A while ago, I witnessed a disturbing sight at a grocery store. I was behind a mother and a little child at a check out, when a little girl, who was no more than 3 wanted to help her mommy. She wanted to put the groceries on the ‘belt’. The mother said okay and the little girl did her best, but with every single item the little girl put up on the belt, the mom told her quite harshly that she made a mistake and she should do it ‘the better way’ so as not to break or squish something. I criticized the mother in my mind and felt sad for the little girl. But as I thought about the incident more throughout the day, I realized that I was standing behind myself and my daughter behind that check out earlier that day. I was seeing myself in another mother.
In this world, more than anything, I want to have a lasting loving relationships with my girls. I pray for that almost daily. But daily, I struggle. I struggle with critical spirit, harsh words, irritable mood. Why is it so difficult to offer loving words and gestures to the people I love the most in my life? It was easy for me to watch the young mother and criticize because I let my kids put groceries on the belt all the time without correcting them. But what about other things?
I heard somewhere once that when we pray for something from God, say ‘courage’, God doesn’t just hand it to you on a silver platter and all of sudden you become this courageous person. Instead, God gives you the opportunities to become a courageous person, the opportunities to practice courage. If I ask for love, God will give me the opportunities to be loving. But the choice is mine to make. And sadly, I fail–a lot of the time. I am amazed at the way my 3 girls are growing in spite of me. They are loving, sweet, smart, confident and amazing girls. They forgive me and pick me up when I fall. I am humbled. I am grateful. They inspire me to make the right choices one at a time daily. More right choices tomorrow than today. Now, excuse me for a moment. I have to sneak into their bedroom and kiss them ‘good-night’ and watch them sleep a while.