I’d been subconsciously avoiding and dreading the thing for weeks; maybe more like months. Still, in the back of my mind, it loomed ahead like the plague. Now my denial, my pretending it was no big deal, my refusal to think or plan, didn’t matter. It was crouching and all set to smack me square in the face tomorrow, like it or not!
But that morning—the eve of the thing, I woke with a headache and a heavy black fog-like-funk. Not uncommon for those of us with autoimmune deceases, but this was one of the darkest and heaviest of my life. It felt unshakeable. I tried focusing on Scripture, prayer, music. Nothing connected. It felt like I was emotionally paralyzed. My body was weak, out of it; my mind unable to think.
I just sat lifeless, staring at the wall while sunshine flooded in from the window and splashed my face. Amazingly, it was warm, extremely warm for December in Chicago and a real treasure after the grayest November on record! Before long that sunshine started to feel like the mercy of God tugging on me, pulling me to get up and get out of the house.
“Don’t think, just get up, grab your purse and coat, and get in the car,” I told myself. And somehow, by grace, I did.
But the lovely sun-drenched morning didn’t faze my heavy fatigue, or my brain fog, or the sadness I felt. Still, I motored on to the grocery store. I shuffled through aisles looking for some sort of coping treat for my husband and me. I struggled over the simplest decisions but managed to pick up a couple items, certain they would disappoint.
Somewhere between the checkout line and the parking lot I had a revelation, my first hopeful thought. I had a Starbucks gift card and there was a brand new location on my route home. Perfect! Maybe coffee would lift my brain fog a little. Maybe there was a shred of hope for a shred of niceness on the eve of this dreaded day.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I was blocked by gridlock from the drive-thru lane. What did I care? I had nothing to hurry home for, nothing to prepare for. It was Christmas Eve but what did that matter to me? I enter the store to find another long line. Finally, I ordered, then I waited and waited and waited. After what seemed at least twenty minutes, the kind-looking young woman ahead of me turned and said, “ I need to leave; I have to catch a plane. You’re welcome to have my drink, it’s a caramel macchiato”. Then she gave me her name and headed for the door.
“Oh,” I called out, “I’m so sorry you can’t stay for your drink.” She turned in the doorway, “That’s ok” she replied with a sweet smile as if it didn’t matter to her one whit.
I thought that was very strange but I was also very excited about a free drink. That is until I remembered she said it was a caramel macchiato! Pretty much the last drink I would want and certainly would never order.
Oh man! Super sweet coffee drinks make me shaky-queasy and a caramel macchiato sounded like a diabetic coma about to happen! Plus, if I wanted to splurge on a decadent drink, I would pick a mocha of some sort. I’m a chocolate and coffee girl, not caramel. I was bummed and trying to decide whether to offer the drink to someone else or just let it sit unclaimed, when I heard her name called and saw the drink on the counter. It was iced! I love iced coffee. And it was beautiful–layered and lovely looking. Something inside said, just take it–just take it and give it a try.
I did and with the first sip, I was shocked. It tasted like heaven. I never ever dreamed a caramel macchiato tasted like this! It didn’t even seem that sweet! When I mix it with my iced Americano it was perfect.
I drove home feeling better with every sip. My brain fog was starting to clear and my headache was only faint. Amazingly, I was starting to feel good—really good!
“Thank you, Lord! Oh, thank you. This is my Christmas Eve gift from You!” I praised the Lord with overflowing joy like Jonah over his gourd. Sipping and praising until all of a sudden, when I was close to home, when I turned onto my favorite street, out of the blue enlightenment plowed through my head like a locomotive full-throttle.
Her name! Her name was GRACE!!
Woe. Oh, Lord!! YOU really did give me a caramel macchiato for Christmas!!!
Grace. Was she an angel??
Reeling and stunned, I was finally able to listen. That’s when the Spirit began speaking…. And oh, did He ever speak!
Yes, this gift was from Me specifically picked for you. But you almost didn’t accept it. You didn’t want a caramel macchiato! You were certain it was inferior, not at all in your best interest and certainly not to your liking. You had no clue that it would actually delight you and clear your head and make you feel good, really good. No, you were bummed by the offer, despised it. You wanted to leave it for someone else.
When will you really trust Me? When will you truly believe that My will for you is what’s good, acceptable and perfect? Even when it doesn’t feel like it is. Feelings and circumstances are irrelevant. I know what you need—I even know what you want better than you know yourself.
It’s time to stop whining and start believing what you cannot see or understand—believe My will is the richest of foods and sweetest of drinks and your best possible life. Prove you trust Me by accepting the gift I place on the counter, it’s far better than the one you think you want. I know how to satisfy you with surprising delight you don’t even know exists.
If you refuse to accept what I give you, you will miss out on far more than you know. Choose your own path and you will only have regrets.
And as for all those heavy burdens you’re agonizingly carting around; all those unbearable weights. Well, there’s Grace for all that too!
All is Grace. This gift, this iced caramel macchiato, is Grace.