Plopped down on the itchy, drought ridden, grass at a shuttle stop in Santa Barbara, looking up a cool place to get boba in LA over spring break on yelp … I glance up to see this moment strolling past me.

Two men, one in a wheelchair and one behind pushing, cross the corner and head up the path in front of me at the bus stop. Both seem to be experiencing homelessness by the looks of the bags they carry with them and unkept attire according to cultures standards. Just two friends, helping each other out to walk down the path before them. Now it’s not solely the point that the man behind is pushing his friend up the street, but that they are laughing, enjoying the wonder of the day. They smile at me as they move along.

We live the duration of our lives searching for love in this lost, scary world. Yet, for most of us we will never find it if we get caught in the trap of darkness. We’re stuck feeling bogged down by the broken stories we see on TV and the media of mass man slaughter, acts of terrorism, apartheid that still exists, continuation of sexual violence…and so on. We listen to the lies people tell us about who we are based off our mistakes.

Not too often do we look up from the negativity to see the true reflection of love right in front of us. We misunderstand the boxes we put people in, not allowing them to have a chance to show their beauty.

We give up on ourselves and forget the redemption that is already given.

It’s possible that if we stop to lend a helping hand, share a laugh, say hello to the stranger walking by, tell a friend we love them, truly ask how someone is doing, buy someone a cup of coffee and tell them they’re doing great, forgive whoever hurt us with hateful words…maybe we can actually believe in the power of God’s healing.

Knowing the truth of grace and mercy will dramatically change your life.

You won’t be able to see the bruises and scars because they aren’t there anymore! Yes, it still hurts when you remember who you used to be, but you aren’t that person anymore! And no one can take that away from you, if you seriously understand forgiveness.

Sometimes I need a hard slap in the face and a reminder that I’m not a slave to my sin or the circumstances of this world. Life happens when you look around, see the bad and look deeper into the hope that lies beneath the surface. I’m not about ready to give up and let the ugly get the best of me. Laughing it off is way too fun anyways!

Do a little more of what the world needs every day, even if it’s just a single act of life-giving kindness.

And don’t give up on yourself, the story of grace doesn’t end in defeat.

Love on.