Every time I pull up to my local Starbucks, I say a small prayer that my favorite spot by the huge picture window is available. It’s away from the register and pick-up counter and has a perfect view of the beautiful foothills in the distance.
This Starbucks has become my second office. As someone who works from home – which is such a gift! – I can struggle with staying focused. Did I move over the laundry last night? Should I take a walk now or later? Oh, don’t forget to RSVP for the party and buy the gift. Did I put it in my Amazon cart? What’s that smell? Time to take the trash out.
But when I get away from my kitchen desk, it’s easier for me to stick to my work tasks — especially when I’m seated at the small Starbucks table by the large window.
On an ordinary morning not too long ago, I pulled into the Starbucks parking lot with my quick whispered prayer, “Lord, guide my thoughts and steps today. And I’d love to sit at my favorite seat.”
But before I even got to the door, I could see that my prized spot was occupied. Bummer. I walked in and immediately surveyed the crowded coffee shop. Shucks, no spots.
Just then, a familiar face waved. You know those people whom you recognize at church or the gym or the Little League field because you both frequent the same place at the same time, but you’ve never actually said hi? Well, it was that kind of person who was sitting at my favorite table.
“I was saving this for you!” he said, closing his book and standing up.
“For me?” I asked in surprise.
“Yes. I always see you studying so hard and I didn’t want you to lose your spot.”
Is there anything more delightful than an unexpected kindness?
I thanked the stranger and asked his name. I learned that Martin lives half an hour away and stops to read before heading to work nearby as a nurse. I told him that I’m a writer and the words come easier when I’m drinking coffee and staring out at the mountains (and not distracted at home by my three loud and wonderful sons).
My iced decaf americano with cream and cinnamon tasted even better that morning as I sat in the aftermath of God’s goodness. And here’s what I kept thinking:
It is no small thing to be seen.
Now, maybe some might feel creeped out by a stranger taking note of your favorite Starbucks seat. But nothing about this interaction felt creepy or off to me. Rather, it felt like a very personal reflection of God’s kindness. A reminder that He is mindful of me… and even the simple and silly desire of my heart to sit in a particular seat.
It evoked the same awe David had: “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you set in place — what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NLT).
It is wonderful to be noticed, considered, and remembered by other people. But even better is to recognize that the thoughtfulness of another person is a reflection of God’s thoughts toward you. He is aware of your wants and needs. He is devoted to showing you how much He loves you.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:6 NLT
The next week as I thought again about how God’s simple kindness through Martin made me feel so seen, I felt the Holy Spirit say, Give him your book.
That feels a little much, God. But okay. I grabbed a copy of my book, The Simple Difference, inscribed it to Martin with a few words of encouragement, and tucked the book in my computer backpack for the next time we might cross paths.
A few days later, I strolled into a fairly empty Starbucks (my seat was open, hooray!) and I spotted Martin across the store at his usual table. I set my stuff down, grabbed my wallet, and retrieved the book.
“Good morning, Martin,” I said as I approached his table. “I have something for you.”
“For me? You wrote this? I’ve never met an author before! Did you sign it? I feel like a kid on Christmas!” His joy spilled over to me and I was so glad I hadn’t let my previous hesitation and fear of awkwardness stop me from following the Spirit’s lead.
We chatted for a couple of minutes. Then I went to order my drink. As I pulled out my credit card, I felt movement behind me. Suddenly, there was Martin, holding his phone up to the scanner. He paid for my coffee!
Before I could even thank him, He showed Christina (my favorite barista) my book. “Look what Becky gave me!”
She didn’t know I was a writer, and she responded with such sweet surprise and delight.
“Wait, I actually have something for you too!” I said.
I had nearly forgotten that the Lord also put Christina on my heart! Days ago, I received a magazine with an article I’d written, and I thought it would encourage her. I took the opportunity to also write a quick note of thanks for the way her warm presence brightens so many of my mornings.
I ran to my backpack and returned with the magazine for my green apron-clad friend.
“Wow! You just made my day!” Christina beamed. She came out from behind the counter to give me a hug. And the three of us stood in front of the case of sandwiches and cake pops in a trio of happy gratitude.
Indeed, it is no small thing to be seen.
Friend, take a moment to consider how God has demonstrated His mindfulness of you recently. When have you felt seen? Who might He be prompting you to see? Where can you be a conduit of God’s kindness today?
May we be women who see more of God today and help others know they are seen too.
For more inspiring stories and encouragement to see and spread God’s kindness right where you are, check out Becky’s book, The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact.