Over the last several months, I’ve been to McDonald’s more than ever before in my life.
And I’ve never been more grateful for the Golden Arches.
This gratitude is not due to a fervent love (or even appreciation) for McDonald’s particular strand of gourmet food or because of their recent commitment to all white-meat chicken in their nuggets, or even their quality black coffee which I consume with Gilmore-esque enthusiasm.
This newfound love for McDonald’s actually has nothing to do with McDonald’s and everything to do with whom I dine.
See, in 2015 I wrote a blog about loneliness.
It was a painfully real glimpse into my heart that was struggling with my best friend living in a different city while trying to preach truth to myself that loneliness isn’t a new concept but something to which the Gospel fully applies.
Through that struggle with loneliness, God revealed a new level of the unmatched sufficiency of Christ to meet the deepest longings of my heart.
But still I prayed for a real-life friend in my city.
And God, as He always does, went above and beyond what I asked, thought, or imagined (Ephesians 3:20), and He gave me Monica.
Monica’s husband, Clay, is a local pastor involved with the pastors’ fellowships RTM (my work) hosts every other month and he basically set us up on our first breakfast date.
The rest, as they say, is history. We hit it off and God has been knitting our hearts closer and closer ever since that first bagel bite at Panera at the end of 2015.
Monica pursues the Lord with a fiery passion and His grace is written all over her through her wise, gentle, strong, and kind personality. She encourages, rebukes, uplifts, and listens to all my words (and, wow, do I have a lot of them), while continually helping me to fasten my eyes on Christ and the glorious Gospel He died to distribute.
Our hearts are so similar and yet so different, but God knew exactly what I needed when He sent Monica into my life and I’m pumped to be friends with her for all eternity.
What’s truly remarkable is how paralleled our lives have been this year. It’s as if God tailor-made our paths to connect and sync (weird, right?). With Him we have traversed trails of victory and defeat, bridges of fear, mountains of rejoicing, valleys of death, and seasons of dreaming, all as our Master Guide has worked to pull us a little more outside ourselves and into the great expanse of His extravagant love.
Our corner booth in McDonald’s has held a lot of laughter, tears, lamenting, and prayers, and I’m so grateful for the mercy of a God who would not only save His enemy (me) but turn around and provide her with more grace-gifts than anyone could deserve in 10,000 lifetimes.
That’s the real happy meal.