For When You Don’t Feel Like You Fit and You Just Want to See the Cover

A cement mixer rumbles and churns on white-washed sidewalk. Grey rivulets swirl silver along the gutter. I step off the sidewalk, afraid of falling stone, and sidle beside trucks and cars parked out from the two-story metal scaffolding and men in hard hats, until I reach Spyhouse Coffee’s entrance.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Neil Moralee, Creative Commons cc license
Photo Credit: Flickr user Adelie F. Annabel, Creative Commons cc license

A hot Honduran coffee scalds my tongue and condenses droplets beneath a plastic lid.

He had said it to me and you this weekend in a wooden chapel filled with four hundred squirelly middle schoolers and their coffee-toting leaders. Flashing photos on the screen of his little seventh grader self, and displaying an email from his seventh grade teacher who had found him just recently, youth speaker Cesar Castillejos spoke to you and me as he spoke to my teens too.

God will use everything in your life to make you who you are. Cesar spoke of growing up Filipino with a Latino name in a white suburban American school. He spoke of not feeling like he belonged; of divorce; of senior year basketball captainhood ruined by underage alcohol at a party; of a lifelong love of words; and of his seventh grade-heart’s hope to help kids see their value and potential.

“Oftentimes we see the puzzle pieces of our lives, and we just want God to show us the cover,” he said.

“I was praying for you,” his seventh grade teacher told him in that recent email, and Cesar looks back with new eyes at his middle school and high school years.

God sees your puzzle pieces, my friend. He is shaping and molding all the circumstances and experiences in your life — even the hard ones. He is crafting, cutting, and creating your passions, heart cry, and skills. Weaving in invisible people who pray for you and invest in you, God is at work. 

“Now, I get to speak to and teach teens, and preach at a church on Sunday nights, and do some writing too,” Cesar said, smiling wide, and his heart for teens to hear the truth that they’re valued and loved by the Creator of the world has been obvious in each chapel session all weekend.

God clicked Cesar’s puzzle pieces into place throughout his life, creating beauty and purpose, and he is clicking your pieces into order too. 

At Spyhouse, I sip my Honduran coffee and notice the walls. “You changed the art,” I crowed to the barista handing me change.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Clint McMahon, Creative Commons cc license

“Yeah, we do that every month or two,” she said as I dropped my change into the blue jar.

Through double-wide open doors, warm October seventies air flows in, unscreened. Two coffee house employees grin and waddle past, hefting a large barrel container of flowers between them. Setting it on the sidewalk, they mark the boundary of their sidewalk terrace, while the cement mixer churns half a block away.

Spyhouse’s street signage is not back up yet on the bare-faced stone building where mortar waits to be chinked, but progress is being made. Bare brown bricks stand two-stories tall with gaps for next week’s mortar, and beauty remains.

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  1. Linda Stoll on October 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Dear Jennifer … with you, I'm so grateful that He takes all those seemingly random pieces and puts them together in His way, in His time.

    It takes the pressure off just knowing that He's got the final picture in mind every step of the way.

    Sabbath blessings to you.

  2. TC Avey on October 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    How inspiring. God is working in us and through us. Sometimes it can be hard to see Him, but we can trust His promise that He will never leave or forsake us.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. TC Avey on October 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    How inspiring. God is working in us and through us. Sometimes it can be hard to see Him, but we can trust His promise that He will never leave or forsake us.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. cabinart on October 23, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Jennifer, it is a comforting thing to think that people may be praying for us when we have no idea.

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