If I Can Help Somebody…

After three days of a gnawing pain under my rib cage, I hadn’t eaten and was lightheaded as I drove down the highway. Worried about passing out, I pulled into the parking lot at a Starbucks some miles from home.

I sat there wondering if I could get something down, but the thought was disgusting. After deliberating, I went in and decided to order one of their sandwiches, the ones they heat up in a toaster oven.

A young man, maybe in his late 20’s was at the counter. His first words were, “You look down.”

I looked up at him surprised.

“You’re very perceptive,” I smiled.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, looking at me intently. I was so taken aback at his question I was at a loss for words.

“Just life gets to be a bit much sometimes, too many things…” I said.

He was still looking at me closely. Nobody else was in the store but another barista in the background.

“What kind of things?” He asked.

Now I was really surprised. “Well, too many to get into…But it’s so kind of you to ask,” I said. “I really mean that.”

“Well, you deserve kindness.” He said.

Now, why is it that you can take a thousand cuts from other people and not shed a tear, but when someone shows the least bit of concern, you risk a meltdown.

“Thank you,” I said.

“What is your name?” He asked. And I thought to myself, “Lord, is this an angel in disguise?”

“Ingrid”

“Well, Ingrid, I hope life looks up for you. I wanted to know your name so next time if you come in, I can remember it and ask how you’re doing.”

I left the store with the sandwich in something of a daze.

Just a few words, probably learned patter from a handbook for baristas at Starbucks. But what a difference those few words made. He seemed oddly sincere.

With the onslaught of the last few weeks, coupled with health issues and managing a toddler, just a few kind words from a clerk reminded me of how helpful we can be to others. And sometimes it’s just a humane touch from somebody.

I realized that the stranger/clerk had shown more kindness than most of the Christian colleagues I have worked with online for years, most of which haven’t even emailed to say, “How are you doing?” in light of the last couple of weeks. I felt safer as a person in the company of a Starbucks clerk than I did with Christian friends busily engaged in the “war for truth.” It’s an inhuman place where those who are not useful to the “cause” are discarded. You no longer have a name or a face or any human value.

We can help others in many different ways, and one of the reasons I am glad to leave the murky underworld of discernment blogging behind is because there is much kindness needed, and God is redirecting me into a new kind of life and focus. Looking at the terrible news stories, it puts everything in perspective. So much help is needed. What can we do to lift somebody’s head today?

Thank you to every one who has sent kind emails in the last few days. Every one of them is appreciated.

Today I wanted to share with you this song that has long been a favorite. This big Welsh singer sings it well. “If I can help somebody as I pass along, than my living will not be in vain…”

38 thoughts on “If I Can Help Somebody…

  1. carolynb says:

    Ingrid, I was reading in 2 Corinthians yesterday and a verse caught my eye that I thought would be an encouragement to you. So here it is, hope it helps:

    2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NAS
    4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in the word of truth, in the power of God ; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report ; regarded as deceivers and yet true ; 9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live ; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

  2. Becky says:

    Ingrid,

    I needed this today as a reminder to be more careful in how I re-act to situations.

    I can get so caught up in procedures, processes and rules that I don’t leave room for mercy and grace. You know what I mean?

    One of my favorite songs is, “Let Me Touch Him” I especially like this part,

    Just to be His hand extended,
    Reaching out to the oppressed.
    Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus,
    So that others may know and be blessed.

    Our Savior handled every situation correctly…oh I desire to be like that.

    I appreciate you and ALL that you share and standing for truth. I enjoy your Hope Blog and hearing you on VCY.

    I pray that your health will return, that God will continue to lead, guide and direct your steps as you keep serving Him.

  3. Lorrie says:

    Hi Ingrid, I’m really behind in reading your posts here, so was not aware of how difficult these last few weeks have been for you. I’m so sorry to hear about that, along with your health issues, and the difficulties of dealing with a toddler (anybody who’s had one can understand those challenges!). I will be praying for you & hope you feel better soon.

    (Don’t know if this is the right place to mention it, but I’ve listened to a couple of your recent broadcasts online and learned so much from them. Thank you for all you do!)

  4. Lorrie says:

    P.S. – Forgot to mention that, as a homeschooling mother, Galatians 6:9 is my lifeline:

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

    I have it posted at my desk, with the DO NOT GIVE UP part in all caps and several exclamation marks!!

  5. joyfulgardener says:

    Ingrid,

    “I am sorry.” God put it on my heart a week ago to write and tell you how much your testimony on Jan Markell’s show recently enlightened me to something I am only beginning to understand.

    With great difficulty I finally found your blog (not the one promoted) and was further moved by your personal stories. I did not respond last week to encourage you, I failed in obedience to my Beloved Savior. I am sorry.

    Be encouraged, you are proclaiming Christ and His Truth, you are making a difference, even though you may not see it. You are a blessing.

  6. paulacummings says:

    Ingrid, you are truly incredibly generous, even going through a rough time, instead of shutting down completely, you found it within you to write such an inspiring blog and shared your experience in such a lovely way. Maybe I should start going to Starbucks to 🙂 … you’re in my prayer’s

  7. MM says:

    Thanks for all you’ve done (doing) to serve the Lord. There’s so many Facets to being a follower of Jesus..as we know it’s also about showing how much we Care for one another..as well as Exposing Error..etc.

    Lord Bless You, and your Family..and your upcoming work that you do for the Lord!

  8. Joshua says:

    Ingrid, you said, “I felt safer as a person in the company of a Starbucks clerk than I did with Christian friends busily engaged in the ‘war for truth.’”

    Of all the words in this post, those struck me the most. I almost stopped posting comments on your other site because it was simply becoming too vicious. I thought kindness was a fruit of the Spirit? Was this a man a Christian?

  9. Truthinator says:

    Ingrid,

    First of all, I was not aware of your situation until I happened upon the Horton/Warren photo & story on another blog. I hope you have God’s peace and comfort. The problem you have reported on has now been proven to you by your experience… Christians are brutal to each other. They also appear to only be concerned about their own self-worth and the promotion of their own prosperity.

    Sadly, I admit that I noticed the hypocrisy of many Christians in church a day or two after joining my first one. To visitors, they put on a phony smile and welcoming voice. Once you join, they become self-serving dictators who care nothing for others. They simply seek to advance their personal kingdom within the organization.

    I don’t expect anyone to be perfect but we should be able to see a better reflection of Christ in His people than in the world in general. I am not surprised at how you received more compassion from a barista than from ‘truth warriors’ on the blogs.

    Anyway, I have always enjoyed and been challenged & edified by your work. Carry on.

    I go by the name Truthinator at my blog but my name is Wallace.

  10. Brian says:

    Hi Ingrid, I am sorry to know that you are having a difficult time. Your experience at Starbuck’s reminds me of similar experiences I sometimes have. Usually when I am completely wrapped up in an issue someone will say something that somehow breaks through and confronts either my thinking or my state of mind itself. I then usually just step back and let things go for as long as need be – forever if necessary. I also have found these experiences humbling as the sources are usually non-Christians, Christian teachers I would not normally choose to listen to, or “struggling” Christians.

    ‘tis so sweet to trust and rest in Jesus Ingrid – how wonderful when He draws near and sets our thinking right and such a blessing when seemingly insurmountable difficulties simply vanish when God’s peace and righteousness come. Much to look forward to during the very hard times, I’ll be remembering you in my prayers, God Bless.

  11. Donna says:

    your occasional Jewish visitor wishes you the best and hopes things will be easier for you. Years ago, my husband and I were in London and caught in a sudden rainstorm. A little man in a plaid suit with a watch chain rushed over with an umbrella to cover us. When I thanked this stranger, he said “courtesy and kindness cost nothing, do they?” Your heartfelt post brought back a lovely memory–thank you for that.

  12. Lisa K says:

    Ingrid, your story reminds me of the old saying – if you stick your head up above the crowd you will get the tomatoes! I hope you find peace in whatever you choose to do in the future.
    I love reading your blog here and hope you continue to write about faith, books, and your family.

  13. Jessica Fales says:

    Isn’t it nice to be reminded that God can find the most unusual people in the most unusual places to encourage our heart. He cares for us more than any believer or non-believer ever will. God be praised, He answered so many of our prayers for you. (That your heart would find some encouragement and peace in this storm)

    When my dad passed away this September, I had many of these types of encouragements and “I love you’s” from God. I am going to keep praying for more. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May you find the comfort of the Holy Spirit in God’s word and may it continue to be tangible in life my friend.

    Praying on my friend,
    Jess

  14. Margaret L. Been says:

    I agree, Ingrid. When I experience unexpected kindness, that’s when I shed tears!

    It’s amazing how God orchestrates these things! What STARBUCKS were you at? I know a sweet, sensitive young man who works around TT in Waukesha. Maybe it was him! 🙂

  15. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    It was the Starbucks near Pabst Farms across from the Hilton. I’m writing a thank you note. Just finding courtesy in stores is rare enough in this world, but courtesy with kindness is a real bonus. My son Sam and I were standing behind an elderly woman in the grocery store and it was one of those self-bagging places. She had a lot to bag and looked frail and nobody offered to help her. Sam stepped up and bagged it for her. The checker lady was so impressed by that. Sad that such things are unusual now. The world (and the church) can be a brutal place without a little humanity.

  16. carolynb says:

    Ingrid, what wonderful news, answered prayer! I had prayed that Christian MEN in public ministry would stand up and defend you. Sounds like Mike Corley was one such individual. I also heard Brannon Howse defend you on his radio broadcast. Praise the Lord on both counts!

  17. Sandra T says:

    Hi Ingrid – it still amazes me that through what our Lord Jesus accomplished at Calvary, complete strangers who have never met can become brothers and sisters in Christ: as that is how I view you…and share your pain…
    Never forget, as a sister in Christ (and there are many of those out there), we are silently supporting and praying for you… and each other.
    That is powerful when we think about it – especially when we think about how a life is but a vapor…

    I am currently writing an anecdotal cookbook, and would like to share a short story from it to encourage you/all of us(if that is ok and this post doesn’t become too long!)

    “Sometimes I play a silly game with myself. I furtively peek around the bathroom door, knowing full well what I will find, but am hopelessly unable to stop! As my eyes catch glimpse of the stranger’s reflection trapped in the silky oak framed mirror, I force a frozen stare into the depths of those green eyes staring back at me; hoping against hope that the woman looking at me is magically transported to a younger version, like any good Hollywood movie can procure!
    Well, firstly, I don’t believe in time travel, and it is a scientific fact that there is no eternal fountain of youth (though I admit I anticipate a lively conversation with Adam and Eve over that!) Secondly, though millions of plastic surgery enhanced women would disagree with me, I seriously don’t mind the thought of ageing gracefully. Just like “Olivia” off the American TV series “The Waltons”. I know you’re probably shaking your heads at the comparison to the sugar-coated fictional lives of that family who lived through the great depression of the 1930’s. But can you imagine Olivia heading off to Richmond, to get her ½ yearly fix of botox, while grandpa and her husband John are slaving away cutting down trees off that great mountain, and then hauling them back to the sawmill for cutting; just to be able to support and feed a family of 11? I think not. Her priorities were her faith, her husband, and her family. Throughout the series, her character aged gracefully, though at times she found this frustrating, as I do also!

    James 4: 14 says, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away”. In the great scheme of things, we are, as the dictionary succinctly describes, “insubstantial and transitory”. What a great description. Insubstantial means “flimsy, weak, frail”. Transitory means “of a short duration”. Isn’t that us? Isn’t that our life here in the physical realm? Wow! That certainly puts things into perspective. Instead of seeking out short term gratifications such as the ongoing attempt at extending our youthful beauty, shouldn’t we be fixing our eyes on the things unseen? It is in those things that are eternal; where moth and rust cannot corrupt and destroy, where our allegiances should lie. And before you say I should stop pointing the finger and preach to myself, after I revealed in the introduction to this story my own struggles with the ageing process, remember, as I point the finger at you, I have THREE pointing back at myself!”

  18. Bridgette says:

    Ingrid, your words are such a blessing to read! I have also enjoyed your Crosstalk radio programs. I admire your stand for truth and your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit – in knowing when to move on. I hope that the wounds that you have received do not fester. I pray God grant you any extra grace needed to endure these trials.

  19. Valerie says:

    Hi Ingrid,

    What a nice post. Sorry you’ve been feeling down. Many times when I’m feeling down, I will actually go to your hope blog because I know I will find encouragement there, so thank you! 🙂

    I read some of the Chris Roseborough stuff and the main thing I see is that you direct your attention on what honors God and he directs his attention on man. You’re doing the right thing!

  20. christianlady says:

    Ingrid,
    I am so sorry you are feeling this way and have been treated this way. I apologize for being so wishy washy myself. I really have been confused by the whole situation.

    I am glad you are my sister in Christ and that you were there when I was stuck in a purpose driven/possibly emergent leaning in youth group sort of a church. I recall the feeling when we finally did stand up, we were called divisive and were called liars “from the pit of hell.” Your podcasts really did help, along with others. I hope you find more and more support as time passes.

    I believe you are doing the right thing, focusing on giving now.

  21. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Thanks, Christian Lady. I think all wishy-washy tendencies get blown away pretty quickly when you are at the receiving end (out of the blue) of threatening emails with no attempts at Christian communication, everything you said is twisted and distorted beyond recognition, you are ridiculed and run down and the subject of slanderous comments and conjecture from others listening, and on and on. Michael Horton himself never answered my email or attempts to reach out and explain that Chris had grossly perverted what I had said. The Executive Director praised Chris for defending Horton without ever asking me what had gone on. He heard one side and made a judgment. And these are people with vast numbers of theological degrees who supposedly know the Scriptures. This is why I don’t follow these celebrities in the Reformed faith or any other for that matter. They disobey the Word on a personal level while publicly thundering against false doctrine. Horton believed a slanderer without ever bothering to ask if he was getting a true picture.

    Those who sat silently by think they will be allowed to just keep going without challenge, but the enemy of souls is far more consistent than we are. Slanderers are emboldened when they aren’t rebuked and exposed. And there is far more damage to be done by the enemy.

  22. Lori says:

    Ingrid, I just want you to know my husband and I were moved to tears when we heard what had gone on with the blog situation. We used to financially support Fighting for the Faith and several months ago had withdrew our support and then after hearing the way it was all handled, we no longer are listening to the podcasts of his daily. We just cant support a Christian brother in that endeavor when treatment of a fellow member of the body is being treated in the way you have been. We have been praying for you almost nightly and continue to support you in every way. you are not alone in this! The Lord is being glorified in all of it and we are praying for repentance on Chris’s part for what has been done to you. Keep your chin up!
    Vince and Lori

  23. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Lori,
    Thanks so much for those words. The prayer part especially. That is what picks us up and carries us is the prayers of brothers and sisters who truly have love in their hearts. These things need to be reconciled within the body, but the Wild West atmosphere, i.e. lawless atmosphere, of the Internet blog world makes this nearly impossible without tender hearts and humility and the love underneath which prompts that. Without a conscience, there is no other presiding authority to govern behavior online. Only the Holy Spirit can provide that conviction and sensitivity when we cross a line with someone. God bless you, Lori. Thank you again.

  24. Jim De Arras says:

    Ingrid, that is so sad. I know the feeling, you can build a stoic wall against problems, but the first person that seems to appreciate you breaks it all down.

    I am doing what little I can to help the fight. I am becoming more and more disillusioned at what I am seeing in so-called “Christians”. It’s not for me to judge their salvation, but there sure is a lot of stinky fruit out there.

    I wish more real Christians believed in the active work of Satan, though. He is behind a lot of this. It’s not just stubborn men.

    You are in our prayers. Please take care of yourself.

    Jim

  25. Paula says:

    Just a wonderful story … God sends us kindness and reminders even in the form of store clerks. I have always tried to remind myself of that when working retail.

    I am so sorry more could not be done to relieve you stress over the past several weeks/months as this whole thing unfolded. Truthinator, it’s not just from that incident, this has been going on since at least Nov and possibly back to Sept. If you want to drop me a line about it, feel free.

  26. pastorboy says:

    Ingrid, it is no excuse but it is a cross we all must bear when we are in a battle for truth. The problem is with self-identified Christians who are in reality wolves also known as cannibalistic sheep.

    It is okay to disagree, it is certainly good to question and to discern. It is downright rotten to threaten, write off, and kick people to the curb so to speak.

    Discernment ministry is a lonely business, as I know too well. I expect to be kicked to the curb by almost everybody. I have been attacked, mostly by spineless wimps who will not reprove, rather they backbite and slander. By that testimony, they have a murderous heart (1 John 3:15).

    I love and support you. I do not always agree with you, but I stand with you.

  27. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Hi John (Pastorboy), Thank you for that. I’m well familiar with that cross as it has been on my back now for 23 years of non-stop conflict in the war for biblical truth. Glad there are those like you who can carry on in these areas, and I am glad I’m not the only one to see that this was no ordinary in-house disagreement. This was open war, and that does not come from a heart of Christian love. Something is seriously wrong there, and because it was allowed to go without much public rebuke from major bloggers several months ago, it will be back in a new form soon to cause further destruction to God’s people, sadly. Thanks for all you do, John.

  28. Jane Brown says:

    Hi Ingrid, I am so sorry you are having so many challenges at one time, but i can definately relate, i had been having a very difficult 2 weeks, i was very angry, went to see my friend her dad was outside and greeted me, he smiled real big and said its so good to see you, how have you been? I cried for 2 hrs. Isn’t it strange that we have to go so far from our front door, sometime to be treated kindly. If i lived close i’d take you out for coffee, and help you watch your toddler. This to shall pass. Jesus loves you. And don’t forget it.

  29. pastorboy says:

    On that note Ingrid, after the invasion of our church by the homosexual lobby, and the wicked backbiting that has gone on following it within the church community, you invited me on VCY and it was a blessing again today. All these months later, a dear 84 year old woman called me out of the blue to encourage me. She had written down my information that Vic gave after the show. There are those in the true Body of Christ who know what it means to call and give an encouraging word.

  30. John says:

    My personal thoughts on the “underworld of discernment blogging”.

    I earnestly believe that the ideal for Christians is first person fellowship. Online Discernment Blogging of which I have been a part of for the last seven years is incomplete in God’s eyes because it does not include fellowship, the sharing of the gospel, the singing of psalms and the support that being in an inperson and ongoing fellowship can bring.

    Online defending of the truth, If that is all there is in a Christians life IS SELF DEFEATING! And by extension for those who claim to be part of online discernment groups, if they are not fellowshipping face to face with others who are involved in online discernment can and WILL lose a Christ like love for other Christians.

    I think it is a supreme danger to participate in online discernment if you allow it to isolate you from others.

    God Bless Ingrid, find personal support among other Christians!

  31. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    John, thank you for summarizing, in a few brief sentences, exactly what I faced. Isolation that produced (non)relationships with other people in online “ministry”, many of who are also isolated unto themselves, with pseudo boards of directors, the members of which in many cases are clueless about the personal lives of those involved. This kind of work was never intended to be done by individuals disconnected from a true body of believers, but because it is done they way, relationships can blow, ethical lines can blur, strange liasons and so forth emerge, protecting your “little corner” of the blogosphere becomes paramount instead of doing what’s right relationally with others. None of it is spiritually healthy. I believe God is in the process of dealing with that in the lives of those of us who while sincere, were mistaken in some ways. It gets back to the heart of what the church is truly intended to be. God does call some to unique ministry of sharing information but not as Lone Rangers who live lives of quiet desperation and paranoia. (I don’t mean paranoia about false teachers, but paranoia that their part in the blog world will be upended, leaving them with nothing in their lives.)

  32. Simplydannygirl says:

    Well,

    L’m feeling bad that you are feeling bad.

    Did not know you had health issues. Don’t know what they are. But this too shall pass………

    God Bless

    Danny

  33. Anthea says:

    Hello Mrs Schlueter

    I listen to your podcasts here in the UK and have always found them really professional and you clearly love God. I am sorry that your withdrawal from “Discernment” blogging happened in this way. It would have been much less painful if you had been in a position where you simply felt it was time to do something else, and then responded to the gentle prompting of the Spirit. This must seem so brutal to you. I know so little of the conflict that went on, so I can only comment that it seems a shame to fall out with one another here on earth, when we shall be living cheek by jowl in heaven! Do I agree with every syllable you write/say? Of course not! The only person I agree with all the time is the lady looking at me in the mirror! But I can sense your genuine faith in your radio programmes.

    Anyway, I found your post above so very moving. It’s a lesson to all of us about the powerful effect of mercy.

    You have edified me, especially with your broadcasts on mothering. I too have a little girl, born two months before my 40th birthday. She’s bit of a firecracker, and because I had my children later in life, they are so precious to me. You seem a devoted and sensible mother, which is the greatest of your achievements.

    I am sending up a quickie prayer for you that He would encourage you today.

  34. Wendy says:

    Thank you for posting this article. It’s a dose of what I needed today. Have missed you on FB, but I rarely use it anymore, as I’m motivated by God rather than the world.

    Appreciate your ongoing postings. They are a blessing.

    God loves you and so do I,
    Wendy

  35. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    My life grows so quiet without Facebook. Sometimes, with the isolation of my job and working from home, I welcomed the interactions with others, but a lot of time it just was noise that cluttered my head with trivial things and robbed me of the ability to think about deeper things and just be quiet. It tempts me to opine about everything all the time, which Proverbs talks about (those who have to always spouting an opinion) and the ugly stuff that came out at times (ironically when discussing spiritual matters) was too much. I’m glad to be off right now. Great communication tool, but I get too engrossed and sucked in!

  36. Wendy says:

    I understand the isolation…with having chronic vertigo and not being able to drive I work from home. My two cats keep me entertained. In the big picture, you’ve planted MANY good seeds to make a positive impact for His Kingdom. You are a well-balanced lady, and God will use you in other areas (from the time saved on FB).
    I’ve been in a dry spell of FB. As if God is pulling back the reigns, telling me not to focus on temporal things which distract my attention from knowing Him and His will better. I don’t want to wake in the morning wondering what my “friends” are up to. God needs to be foremost in my mind.
    We are blessed having your blogging outlet and Crosstalk show. I always enjoy hearing your voice, as you come from Truth and honesty, and aren’t afraid to show/tell it.
    All for His Glory. 🙂 God Bless, Ingrid.

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