave you barely able to look up?

This was one of those head down days. Just put one foot in front of the other and sooner or later you will reach the end of the day.

As my foot hit the parking lot, eau de asphalt hit me with a black oily, “Hello and welcome to Wal-Mart!” The inner pep talk began, “Just keep your head down so you don’t go all judgey. Just get in, get what you need and get out.”

One foot in front of the other and then there it was glistening in the sun.

A crown. IMG_4700A little silver crown with diamonds right there in what I thought was the god forsaken Wal-Mart parking lot!

Ok, I know and you know the diamonds weren’t real, neither was the silver for that matter. It was 100% Wal-Mart, but I am a moth to flame when shiny objects are involved! I couldn’t help but bend over and pick it up.

As soon as it was in my grasp, “Who’s your Daddy?” was breathed into my heart. (Are you as uncomfortable as I was? It’s getting a little weird…)

There I am unable to lift my head for so many reasons and God comes down to meet me right there on the black oily pavement of my weary heart.

“Who’s your Daddy?” then and there my heart knew anew.

IMG_4703Call me crazy (I wouldn’t blame you if you did) but His question to me seemed to rollback the heavens in a matter of seconds. The truth of who He is and who I am was glistening in the palm of my hand.

“You are my beloved daughter. Because of who I am, you wear a crown.”

(“So, let me make sure I get this…You are the King of the universe and I am your daughter- that makes me a princess who shops at Wal-Mart with people who stay in their pajamas all day.” ” Yes, that is exactly right.”)

My eyes began to leak a little and I was suddenly awash with a wave of generosity towards my judgey weary self as I began to unpack the truth of that simple statement.

I am the beloved daughter of God, the King of the universe, Emmanuel.

Because of who He is, I wear a crown and bear His image. Because of who He is, I have all of His goodness, love, mercy, grace, wisdom, strength and courage in me and at my disposal. Because of who He is, I am invited to BE LOVED by Him and TO BE LOVE because of Him.

Because of who He is, He can speak volumes in a moment in spite of my downturned head through a little silver crown in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

And, maybe more importantly, because of who He is, my judgey weary heart is rolled back into His gracious love once again towards people in their pajamas.

I keep my Wal-Mart crown on my bathroom shelf where I can see it every morning before I get out of my pajamas and into my fairly cute clothes.


soul food

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us. 1 John 4:16-17 MSG


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