Stopping for coffee on the way to death

“Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart’s broke open.”

-Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

It had come down to a tall Sumatra with room for cream. My favorite Starbucks coffee was warming my hands through a thin paper cup. I was wondering how a cup of coffee could suddenly change the course of my life and make me accept something I had been yearning for so long.

It was a Monday in the spring of 2013. I left work early without saying goodbye because I didn’t want anyone to know I had decided to take my life.

I had a pretty good life. I was married to the love of my life. I had a good job at a church in Scottsdale Arizona, working with a team of people I valued. But I had been unable to reconcile with heartbreak and loss I had been experiencing for years.

During that time my pastor and co-worker reminded our congregation often that God loved us so much. Every time I heard it my mind would say, “Yeah but he doesn’t completely love YOU Tina.” At the age of 25 I put my trust in God and never stopped believing and seeking after Him. For years I didn’t recognize the gaping problem I had with accepting God loved me 100%. I kind of thought he put up with me.

The day I left work to take my life the oddest thing happened on my way home. I stopped at a Starbucks to order coffee. Looking back on this memory I realize how ridiculous it was that I would need a cup of coffee before leaving earth.

I ordered the coffee and handed the cashier my payment. She said the person in front of me had paid for it then she handed me the tall Sumatra with room for cream. The instant my fingers closed around the circumference of the cup I heard in my head, “I’m right here Tina. I see you. I know your pain.”

Gulps of air rushed into my lungs. He loved me. Suddenly it was truth to me. He loved ME! A spark of hope poured into the broken cracks of my heart. God used a cup of coffee to stop me from taking my own life. I guess He knows my love language–coffee.

During the next four years I would continue to walk a difficult road. I came to cherish the knowledge that God was close to the broken hearted. Sometime in April of this year I read Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me…” And my prayers changed from cries of help to prayers of thanksgiving. The work of healing had been happening all along. I know I am loved and I am healed.

The next time you pay a kind act forward for a stranger God might be using that act to let them know He is with them.


“Until you understand you are loved, you cannot live”. From a sermon by Kevin Butcher, author of Choose and Choose Again.

Tina Stephens

Author of The Common Hours


5 thoughts on “Stopping for coffee on the way to death

  1. Thank you for this, Tina … how grateful I am for such an intimate and personal , gracious and loving Father… And what a blessing your writing is … thank you for sharing the gifts He has given you – even when it hurts … we love you dearly ..


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