Sometimes we bump into God in the most unusual places.  That seems like a mouthful coming from me!

For those of you who know me well, you likely have seen me tear up a time or two.  It’s not uncommon.  However, standing in the check out at Casey’s is not a common place for this to happen.  I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I was today.

It all started at church.  My 3 little darlings were actually fairly well behaved.  (Gasp – I know shocker!!!)  Emma wanted me to read her Heaven is for Real right in the middle of the sermon – uh-hum… no, not now.  Cue brother Caleb who proudly leans over and says “Mom I’ll read it to her.”  Shuffle seats, and she is snuggled in next to him, and he’s reading to her.

Sometimes as Mom’s we take these things for granted.  We get dulled to the special things.  I was more focused on hearing a sermon for once.  “Fine Caleb read it to her, but for heaven’s sake, be quiet… we’re in church you know!”  You know the thoughts.

SO…. I also have a nice addiction to Casey’s diet coke.  (For my non-Iowa friends, Casey’s is a convenience store chain here!)  Sunday tradition is that after church we run and get me one on our way home.  EXCEPT today….  Today, Tom needed to check our beer but chircken (Can you all say “Hicks?”  – lol – Smile!) SO, I went to Casey’s on my own.  As I was walking in I recognized a lady getting her things and was somewhat certain I had seen her at church.  She happened to be right in front of me at check out and we did the normal – Hi how are you? thing.  She started to leave and I was paying for my 4 4oz. Diet Coke (ahhh… smile!)  But then, she turned around and came back and walked right up to me.

“You were sitting in front of me at church today, right?” she said to me.  I confirmed and we had a bit of casual conversation.  Then she says to me, I have to tell you that your family was such a blessing to us.  Again, cue sarcastic mom, I assumed she was going to talk about what it was like to be a busy mom and be raising your hands praising one minute and then taking coins from your noisy child the next..  Instead she say, “I have three children almost identical to yours, except they are older.  One with a shaved head, one with longer hair and a blonde daughter who is the youngest.  We are here bringing my second son to Dordt.  As I watched your son volunteer to read to your daughter, my daughter leaned over and said, mom that’s what he (she said her son’s name, but I missed it) did for me.  It was such a blessing and privelage for us to be able to sit behind you.”

OK – at this point, I’m all teary eyed and gasping a bit.  First because I can only imagine her emotion.  Leaving her son at school had to be hard.  And then to watch a re-run of their younger years…. eeiikk..  Second, because honestly, I don’t consider our family to be the one that is a “blessing” to sit by.  Often I end up with the crabby mom look and tone.  Often I’m thinking, why is it that everyone else’s kids sit so quietly, and mine think that the middle of the sermon is the perfect time to tell me what their favorite meal at school was last week – I mean seriously…  Many times, when we meet and greet I casually say to people, “sorry that you sat in the entertainment section – my kids are always worth a good laugh.”  Yes, we’re that family at church.  No folded hands and attentive ears in the group – we slide in sideways and just hope to keep the snacks from flying in the air and limit the potty breaks!

Honestly, I was so taken aback I was a bit speechless.  I affirmed this dear lady in the realness of leaving her son, asked where they were from, etc. But, I was really a bit rattled.  As I drove home, wiping tears from my eyes, I knew that I had to take the opportunity to share with the kids.  I called a “family meeting” when I got home.  When I made them shut off the t.v., they began to stake their claim that it “wasn’t them” even before I began talking.  As I affirmed my kids and explained that someone is always watching and we never know who we are going to touch by our actions, tears spilled from my eyes.  (Don’t worry, my kids didn’t even flinch, they are used to it!)  It was a great learning lesson.

It wasn’t until tonight as I was praying with the kids that God spoke to my heart about all this.  Why was I so emotional about it?  You see, he made it clear to me tonight, that this kinds lady’s voice of affirmation, was really his voice to me.  He spoke through her to reassure me of my parenting, and more importantly to open my eyes to the little things that are so easy to miss.  It was like he was saying to me “I notice everything you do, as well as your kids Jen.  And yes, your family is a blessing to me.”

As women it is so easy to get caught in the comparison game.  I don’t know why, but for me, my kids behavior is one of the areas that I always feel as a parent I fall short.  Isn’t it just like God to send some random stranger whom I will likely never see again to bless the socks off me and my family…

Where are you caught in the comparison game?  What are you needing to hear God’s voice of reassurance on?  I’d love to hear….