Is it just me or does anyone else find motherhood difficult at times? Come on...I know it isn't just me!
I am finding more and more how difficult it can be in the fast paced world we live in. No one wants to slow down and savor the simple moments of life (and I'm right there with them. This isn't a "holier-than-thou" post).
I started reading Hands Free Mama a couple of weeks ago and even after one chapter its challenging me.
So, I determined to remove myself from the cyber-space, social media world for a little while one day and go out front to play with my littles. Nothing fancy. We took a ball, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. The day was gorgeously sunny with a nice breeze that made the bubbles float beautifully through the sky. I sat on the side walk blowing bubbles while E-lady squealed and chased after them and baby G-man stood on his wobbly legs smiling happily at the sight. I imagine he really wanted to run after his sister and the bubbles but those wobbly legs wouldn't let him quite yet. As I sat there, I was struggling with fully enjoying the moment of simplicity with my kids--but the fact that I was struggling meant I was trying. It had been a long day and really, blowing bubbles for 15 minutes for kids to chase gets old pretty quickly.
It was then that I heard a voice telling E to chase the bubbles. I looked up to see a runner across the street with her dog. She had stopped to watch my kids playing. The first thing that ran through me was discomfort. Who was this lady who was watching my children from across the street? And why is she talking to us...we don't know her. She yelled again, "Blow some more bubbles Mom!" I definitely felt strange and uncomfortable at this point but I blew more bubbles on command. After a few more seconds of watching me blow bubbles so my kids could laugh and chase them she said a few simple words that blew my mind:
"Thanks for giving me a reason to smile today!"
*exit uncomfortable feeling*
*enter shocked feeling*
Then she and her dog went off on their running way.
Had I heard her correctly?
My 15 minutes of bubble blowing while my giddy children squealed, smiled, and chased bubbles had actually caused her to smile? Gave her a reason to be joyful?
The simple act of putting down the phone, logging off of FaceBook, throwing chores and house work to the wind, and going outside to blow bubbles with my littles really impacted someone else's life?
I wasn't even really sure how I felt about that!
Her words were affirming, encouraging, reassuring.
Those 9 words said a whole lot more than what they originally seemed to say.
"You're doing the right thing! You're loving your kids! This bubble blowing is important!"
You know what else they said?
"It really is the simple things that we all crave. We think we like busy, crazy lives, but when it comes down to it the things that bring us joy (make us smile) are the little things...the things that slow us down...the simple things in life. And we (as a society) think we love busy-ness, but really our hearts crave simplicity."
The words of the stranger that originally made me a bit uncomfortable become words that have echoed in my mind over the last few weeks. They have encouraged me in my hard momma moments when I am discouraged and struggling with the things that life with kids bring to me. They've also made me realize just how much I desperately needed to hear encouragement. How often do we go throughout life and not even stop to encourage someone? Yeah, we might think they are doing a great job but have we told them?
If I needed those words, then I know I'm not the only one! You need them, your girlfriends need them, the mom at the grocery store who looks exhausted and just plain done needs them, the mom at the grocery store who looks like she has it all together needs them!
I think we sometimes feel that if we compliment someone, tell them they are doing a wonderful thing, it somehow makes us feel that we aren't...we fall so quickly into comparison. So, we just refrain from saying anything when really we are called to "encourage one another and build one another up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
I've been challenged to speak truth, love, affirmation to those around me in life. And girls, I'll admit, I'm not good at it. I have to really think before I speak and sometimes search out what I can say to uplift someone else. I have to take my eyes off of me and actually see what someone else is doing well. And that's not easy, but its necessary. If I need the encouragement for myself (essentially daily), then I need to begin the movement of verbal affirmation in my sphere of the world by doing it for others. Let's all do it together. Speak love to one another. Encourage one another.
You never know how much one short sentence will actually communicate to the one to whom you speak it...or how it will impact her to impact those around her. Its a domino effect when we use our words to build up. So stop just thinking good thoughts...speak good words. And let the wave of encouragement sweep over you and those around you...it might just become a tidal wave.