So on this lovely day, today, I happened to have the opportunity to go alone. My husband kept our boys while I left for the afternoon. The stores were packed with people doing their last minute Christmas shopping. There were no parking spots to be had near the entrance. No problem, I parked far away. It was raining. That's okay. Without children, it's a breeze to walk from the car to the store. I was thankful and at peace. I do love the opportunities I have to take them with me as well, as more and more they are rising to the occasion and even being helpful to their momma.
Alone time is nice too. But my very favorite part of going solo is that I get to really SEE those around me....expressions on the faces of those trying to make it through their day, the heavy sighs while waiting in long lines, the polite smiles of those who you almost collide with coming around a corner and the not so sweet looks on some faces when they decide to get angry about it. I see the moms with their screaming children just trying to get through the store without abandoning their carts. Blank stares of men and women who look like they've lost something, The few who actually do smile at the stranger walking passed them in the aisle and I see the ones who look especially exhausted...usually a mom, who has that look on her face like she doesn't think anyone else could possibly understand what's going on inside her world. And in that moment, I just want so desperately for all the walls to come crashing down and time to stand still so I can go over to her and say, "Hi. I know it may not look like it because I'm here alone today, but I get it. You're tired. You might be feeling really overwhelmed. And you probably have some really big things going on in your life right now. Are you okay? Can I be so bold as to ask you if I can pray with you? I know I'm a stranger, but can I at least hold your little one for you so you can pay for these groceries and then walk you out to your car? Or how about I go grab you a cup of coffee. Can I do that"
I didn't actually go over to the weary mom I saw with her screaming child today. And I didn't say a thing to the father who was in the lane next to me with his four children, clearly looking overwhelmed and tired. I was too nervous to turn my cart around and go ask the woman who passed me on aisle five if she was okay. I could tell she wasn't. I should have. I wish I had. Instead, I sympathetically smiled...trying to convey my understanding of the struggles they might be going through, even just in that moment. But, I didn't feel like it was enough.I knew in my heart that I wanted to do more. I wasn't in a terrible hurry. But, something stopped me. I think it's the world we've become accustomed to....leaving others alone, letting them take care of themselves and allowing the enemy to further the notion that independence is best.
Because of my alone time today, I am praying that God will help me take more time to really see others, to notice them when we're out and about, to look at their faces and offer kindness. Wouldn't it be amazing if we actually acted on that nudge from within, to smile, ask how they are doing or goodness...even offer to help in some way? I want to go out of my way to look for opportunities to show God's Love, not just when it's convenient or easy, but even when it's not. My kids need to see that. They need to even be a part of that.
God sees us. Every one of us. But, I think we sometimes forget that and there are many who have no idea that they are ever noticed by a God who loves them so much. And I wonder how many sweet souls walk around this place and don't feel the least bit significant at all. Think of all the people we come in contact with each week. How many of them do we actually notice? And if we did, how much of a difference could that make in their day, perhaps even their life? It's not always easy to show up and be the hands and feet of Jesus, to put ourselves out there...especially when we ourselves may be feeling a tad insignificant, but if we choose to love others, they will see Jesus in us.
Thankful today that God sees us, every single one of us. He knows our deepest needs. He knows our every hurt and is the One who is our ultimate Comfort. Praying that God will give us eyes to see and ears to hear His call to minister to others every day.
Hope for the New Year Book Club
I am so over the moon excited about what God is going to do during our time together as we seek Him for all He has for us. It's going to be AMAZING! Head on over to Hope for the Weary Mom for all the details.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Lowercase Letters,
Growing Home, Hip Homeschool Moms, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions,