Sunday, May 4, 2008

Grace

The boys and I trekked to the mall one day last week. I had to run an errand and I had to do it that day.

The early morning warning signs were there. That little voice inside me said, "This isn't gonna work today, girly." But, nonetheless, I had to go.

I loaded up the kids and headed out. Jack, who loves the mall and typically says, "Mom, can we go to some stores today?" was throwing himself on the mall floor, not obeying, and testing me at every turn.

Max, who hates being strapped in anywhere anymore, was letting everyone at the mall know that I was the Wicked Witch from the Midwest by screaming, "Me out. Me out."

And, Lincoln wasn't interested in eating before we left, but the moment we walked into the mall wanted to do nothing but, you guessed it, eat.

I was walking towards our final destination, pushing a crying Max, a hungry Lincoln, and doing all I could to keep a very unhappy Jack in tow when an older man, probably in his 80's, stopped me and peered into Lincoln's seat:

"Three boys, huh?"

I screeched the stroller to a halt, looked him right in the eye and waited.

I get this comment a lot. And it is usually followed by, "Wow, you must have your hands full" or "You sure are brave for bringing all of them out here" or (and this is my favorite) "So, are you going to try for a girl?" I waited for his choice of them.

But that day, this sweet, older man continued, "To carry on your family name. It must be such an honor to raise them." And, he walked away.

I burst into tears.

I cried because it was such a hard day, and I felt so convicted for yelling at them and for being so impatient. I cried because raising three boys that don't like to shop on my terms and who run around the sofa for hours on end and crash their dump trucks into every door they can find seems so overwhelming on days like this.

But, the big tears, the puffy ones that kept flowing even into our car ride home came pouring out because it is such an honor to raise them. And, I am so proud that they will carry on our family name. And, this man was kind enough, thoughtful enough, and sensitive enough to stop and share those words with me.

I wonder if he knows how much it meant to me that he stopped to encourage me. Maybe he has three boys or ten of them, and his wife didn't hear those words when she was a young mom. Or maybe he would have said something equally encouraging to my friend, Jenni, if she had been walking through the mall that day with her three girls - because that's just the kind of man he is.

Undoubtedly, he was God's grace to me that day. And, oh, how I needed it.

So, if you see me, or more likely another young mom toting her little ones along somewhere, please trust me when I tell you that she knows her hands are full, and that telling her she's brave feels condescending and makes her feel judged, and that implying that she's "missing" part of her family is hurtful.

Telling her what an honor she's been blessed with will make her day.

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
Children a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3


27 comments:

  1. That man was indeed an Angel sent by God to minister to you! What a blessing!!!

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  2. Oh, this brought tears...how sweet! He certainly was an angel!









    So, are you gonna try for a girl? ;-)

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  3. Such true words!
    What a gift from God you got! :)

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  4. Oh, I can SO relate! I have gotten many, many of those exact comments, but what a sweet man to remind you that you're having the honor of raising three little men. Almost as if it was an angel sent by the Lord to encourage you that day. Thank you so much for this amazing reminder. It really did take my breath away.

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  5. What a wonderful Godsend he was!

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  6. God is so good, isn't He? He never fails us, even when we feel like we are failing.

    I know how you feel- and they all look at my Andrew so pityingly- poor boy in there among all those girls... I just smile and say how great it is to have such a brave, strong boy to protect all of us girls out in the world- that makes Andrew smile from ear to ear :D

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  7. What a great post! I think God knew you needed to hear that, on that day! Our children are indeed a blessing from the Lord!

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  8. What a perfect comment. I will remember this post before I open my big mouth! Our words are important. Encouraging one another should be our objective.

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  9. What an awesome outlook! And a beautiful verse!

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  10. i believe in angels on earth. you may have just had an encounter with one or God used someone to speak to you.

    you are doing a great job. allow yourself those days that kick your butt. enjoy the good days knowing that the other ones will happen, also. but don't forget that you're a great mom and your ministry right now is your family. a ministry is a gift from God.

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  11. This post brought tears to my eyes too. What a kind hearted and wise man!

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  12. Great post...and great advice. Praise God that He provides what we need when we need it.

    Was your errand getting money back from price reductions following the 14 day period after purchasing from GAP...or Old Navy? Do I know you or what!?!?!

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  13. it is an honor to have been given these little guys; and you are doing a great job. hope this week goes well for you; every day is a new day. :)

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  14. So that was the story you were talking about... I'm so glad you wrote it down because it is a beautiful one!

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  15. Thanks so much for sharing this... what a story. God's grace can come in such amazing, unexpected ways, can't it?

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  16. Oh girlie... you needed to hear that. That man was a special gift to you!

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  17. Wow- what a blessing those words were- and thanks for sharing them- because I needed to be reminded of them today also!

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  18. I, too, am raising three little male blessings. I have heard all those comments and more and there are days when I just try not to meet the eyes of strangers so that I do not have to listen to their comments.

    Words can calm and soothe or they can hurt and break.

    I love the sweet words of that man. I need to remember to hear them when I listen to someone being negative. It should be my come back when people tell me what I already know about my busy life.

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  19. Though I don't know the man, I like him... ;) If only we could all be so encouraging to people who are having a tough day...

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  20. What a neat story! It is always good to have a positive answer or comment ready to pass along. Upon seeing me 8 months pregnant with Sierra in the cart and Jules close by, a lady turned to me and said, "If I was in your shoes, I'd kill myself." Talk about a discouraging remark! So glad you received one to make you remember how God has blessed! (my)Sarah said she had fun chatting on Facebook with you on this busy day. ;)

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  21. That's a tear jerker!! Mom and I were saying the other day that your family is basically the only one carrying on the "Short" name...wear it proudly!!! There is a reason God gave you 3 boys... He doesn't want our family name to die out. =D

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  22. Oh Sarah that just brought such a lump to my throat. Isn't it funny how God always has such impeccable timing. It is truly an honor, and your boys are lucky to have you as their mommy.

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  23. Thank you, Sarah for yet another perfect timing post. I didn't get a chance to read it yesterday so I just read it tonight...the Lord knew I needed it after a weekend of being a "single" mommy. I was just telling a friend the other day I was so tired of the "I'm so glad it's you and not me" smile I get whenever I'm out with all the kiddos. I have to admit that the mall is a place I go with all three kids with fear and trepidation...praying that the Lord grants grace for Mommy and good behavior all around. It is so rare that as young mothers we get those truly encouraging, heartfelt words from strangers especially when our kids are not picture perfect...what a blessing in that man and his very true words.
    Carrie : )

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  24. I'm so glad he chose those words to say to you. Definitely a God thing. Beautiful story!

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  25. Came back to read the rest of the story. Wow, that is what we all need now and then.

    God saw your need and met it right then and there!

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  26. I just came across your blog from Rocks in My Dryer, and somehow landed on this post. I'm commenting, even though this post is old and you will most likely never see it. But I just had to commiserate for a minute. I have 4 wonderful, busy, loud, lovable sons. And 1 daughter, our latest child. We were 'done', feeling fulfilled and happy, with 4. EVERYONE asked if we were going for a girl. Every time I was pregnant. I heard the same lines every day, 'you're brave', 'you must have your hands full', etc. And it only got worse when we had our daughter - almost every single person I meet says "you kept going until you got your little girl" I cringe every, single time. I wonder what do the boys hear when someone says that? I am constantly trying to think of a kind rebuttal that will let people know they shouldn't say it. When people say "God bless you!" in exasperation because of the number of kids I say "He has!" But as for the boy/girl comment I haven't come up with anything yet. But I agree, with all my heart, that He has blessed me, and I believe that all of my children are the most precious gifts from Him, and I believe He had a long talk with my grandmother when my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, and together they decided our family needed another blessing, and here she is. That man was an angel meant for you that day, and I'm happy you met him.

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  27. Oh, I love this post. Brought me to tears.

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