It had been a long day of work, school, and running afternoon errands—a really long, treacherous day. Now, all that stood between the kids and me getting home to a good meal and warm beds was one last errand to the post office to buy one stamp. As we traveled along from their school to the post office, the kids turned their tiredness into a sea of tears, whining, and fighting. “Just one more errand,” I scowled, “and then we will be home.” I was exhausted and quick to anger, and I just wanted them to be quiet—just for one minute. Please!
As we pulled up to the post office, I yelled back to the kids that I would be only two seconds. “Just two seconds! All I need to do is step in, buy a stamp from the machine, and I will be right back! Stay in the car, I will be ten steps away—it will be faster and we will be home sooner!” That, of course, is not how this errand “went down.” Just as I was leaping out of the car to buy the stamp, my middle child screamed, “I want to gooooo iinnnnn!!” And she would not back down. So, begrudgingly, I got out, and in a fury of anger, I unbuckled her, and stomped in. I was angry and annoyed. My middle child, however, was happy to be by my side in the post office, so much so that she was smiling and singing, completely unaware of how annoyed I was. As we stood there, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and then a whisper in my ear, “I think you should know that your daughter is really sweet and cute. Love every minute of this.”
I needed to hear those words that day, and God made sure that I did. He knew that I had allowed anger and frustration to creep in so far that I was no longer able to see the great blessing I had in front of me—a joyful child who was happy to be by my side. God also found the perfect way to send a reminder that I needed to be better at conquering my daily motherhood tasks without “grumbling or questioning” (Phil 2:14-15). He knows that when I allow anger to guide how I mother my children, I will miss out on seeing the joy and beauty that surrounds me, even when I am sitting in our family minivan darting from one errand to the next.
I am so grateful that God found the perfect way to reach out to me that day—a tap on the shoulder and a whisper from a stranger was just what I needed to let go of the anger and frustration. God’s nudging me to do better—to be better, to love better—is exactly what I needed.
We are nudged by God all the time, so as you continue to tackle the ordinary trials of motherhood, don’t ignore good advice from strangers, especially from those moms who have been where you are now. God may be sending you a nudge of just what you need, even while standing in line at the post office.