Years ago, my kids attended a Montessori school that had a gentle and loving environment. Each month they held a small celebration for all the children having birthdays. Parents were invited to visit, bring food to share, and we all had an opportunity to present the gift of words to the birthday children.
One child at a time would sit in the middle of a circle, surrounded by parents and peers, and anyone who felt led, would say kind words.
I'll never forget my daughter's five-year old celebration because her teacher, Kathy, gave me a gift of words. I can't remember what the kids said, but she said, "Dania has a quiet integrity." I'd been worried about Dania. She was shy, behind in reading and apprehensive about trying new things, but Kathy's words encouraged me that day. She made me feel like everything was going to be okay.
I'm convinced mothering is one of the most challenging tasks on Earth. It's hard to maintain balance and a healthy perspective when trials and trouble threaten to tear down all the good things you've built into your kids. But lately, I've noticed something. As I begin to question my mothering ability, and try to squash the feelings of failure that frequently arise, I'm being encouraged.
It happened a few weeks ago on the beach. A person I barely know came up to me and said, "I just wanted to say that I admire how tight you and Sam are. It reminds me of me and my mom. I saw you walking home together from school the other day and I bet you walked all the way there and back. You're a good mom." I was delighted by this man's compliment because the relationship he has with his mom is something I've noticed and admired.
Then, the other day when I went to write down the weekly chores on the white board in my kitchen, I saw this note from Kennedi, a teenager who hangs out with Dania.
Yesterday, as I was driving Dania's friend Britt, home, she said, "Britt told me she wants to be just like you."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"She said, 'I want to have exactly what your mom has. I want to get married, have a nice home and be a stay at home mom and raise my kids.'" This young woman is 18-years old and when I came back, I noticed something else had been added to my white board.
I now know the encouragement isn't just coming from people, it's coming from God. Look at what this passage of scripture says:
"But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus." 2 Corinthians 7:6
Is God encouraging you in a way you may not have realized? Has he sent someone to be a comfort to you in a time of need? Keep your eyes and ears open this week and you just may get a gift of words sent directly from heaven.
Dear God, thank you for caring about our deepest struggles and for meeting our every need. Help us encourage each other and thank you for never leaving or forsaking us in our troubles. Amen.