The kids browsed the book aisle and I quickly grabbed the few things we needed....and a couple things we didn't. Thanks Costco, you get me every time! After our shopping we headed to the food court line up to grab a quick lunch. Because feeding four kids and a tired mama for $7.88 sounded a whole lot better than adding to the sticky floors and pile of dishes back home.
After we were done our lunch we stepped outside to a rainy parking lot. The five of us raced to the van. We quickly loaded up our groceries and hopped in for protection. The girls were giggling in the backseat (thanks to the pop they had for lunch, I'm sure ;) Evan was trying to ask me about the song that was playing and Ellie was "reading" her new library book out loud. I sighed as I started up the van. As I checked my mirror I saw a lady trying to load up her groceries beside us. She was clearly struggling to pull the heavy boxes from her cart and so I asked Evan to hop out to help her. I watched the relief on her face when he offered and so I decided to hop out as well to help get the job done a little faster in the rain.
I was not expecting what God was about to do.
As I walked up to this sweet lady our eyes met and she thanked me. Then she told me that she had just received news moments before that one of her daughter's close friends was killed in a car accident. The heaviness of her words broke my heart. And as the three of us loaded up the back of her car, she unloaded some of the grief. I won't soon forget what she said: "You think your day is going well, you're just out getting groceries and then you get this call...." her voice drifted off as she looked down.
And in that moment words escaped me. All I could do was say how sorry I was.
While she went to return her cart I stood there grasping for how I could add something to our exchange, how could I comfort this sweet lady? When she returned to her car I asked her if I could pray for her. It turns out that she knows Jesus too. We stood in the rain and I prayed for peace and comfort and that her family would draw close to Him during this time.
I think God wanted to remind us both that His desire is to be close to us. On the easy days when we can easily see Him AND on the hard days when we want to scream to the heavens "Why?!" His heart is to be close to his children. He wants us to know He is there beside us when we are laughing with joy AND when we get that phone call.
When I got back in the car the kids wanted to know what happened. I told them and explained that God just wants to use each of us to encourage and serve others. We talked about what a missed opportunity it would have been if we had just driven away and not offered to help with her boxes. We spoke about the fact that God didn't design us to be alone but that He wants to use us to show everyone we come in contact with what His heart looks like.
As I shared with them I was once again reminded that this mothering thing, this everyday- day in day out pouring out of myself, is such an amazing ministry. This season that seems like it will go on FOOOOREVER is so important and beautiful and I would do well to remember that.
We get to SHOW our kids what it means to care about others. We get to SHOW our kids what it means to allow Jesus into our everyday moments. We get to SHOW our kids how to serve others and how to pray for them. We get to SHOW our kids what Love does.
I don't get it right most of the time, but today.... today God allowed me a chance to see that He can use all of us, we just need to have our eyes and hearts open.