The Receiving End of a Random Act of Kindness


It’s not very often that I’m on the receiving end of a RAOK from a total stranger. So when the man behind the counter said “It’s on me” I was a little taken aback.

I had stopped to treat myself to a cup of Starbucks coffee on my way to pick up my older boys. I don’t do this often, and maybe he could tell. I confidently ordered my grande Verona and the total came to $2.04. I handed over my debit card and got the most embarrassing news ever. It was denied. For a $2 cup of coffee. I hastily began shuffling through my wallet which had nothing more than old receipts in it for some cash. To avoid the fact that it actually was an awkward moment for the two of us I cut the ice with a “well this is embarrassing” comment. More than that, I was really disappointed. Perhaps this was why I had that nagging feeling not to stop?

As I was fumbling, he was saying something to me but I didn’t understand at first. He said “It’s ok – it’s just a cup of coffee, take it.” I was flabbergasted I mean absolutely surprised. He didn’t have to do that and I was surprised that he did.

In that moment I felt what it was like to receive a gift that I didn’t deserve or expect but that I was very grateful for. I felt like it was God reminding me that I have the power to do that every single day and that there was a time in my life where doing that for someone else was what I lived for.

So this is what it’s like when I pay for the car behind me in the drive through. And this is what it’s like when I drop off groceries to a friend who I know is struggling.

I want so badly to be able to do those things on a large scale and I just can’t right now financially. But maybe I can pay for a car behind me. And maybe I can buy a few extra groceries every week and bring them to the food pantry or to a friend. I can do that. And I know that as I am faithful in the small things again, He will be faithful when He needs me to do the big.

That small gesture reminded me that I felt 100x better when I was giving. That seemingly insignificant cup of coffee given to a stranger reminded me that I have been called to be a light and I need to shine.

Thank you my new coffee friend for doing what you felt was right. It did more than you could ever know.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness? What was your experience like?


Speaking Out

Kevin Breel is my new hero.

Two nights ago I watched his Tedx video. watch it here 🙂

At 19 he has displayed more courage and self awareness than I even pretend to have at 31.

There are not enough people talking about depression. There are lots of therapy sessions but they are done in secret behind closed doors and on the down low. I know because for years I told friends an family that I had an appointment or I was going to talk to my special friend because I didn’t know how they would react if I told them I was going to my therapist.

Times have changed, I’ve changed n I’m more open but not always.

I applaud Kevin’s bravery and am so hopeful for the lives he is impacting!

Watch the video pass it on. 🙂


Just BE Happy?

The other day I went through and re-read all of my posts here on the blog. I love and hate when I do that. I love to reread my favorites, but then I cringe at the other non-favorites. 

A while back I wrote about choices and it got me thinking about how people would tell me that you have to choose happiness. Have you ever had someone say that to you? You just have to choose to be happy. It’s always irked me, and frustrated me and in the height (or depths really) of my depression, that sentiment just made me question myself and ask why I couldn’t just choose to be happy. 

Because in the thick of it, I couldn’t. 

And while many of these people were well-meaning, I sincerely doubt they know what it’s like to be truly depressed. To struggle to get out of bed in the morning, to struggle to eat, to struggle to laugh at the most adorable faces, to struggle to be happy for your family. If you’ve never been there I don’t know how to describe it to you, but if you have, then you know what I mean. I’ll bet that you also know how hard that happiness choice is.

There is truth to the statement, that at a point you can choose to be happy, but I think that you need to get to that point. When you’re up to your elbows in tears and tissues and completely distraught, that statement is so unattainable, that for me it didn’t help. 

I can honestly say that yesterday I CHOSE to be happy. It wasn’t the easiest thing and it wasn’t 100% but I did pretty good. This wasn’t the first time I’d done this but I think that it’s the first time in a while that I realized it happened. 

Yesterday happened because over the past few months even though I didn’t know how, or didn’t feel like I could, I kept trying. I kept reaching out. I kept moving forward, inch by inch. You’ll find your happy too, and it may not look like every one else’s happy, but you will get there.

From what I can tell, things are getting better. Now that I’m farther along in my journey I look back and realize that maybe I wasn’t as sad as I seemed? I don’t know. I do know that this IS a journey, that for me, depression is not a one and done deal. Unfortunately, it’s taken me about 15 years, many of which were spent denying my feelings, and multiple seasons of counseling for that to really sink in. 

So today I rejoice that I’m at a point in my journey that I can make that choice to be happy, to put away the darkness. I’m at a point where I know that I can lean on God to help me look past the darkness and see His light. I am happy to be at a point where I can be happy. 🙂

– Jess

Guard your heart above all else,

    for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23