what if you didn't open your gifts?

I know - it sounds crazy.Who doesn't open gifts?

I was sitting across from a new friend tonight and I wondered what would have happened if we hadn't taken advantage of that awkward "turn and greet your neighbor" moment at church last Sunday. What if I didn't turn around? What if she didn't extend her hand and say more than, "I'm Sarah, nice to meet you" in that wonderfully Sunday morning way? What if she hadn't asked for my phone number?

I can tell you exactly what would have happened: after an appropriate amount of time passed (shaking hands, nodding heads, exchanging hellos), I would have sat down content that I had "been social" at this new church and prepared myself for the sermon. And then we would have exchanged "nice to meet yous" as we bundled up and got out the door with minimal awkwardness or personal exposure.

Well, thankfully, things worked out differently.

Tonight, I met a kindred spirit and it was a gift I almost didn't unwrap. I almost didn't know the heart in the row behind me loved books and theology and the gospel. I know it sounds strange to be surprised to find such a heart in church.

But it is a gift, to be sure. I listened to her crazy story of God's faithfulness and she listened to mine. We very quickly had an understanding - an openness that is only grown in the fields of faith.

My friend Alejandra tells me, "You just know... when someone is a believer, you can feel a connection like you are related."

That's what happened tonight and I almost didn't open the gift. God is so gracious to patiently introduce us to His community - to invite us into relationships that reflect Him. In His grace He offers gifts - often many inside every moment - and our opening of these gifts glorifies Him because we revel in satisfaction at what we find.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

and definitely take a few risks during that meet and greet time