About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Jennifer, I’m so thankful that you overheard that conversation and then spoke into it yourself. So often I’m faint-hearted, assuming that I’ll be intruding when I should seize every opportunity to affirm the pursuit of righteousness when it’s right under my nose.

  2. Jen,
    Your story reminded me of my opportunity to “do church” and show hospitality in the middle of the frozen food aisle. I pushed my cart to head down the aisle and saw an elderly woman, who I would later learn was Vietnamese, trying to reach some frozen vegetables on the top shelf in the freezer. She was also “blessed” with shortness like me. I asked her what she was reaching for and preceded to open the door and climb the shelves until I could reach the top shelf and the prized vegetables she was wanting. She found my antics hilarious and so when I jumped back down we both had a good belly laugh and talked about the disadvantages of being short.

    This led to introductions and her revealing that she wanted to make soup for her family with whom she lived and I heard tales about how she got out of Vietnam. I stayed and I listened – all the while my frozen foods were melting – but I felt like I was right where I needed to be and so I settled in. She told me about how she was an orphan and I told her about my ministry that helps orphans and I felt like God met us, two people from very different worlds, right there in the frozen food aisle. I think back upon this and how I could have easily just passed her by and let her fend for herself, but I would have missed the opportunity to tell about God’s goodness in a very simple way to someone who perhaps needed to know that He cared about her.

    Amen to slowing down long enough to hear peoples’ stories and to plant Kingdom seeds….lovely, Jen!!

    Bev xx

  3. Jennifer, this is a beautiful retelling of what you saw between the aisles. If we would all reach out with hearts to invest in those following behind us, think of how the world would be changed! Thank you for noticing, and thank you for sharing this story.

  4. Oh gosh I just loved all of this! I am definitely an eavesdropper;) There have been many great conversations with people I didn’t know because I listened and decided to interrupt and say what I was thinking too. Thank you for making me realize that maybe my eavesdropping wasn’t about being nosy but An opportunity God has set before me.

  5. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! The aisles of Walmart and Kroger have provided some of the sweetest divine appointments ever! NEVER underestimate the power of an encounter over a dozen eggs!

  6. Jennifer, this is SUCH a blessing to read! Imperfect hospitality happening in the frozen food aisle? I can do that! I DO do that! I had no idea that “counted.” I’ve always considered myself deficient in hospitality. (As if it’s a vitamin, or something.) Besides being a beautiful story, you’ve opened my eyes to a surprising possibility that maybe I’m not so off-track, after all!

    • Yes, you CAN do that, Pearl. It definitely counts.

      So many of us feel that hospitality may not be our “Gift” but as I’ve been digging in deep into living a life of welcome, sometimes it looks different that what society might tell us. (But I bet you have aren’t deficient in this area at all. :))

  7. How wonderful that you and your sister chose to affirm these two men in the blessings in their relationships. Staying focused on our purpose and on solidarity can smooth out rough places as we seek to live together in peace and love.

  8. My heartbeat (and the heartbeat of Jesus)…..life on life. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Jennifer,
    This was deeply touching, if not for you we wouldn’t of had the pleasure of reading it. The kindness of the elder, and willingness of the younger’s acceptance will instill a memorable experience for a lifetime. By being aware we can help make a difference as we never know where the Lord will lead us. Thank-you for sharing your awareness.
    On the weekend a neighbor who has transformed his yard into a food garden, asked if my son and I would like a tour. As we proceeded he suggested we take our shoes off in order to get the full experience. I was then offered to help myself to whatever I please. Afterwards we were invited to join him, and his roommates for dinner in the garden.There weren’t chairs, or table settings but it was the most enjoyable hospitality I’ve experienced in a long time.
    Have a blessed day all,


  10. This story does a beautiful job illustrating the little golden nuggets we find when we live in the moment and stop to watch our surroundings. It encourages me to act on those moments when I feel the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Pass the tissues, please! Only the Lord knows what an impact your exchange with these two precious souls was made! Praying blessings to you today, dear Jennifer, and also for them, because He knows and sees. Thank you for a beautiful post today.
    Hugs, Kim

  12. This story had me in tears this morning because I’ve spent my life in ministry trying to impact teenagers for Christ. At 67 and retired I still want God to use me to impact lives. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that he will….if we just keep our eyes open for opportunities….even in the grocery store!!!

    • Toni –

      thank you, thank you for your time and the years you’ve invested. We NEED you. We need your wisdom and experience and while those teens you’ve ministered to may not know it or acknowledge it, their lives are being changed because of your investment!!!! xoxoxox

  13. Your story is so beautiful and touching. Thank you for this great reminder of ‘doing church’ right where we are. It’s more than just going to church on Sunday. It’s connecting with whoever God put in our daily, moment by moment encounters. Let’s be attentive to the Holy Spirit and live life to the fullest remembering how Jesus encountered us in one of these moments. Thank you!

  14. Maybe Hallmark would be interested. There should be more feel good television, and less silly romances. And this is reality, reality tv isn’t.

  15. YES! Thank you for letting us in on the conversation as well. Next time you doubt whether you’re called to speak into such a conversation, remember that we’re cheering for you. And may we all learn from your example.

  16. I teared up just reading this. The interruption, the affirmation just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Praise God for his prompting, and kudos to you, Jennifer, for stepping out in faith to encourage that older gentleman and his young friend. You’ve inspired me (an older woman!) to step out in faith and encourage the younger folks around me. I’ve let my own insecurities and feelings of irrelevancy get in the way of starting the conversation as you did in Aisle #7. We DO need to do life together: youth inspires energy and passion; older folks can offer the voice of experience and perhaps a bit of wisdom. P.S. ‘Loved that closing line: “Walk the road of welcome.” I want to make that MY mantra! Thank you, Jennifer.

  18. Jennifer,

    Kudos for slowing down to hear and encourage them. We all need to slow down more and listen. Be on the lookout for chances to encourage others. We’re all on this planet and we need to do life together. We were not meant to live alone, but in community. Go ahead encourage someone, help them out. Show them the love of God!

    Blessings 🙂