As I wrestle with my own personal growth, get excited for the changing team dynamics, and prep for summer season – it seems like there are lessons intertwined into the most unexpected places.

This week I jumped down from the truck and greeted Madame D as she asked where I’ve been for the past few months. As we unloaded the soda bottles from the pickup, I caught her up on where I have been for the past few months and assured her that I did not forget about her – and that I’m excited to be back in Haiti!

I started to ask her about prices and what she was stocked with as she owns one of the bulk depots we stock the house with. In my questioning, she told me to go ahead and check out the inventory myself. I followed her directions and went to the back, also located beside her house – where I heard a “Estefanie?! Kijan ou ye?”

I turned to look where the greeting came from – and quickly looked back towards the depot instead as I realized it was Madame D’s husband, a towel wrapped around him as he cooled off with a mid-afternoon bath in the Caribbean heat. With no shame and just greetings and questions the same that his wife had posed, he let me know they had noticed my absence and he asked about life and my time away. I focused my eyes on the inventory as I replied and laughed to myself later at the absurdity that is an everyday errand around Cabaret. (It’s not actually absurd….just a cultural difference that can seem a little absurd to me and my Western friends like yourself!)

As I told the story to Young Lights leaders and laughed, reflecting on the trip to the depot and this business owner’s complete lack of shame in talking to me before getting dressed, I thought about one of the things I’ve been learning lately.

You ever feel like you need to be put together at all times? Whether it’s literally the way you are physically put together or more like me, leading well and organized and hosting in that good ol’ perfectionist Proverbs 31 style. We slip into these habits of doing things well for the sake of the gospel, or honoring God by honoring our boss or our family or whoever we are impressing. Then those habits turn into our personal strengths, which turn to pride. Or sometimes instead of pride, it’s a focus on what we can do in the middle of feeling there is so much we can’t do.

Sometimes I meet someone like Madame D’s husband. Free to greet and have a conversation whether put together or not, comfortable in his own skin. Living life and asking me about mine on his way. I want to be like that. I want to lean into the teaching and growing that the Holy Spirit keeps nudging me toward – to stop needing to be all put together before I can engage in life with others.

So God decided to teach me while picking up soap & sodas this week.