While standing in line, a woman walked by pushing a shopping cart with 2 kids in it.
A boy and a girl.
The boy sat quietly, but the girl was screaming at the top of her lungs.
My skin prickled as the little girl carried on and on at a volume that was probably summoning every dog in the neighborhood. My flesh wondered what in the world was going on and why that mama wasn’t doing anything but smile sweetly at her child and stroke her hair?! I wanted this lady to do something to stop the madness!!!
But then I looked a little closer and discovered something that broke my heart and turned me to quick repentance and humility before the Lord.
The little girl was living with a mental disability.
Tears sprang to my eyes as I continued to watch this mother (who I had been judging just moments before) as she tenderly smiled at her daughter and whispered gentle, quiet comforts in her ear.
When I left the store that night, I thought how awful it was for me to jump all over that woman’s mothering.
What’s worse is that I HAVE BEEN THE MOM WITH THE SCREAMING CHILD AT THE STORE. In fact, I have also been the mom with the child throwing a tantrum in the toy aisle at Target. I have been the mom with the kids getting into shenanigans at the play date. I have been the mom with the kids pitching a fit while we waited in line to see Santa last year. I have been the mom with the hysterical baby on the plane.
My point? WE DON’T KNOW THE BIGGER PICTURE.
Just like I didn’t know that mother at the grocery store was actually doing her job (and doing it beautifully well), when you judge my child for freaking out about having to leave the DVD area in the quiet library (TRUE STORY) – you don’t know how many hours I have prayed over my kids, poured over His Word, and sought Him and godly mentors for wisdom on how to raise my kids well.
My kids aren’t perfect and neither am I – but I am trying my best (and I imagine that most other mamas out there are, too).
That woman at Costco who spoke harshly to her kids? What if she is going through a horrible divorce and is at the end of the rope? Of course we don’t condone the sin of an unkind word, but our hearts see the precious person behind it who is trying so hard to hold it all together.
That mama at church who has wiggly kids in the pew – PRAISE GOD SHE HAS KIDS IN THE PEW!
You know what else breaks my heart? When a precious mom leaves a comment on THIS POST and says she is tired and overwhelmed by exclusive pumping and feels the best thing to do is stop, but she is afraid to do it for fear of being judged by other moms for feeding her child formula!
Are we seriously judging other moms about formula feeding?! Do we not have enough faith that God is BIGGER THAN A CAN OF SIMILAC? What those dear mamas need is not a heaping pile of condemnation to further burden their heavy hearts, but a good dose of love and encouragement to stop worrying about the other voices and pay attention to the One Voice that truly matters.
Y’all. We have to be better about this. I don’t want you judging me and I certainly don’t want to be judging you.
Because judging people boils down to a horrid little thing called pride. Pride is thinking that you are better than someone else or assuming that you have it all together in a particular area. And the problem with this is that it cancels out the good news of the Gospel.
If we all knew how to parent perfectly, then I guess we wouldn’t really need a Savior.
Extend the grace that you would want someone to extend to you. Extend the grace that Jesus, Himself, offers you day after day.
I read somewhere recently that every mom is a hot mess, some are just better at hiding it than others.
So next time you see a hot mess situation playing out in front of you at the grocery store, REFUSE to think anything other than the best about her.
Then look that mama in the eye and say,
“You are loved and you are doing a good job.”
– Julie :-)
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa
**Thank you 13:13 Photography for this photo and, more importantly, for not judging me the day we did this photo shoot and my boys were acting like a couple of animals.** :-)