How would she have known- that mom at the store?
How would she have known that her red headed boy pushing that cart reminded me of my own.
Memories of grocery shopping trips flood my mind.
The time I knocked over a whole display of Queso?
What’s up with those flimsy, cardboard displays anyway?
How can you maneuver 5 kids, a cart and myself through the store, around those displays?
I think of the time I almost left the cart and took the kids out. . . Oh, wait, I did do that.
Left the whole cart and apologized to the cashier.
I loaded those kids into the car and sat behind the steering wheel feeling like a failure.
Feeling like one who had lost it all.
There are so many parenting moments like that.
Feelings of failure and shame, when our kids don’t behave.
Yet, there were many trips that were good.
The kids began to help and get their own list.
For a time the store had little carts and they would fill their carts with the items on their own lists.
I think on all these things as I watch the toddler melt down and the moms shoulders sag.
How would she have known, that seeing her red headed boy would bring a flood of memories.
I watch this mama as her toddler throws a fit and flails wild.
I want to tell her I see her.
I want to tell her to take the time now to speak softly and comfort her.
Those wild out of control moments will fade.
I want to tell her it’s ok.
We’re not judging her.
We’ve got her her back and we’ve all been there.
I finish checking out.
I see them ahead of me.
The boy pushing the cart; such a big helper.
His other sibling is sitting in the cart.
The mama trying to wrestle that toddler out of the store as fast as she can.
The boy is navigating that big cart over the bumps on the way out of the store.
Things bounce out of the cart and the boy looks around embarrassed.
People walk by him.
I pick up the milk and the orange juice while he tries to hold back the cart from rolling over the items.
I smile at the blue eyed, red head.
My heart aches.
The mom turns towards me.
I tell her it’s ok.
I’ve got it.
I hold her gaze.
Tears start to gather in my eyes.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell her.
I breathe in slowly.
I tell her she’s doing a great job.
I see her.
She’s a great mom, and her son is such a great helper.
She smiles faintly and says thanks.
I turn back to the young boy.
I tell him he’s doing a great job.
Such a great helper for his mom.
Keep up the good work.
He has such an important job.
I head to my car.
I can feel the sob just below the surface.
I want to let out a scream.
That deep guttural scream from the deep ache and loss.
The ache that I can’t control.
The loss that I didn’t ask for.
I slow my breathing.
I place the bags from the cart into my van.
I thank God for the interaction.
I pray for that sweet mama and the toddler.
I pray for that young man.
I ask God to make his life count for the kingdom.
Let him know the saving power of a God who loves him unconditionally.
Slowly the ache dissipates, the tears subside.
I need to pick up the youngest from cello lessons and get home to make dinner.
There is a whole evening worth of chores to accomplish.
I thank God again for this moment and for that mama.
How would she have known she ministered to an aching mama’s heart today?
We never know when we encounter someone what they may be going through.
Love and be ready with an answer.
We neve know when we may minister to an aching heart.