A couple weeks ago, I found myself squatting in front of a liquor store with my three children. The blonde toddler was screaming because I don’t remember why. The big one was mourning the death of the Diet Coke that had just broken through the flimsy plastic bag she was carrying it in. And the Chinese-American was trying to sit on my lap.
Which doesn’t really work when you’re squatting.
In front of a liquor store.
I want you to know I didn’t cry. I kept it together. I felt a kind of calm one must feel right before they get eaten by a shark or something.
Maybe I’m being dramatic. I’m just trying to say, I looked at my situation, knew there was nothing I could do to get to my car short of abandoning my groceries or my kids, and so I just sat down in surrender. I didn’t seek a rescuer or make any calls, I just sat there and waited for help.
There are a lot of boring details that go into the “how” I ended up squatting in the middle of the parking lot with my three children outside of a liquor store and why my car was so far away, but there I was with too many bags and too many children to go from point A to point B.
That’s the hardest part of mothering three children. Just getting from point A to point B.
After a few minutes of my oldest asking what we were going to do and my youngest continuing to scream with the most volume she could generate, and my middle one still attempting to tackle me, an older woman carrying her own groceries asked me if I needed help.
I turned my head and said, “So much yes.”
She took the groceries from me and I carried two of my three children, one under each arm, and she asked, “Are you… a babysitter?”
(Crying on the inside)
“Nope…I’m a mother…”
I laugh with my people about how crazy the emotional temperature of my house is these days. We have high highs, you guys. Joy, our deaf but now hearing with a hearing aid daughter, just said “Mama” yesterday. I got to write a book that will be in bookstores July 4th! Highs!
But, we can get low. Laying in front of a liquor store low. Sometimes within the same hour. The macaroni doesn’t get scooped out quickly enough and Joy transforms before our eyes back into “Old Joy.” “China Joy.” The shell of a child who had never known love. If she flips that switch, it’s so hard to help her out of it. It’s so hard to make the crying stop.
And I look around, and sometimes it makes me feel really down. I wonder how many tears are too many tears. I wonder how it will affect my other children. I wonder what I’m doing wrong and if I’ll ever get it right. The highs of dreams being realized and milestones being reached lose their electricity and I grumble at myself for feeling weak and unhappy.
But, here’s what I love. I love that in my highs, there is still nothing as wonderful as Jesus. He is better than books and first steps and promptly scooped macaroni. He is the reason for all of my joys. And in my lows, I know that because of Jesus, one day there will be no more lows…
Revelation 21:4 – “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Sometimes though, the hardest thing is getting from point A to point B. In the hard moments, heaven can feel distant. There is wondering and worrying and sadness and squatting on sidewalks feeling alone. Sometimes Jesus feels forever away.
But that’s not true.
He’s squatting right beside us.
Jesus isn’t just the prize when I reach Point B. He’s the prize right now. Right in the middle of broken grocery bags. In the middle of the ups and the downs and the laughs and the cries and the backtracking and the pinch-me moments. Jesus is more satisfying than met goals and He is more powerful than our problems.
He’s the source of every good and perfect thing. AND He is the friend most completely acquainted with our weakness.
Point A to Point B isn’t easy, but it is sweet. We do not walk from the Kroger to the car alone. We’ve got a God strong enough to carry all our groceries and all our toddlers and all our hopes and all our joys.
He is, right this second, carrying us from painful Point A to perfect Point B.