It was I thought just a simple act of kindness and generosity on my behalf, for a friend’s 4 year old daughter. Nothing significant. But as it turns out it there was more to it. God had purposed me and Heaven breathed on us.
You see many years ago I had bought a beautiful Madeline rag doll. Having loved the Madeline books, I could not resist buying the doll in case one day I had a daughter. As it turns out my heart is full with 3 sons, and so the doll languished in my wardrobe until I was sorting through some boxes and came upon it. I decided to sell the doll on Ebay knowing I would get a good price as it is now very collectable.
However, a conversation changed my mind. Catching up with my friend, she shared how her little one could not sleep at night. Her daughter had problems with her hip and ever since she was a baby she has had several operations. After each operation she would not be able to sleep for fear of waking up in pain. Sleep for her became terrifying. As my friend talked, a random thought popped into my mind, to give this special doll to this special girl as her sleep buddy. And so I did.
What I did not know, is that the Madeline Doll carries a scar. In the storybooks, Madeline has to go to hospital to have her appendix out and ends up with a scar from the operation. To be true to the Story Book , this Madeline doll also has a scar hidden under her blue coat. My friend’s precious daughter who carries a scar from her operations, has discovered that her special doll has one too. Buddies.
Meant to be!
In our lives, God is always there, working at times behind the scenes and so discreetly that we do not notice. God is always ready to partner with and encourage us and others through us. His heart is to be present and involved in our everyday. We will find that when we look close enough we will see evidence of His helping hand through our days. When we take time to see and respond to God’s involvement in our everyday lives we will discover more about His nature, His character and His unfailing love for us and for those around us.
When our hearts and lives are centred on God we will find that our random thoughts, and simple acts of kindness carry with them the Kingdom of Heaven and the presence and heart of God.
I think back to the time when I discovered the Madeline doll and on a whim decided to buy her. God was already at work then preparing to bless a little girl who had been through so much.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:13 AMP)
Two sparrows joined me for coffee the other day. They flew into the café I was at, found a table with the remnants of a long black on it and lingered a while. I didn’t realise that sparrows like coffee, mind you who wouldn’t?! They were happy, cute and unexpected guests as I partook of my flat white. And they added a little joy and lightness to my day.
Such two little guests that over a few moments had a positive impact on my day. It challenged me as to how I can, how we can add joy, add the lovely, the lightness to those around us. For a few moments we can be that unexpected element in someone’s day through the encouragement we give, through the acts of kindness that we can do and through the love that we can show. We can make a difference to someone’s day. And you never know, we might be the only good thing that has happened to them all day! Your act of kindness can turn someone’s bad day into a good day! A great day! An unexpected day!
It may seem small, it may seem barely noticeable (I know that the other patrons of the café didn’t notice the extra guests!), but it does matter. And more importantly it is noticed by the one who said, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
It’s time to be unexpected in the world around us.
Last night at a conference, I was struck by the line in a song – ‘Your heart is kind.” Our God is a kind God. He treats us with kindness. He continually demonstrates kindness to us.
How precious is your lovingkindness, O God! (Psalm 36:7)
For His lovingkindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting. (Psalm 117:2)
The irony though, is that often we aren’t kind to ourselves. We berate ourselves for having not met goals that we’ve set. We judge ourselves continually on our performance, whether it be on parenting, careers, relationships, health. We remember more often the failures, the bad and not the good.
The negative thoughts I entertain about myself are not from God. They’re from me! It’s me that is beating up and criticising on me!! Thoughts like “You should be doing more as a parent, you messed up by having that morning tea, you should be praying more….” can take a hold of us. The list can go on and on. Relentless in its barrage of failures and wrongs.
God though, He looks at me with kindness. He sees where I am trying. And more importantly, He loves me nonetheless.
Be kind to yourself. Take a break, have a kit kat!
When it comes to impacting our world, kindness doesn’t strike me as the main tool of choice. Healing – Yes! Generosity – Yes! Prayer – Yes! Kindness to me felt like the fourth musketeer who didn’t quite make the cut. Or the apple bulks up the salad and left over as everyone else has somehow managed to scoop up the melon, the grapes and the oranges. It is like the nail file in the Swiss army knife. With so many better and more useful tools available in the Swiss Army knife – blades, screwdrivers, can opener, compass, scissors…the nail file seems like an afterthought. Kindness is like the nail file. I can’t see McGyver or the army specifically requesting the model with the nail file!
Kindness seemed to me to be pretty ordinary, rather nondescript. But when I really thought about it, kindness is remarkable, it is inspiring and it is strong. Kindness is within the grasp and capability of each on of us.
It is more of the heavyweight than I first believed. The demonstration of kindness can literally change the lives of those around us.
All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to nothing. Every person we meet has a set of scales going on between a bad day and great day, between evil and good, darkness and light. We can be the tipping point for the light. In fact we could be the only good thing in a person’s day. Being kind can make a huge difference to someone.
Jesus, time and time demonstrated kindness while He walked the earth. Kindness when He spoke to the Samaritan Woman, kindness to the woman caught in adultery, kindness to the children who wanted to be with him. Kindness to Peter after he denied him. Kindness.
Kindness is an outworking of the love of God in our lives. It is love in action.
I don’t think we realize how many people walk among us every day who feel lonely or insignificant and have had little or no experience with unconditional love or kindness. They are not accustomed to receiving anything they have not earned or deserved or being treated with dignity. Being kind for no other reason but to demonstrate God’s love is a great way to bless someone.
All you have to do is what is in your hand to do. Fill the copier with paper at work, bake those muffins for the new neighbour, sit with that lonely friend, or shout that person going thru a hard time with even just a coffee. Just do something.
Do what is within your capability.
At my boys’ school, part of the school values is “I CARE” . No it’s not an apple product. But a commitment of a school to be a caring one. At the opening address by the School Principal she challenged the children to live this. To show that they cared for those around them. And by each one doing that the school would become a better school, Auckland a better city. And that each child had the opportunity to make the world a better place. A big challenge for a lot of little children but an admirable one too. It begins with one.
Who is the hungry heart in your life? What you do may feel small. It may feel unseen. It may feel insignificant, but it matters. It’s noticed by the one who said, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly know.
I see kindness in action everyday. I see it when a co-worker pauses to offer a kind word to someone having a hard day—a little morsel of encouragement that’s gobbled up with gratitude. I see it when my friend wraps her arms around her oh-so-tired little one and sees past the crankiness to the silent request for comfort and rest. I see it when a stranger on the street flashes a smile like an unexpected bit of chocolate tossed my way or a shot of caffeine.
Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness part of your way of life & change your world.
Your act of kindness can turn someones bad day into a good day! A great day! An unexpected day.