This pretty little picture didn't need any editing, in my opinion. It's one of the best photos I've taken in a long time. I feel like I could frame it at this current moment.
Ok, so I really do get that it's not gorgeous... but the act behind the picture? Beautiful.
My husband and I both manage a property somewhere in this incredible state of Kentucky. He does all the hard stuff, and I take care of all the paperwork and rents. While I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoy what we do, sometimes it feels like it lacks purpose. I mean, people get mad when you want them to pay. When things break, it's our responsibility to fix it. And, let's not even talk about how much I hate having to file for eviction. Some days I turn off the computer, shut off the lights, lock the door, and pause before walking to the car. A heavy sigh escapes my lips and my mind starts doing somersaults. It bounces everywhere it can... Hits the angry spots, the discontented areas, the sorrowful side... Tries its hardest to convince me that there's something better out there for us. I'm not going to lie... for a few moments it sometimes succeeds.
I grew up in the church, went to a Christian school when I became a freshman, and even attended a Bible college. I won't disguise how much I love God and how important my faith in Jesus Christ really is. But, sometimes I wish some of the things I was told to focus on could just disappear. I'm truly thankful for my foundation and upbringing, but as I've grown into my faith... As I've developed a truly personal relationship with God... I've noticed how necessary it is for me to daily wake up and erase my mind of a lot of the things I deemed priority throughout my younger years.
My heart's desire is to help people. The longing to bring a smile to someone's face I carry inside is as natural as the sun bringing light to the world. That part of me has never changed. However, I now understand that there are a gazillion ways to make those things happen. Ministry looks so much different than what I was used to believing. Today confirmed that.
I admire people who teach Sunday School classes, lead choirs, and work in Christian schools. I highly respect people who have been given the opportunity to pastor a church, run a college, and head up a youth program. We've had our hands in some of the mentioned activities, and they were indeed rewarding. But, as a property manager, I feel like I've touched more lives than ever before. Sometimes I forget that. I mean, working a normal 40 hour job... that's not ministry, is it? Working 8:30-5:00 at a secular career can't change lives for the better, can it? If you just sit behind a desk and fill out papers, or answer phone calls, drive a truck, or take care of maintenance issues, you're just doing what's expected to pay your bills, right? You're not really dedicated to helping those around you or changing someone's world for the better, are you?
Well, that's exactly what I used to think. I remember actually being told that "a family couldn't truly be in God's perfect will unless the man worked a ministerial job and the wife stayed home and took care of the household." Sounds ludicrous now... but I fell for it then. I wasted years of ministry opportunities at the bank I worked at, because I convinced myself that I wasn't in a place that would allow me to change lives. I mean, I was a teller. I took people's money or I gave it to them. Simple. No ministry, life-changing, smile-bringing events were going to happen there...
How wrong I was! You can find a way to shine your light anywhere you are. The world has gotten pretty dark as of late. There's so much anger and disgust... So much fear and judgment... So much hate and greed. We need people to smile and compliment as they walk down the grocery aisle. That little act can seriously change a person. I promise. Just take another look at my picture.
What do you see there? 2 honey buns? 2 yogurts? A spoon? I see gratitude, appreciation, and friendship. Why?
I was doing an annual recertification with a gentleman at our property today. Just a normal part of my day. Print out some papers, go over the requirements, scribble my name. Well, that's how it usually goes. Today, some random conversations were had about the property and its improvement since our transfer. Then, as I'm fully locked into the form I'm preparing on my computer, he says, "I have to pay you a compliment."
Of course, I look up. I'm pretty proud of the progress Aaron and I have made over the last 6 weeks, so I was waiting to see what he had noticed. I can't wait to hear this.
"You know, we've went through several managers and maintenance men during the 7 years that I've lived here."
"Well, they've all acted like they were way up here (he raised his hand high over his head.) But, y'all haven't done that. You've always been very kind and understanding. I feel very comfortable approaching y'all about things, because I know you're not going to make me feel like less of a man. I really appreciate that."
Oh, my. I'm holding back a few tears at this point. "Well, Mr. __________, you never have to worry about that. We are no better than anyone else on this earth. I'm glad you've noticed that we feel that way."
"I have. A lot of us have. You've made this property a happier place... a lighter place."
Thank you, God. Help that love shine through me all the time.
My day was already made. I already felt like I'd made a difference. But then, 2 hours later, the door opens and in comes Mr. ___________ with some treats just for me and Aaron. Knowing his income and other areas of his life, I know just how much of a sacrifice this was for him. And it made me feel like I had just received a thousand dollars.
"Mr. _____________! How nice of you! Thank you so much. You've just made my day. I appreciate this! Oh! And you even brought us a spoon!"
He chuckled. "Yeah. Wasn't sure if y'all would have one."
"I just wanted to show you how much I really am glad y'all are here." With that, he tipped his hat and walked back to his apartment.
I closed the door and immediately grabbed my phone for a picture. This is something I must never forget. No matter where you are in your life... People are watching you. People need you.
Did I have any idea before today that we had touched his heart? Not at all. I was just feeling like the lady who takes people's money this time of the month. But, to so many, I'm much more than that. It really encouraged my spirit today. Ministry comes in many shapes and colors and positions. It doesn't look a thing like I'd been taught to believe. Every single day my faith in Jesus grows... My love for Him grows... because my eyes are opened a little more each morning with just how much He loves us. Our whole purpose of existence is to serve Him by serving others.
Smile as you walk in the office. High five a kid on your street before getting in your car. Give someone your cart as you're leaving the grocery store. Hold open the door, buy someone's drive-thru meal, take a homeless guy some socks and a blanket. No matter where you are... No matter what you do... our faith in humanity can be restored a little at a time by the acts we choose to carry out.
Those $4.00 spent on us this morning... Well, they made me feel like a million bucks.
You can find this blog linked up to some other incredible sites: The Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Teaching What is Good, A Bowl Full of Lemons, A Peek into My Paradise, Rosilind Jukic, Proverbs 14 Verse 1, Women with Intention, Giving Up on Perfect, Ducks 'N a Row, I Choose Joy, A Handful of Everything, Busy Being Blessed, Essential Thing Devotions, and many more!