God's Big Breadcrumbs

April 22, 2018
Before I even knew God, He was placing people in my life like breadcrumbs leading me back to him. There was James, who despite my reputation of being a cactus in high school (prickly and unapproachable) he opened his arms to me when I transferred to the same college. I thought a popular guy like him would never remember a quiet, unlikeable girl like me, but he welcomed me at a time when I knew no one. He couldn’t miss me walking through the otherwise empty parking lot. He stopped and hugged me. I don’t remember our conversation, but I remembered thinking there was something different about James. Now I realize that he shined the light of Jesus into my otherwise dark world. James is now a missionary in China. At the time I didn’t even know he was a Christian, but now I know he was a breadcrumb.
There was Caitlin. We transferred in at the same time, took classes together, did projects together, and sat next to each other on graduation day. Caitlin on the other hand always had Jesus on her tongue, but not like other Christians I knew. His name left her lips so naturally, and the life she lived was both dedicated and seemingly effortless. Caitlin shared her faith with a girl who at the time was rooted in agnosticism. I wasn’t afraid to share my dislike at times for the way many Christians lived, but Caitlin never flinched or frowned. She simply nodded in recognition of our many differences. Caitlin was a breadcrumb.
I ran into Caitlin today. And despite 7 years of minimal contact, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say hello. I wanted to thank Caitlin for showing me the real Jesus. The one that doesn’t flinch when you deny him. The one that understands why this world can be so attractive. The one that embraces you after 23 long years of running the other direction. But I didn’t. I couldn’t figure out how to put it into words in that short amount of time. I didn’t want to cry in front of unexpecting coffee shop patrons.
Like James and Caitlin I’m sure there were many other breadcrumbs along the way. Perhaps they started out small and unnoticeable, but as my heart softened and my soul ached for love the breadcrumbs grew immeasurably. Along the path I began to pick them up, examine them, ask questions, and eventually follow them back home to a God who opened his arms and said simply “I’ve been waiting for you.”
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