On a recent ministry trip, I stayed in a not-so-great motel. It was out in the middle of nowhere. Things didn’t work in the room. The bed sheets looked like they were used the night before by another guest and had not been changed. It is the kind of room where you want to take another shower after getting out of the shower. I got into the lumpy bed only to have an ancient air conditioner wake me throughout the night as it clanged to life every few minutes to blow tepid air in my face. A restaurant attached to the motel offered a free breakfast to its overnight guests.
When I walked into the dining room the next morning, I felt impressed to sit in a booth next to the waitress service station away from the other patrons. When my waitress brought me a menu and water, I noticed she had some pronounced physical issues with her face. In fact, she had to repeat her welcome because her ability to speak was impaired. Her entire demeanor spoke of someone who had lived a rough life.
When the waitress left my table to place my order, the Lord said, “Tell her she’s my pretty girl.” I knew this comment could come across a bit strange so I asked the Lord for the right time and the right words to prepare her to hear what I would say. I now understood why the Lord had me choose a secluded booth.
When the waitress brought my bill, I said, “I am a pastor and a father with a daughter about your age. I want to tell you something the Lord said about you. He said, ‘She’s my pretty girl.’” From the look on her face, I could tell she had not heard those words before. She smiled a beautiful smile and said, “Thank you. That’s very nice.” She then began to share with me about her family and how God was working in their midst. After we talked a few moments longer, she returned to her job. I left a tip and got up from the table, paid my bill and left the restaurant. When I walked out into the parking lot to return to my room I got emotional to the point of choking up with tears of joy. I had just witnessed God touch someone in a beautiful way.
Leading up to that morning in the restaurant, I had been on the road for a few days doing a lot of ministry in different venues and I was tired. Before my encounter with the waitress the whole motel thing was a bust. In that moment of tearful joy, I realized the encounter with the waitress might have been the most important thing I did on the trip. When I walked back into my cruddy motel room it was no longer cruddy. It was filled with the beauty of God’s presence and the lingering image of the smiling face of one of God’s pretty girls.