A simple gift in the midst of our suffering

She fumbled in her purse for her wallet while her two year old daughter, looking adorable in pigtails and pink, asked impatiently for the cookie her mom was buying. I stood behind the counter in my messy apron and smiled at the little girl, thinking of Molly and what she would have been like. The mom, clearly irritated, glanced over her shoulder and out of frustration, told her daughter to stop asking her for the cookie or she wasn't going to get it. Looking back at me she mumbled, "I don't know why am I buying her a cookie. She clearly doesn't need one and is bouncing off the walls. So annoying."

Working at the bakery last fall and into winter, I came across many parents toting their kids behind them as they purchased a cake for a birthday, cupcakes for a party, or a cookie to quiet their shouting kid. Having just surrendered my only child made me more aware of how selfish we can be. I wanted to sit down with each mom that came through that door and share with them what I had lost and how they weren't appreciating the gift they had been given. As it was not my place, I never did.

I did encounter one young mom who inquired about the necklace I wore to work. A simple black and white photo of Molly that hangs around my neck on a thin silver chain. Mentioning her own daughter, she asked me how old Molly was. When I shared with her our story, her eyes filled up with tears. She asked me what she could do for me and I kept telling her there was nothing she could do. Then it dawned on me, here was my chance.

I told her there was something she could do for me: She could enjoy her daughter and the blessing of having her in her life. After telling her this, she nodded and affirmed my suggestion saying she would do that. I saw this mom several times while working at the bakery and each time she would ask how I was doing and thank me for sharing my story.

A few days ago I got a message in my Facebook inbox from Carrie, a young mom I have met only once. I didn't even know she had kids until she wrote me on Thursday. Here's a bit of what she said:

"What I really wanted to share with you is how you have really taught me to be a better mother. Having these two so close together is not always easy, but the second Madison starts throwing a fit, or Noah hasn't slept all night, I stop in my frustration and think about Molly and Micah. In an instant, my frustration is gone and I look at them as the fragile blessings they are."

I know that I don't know the difficulties and frustrations that come with parenting. I do not share this to put myself on a podium as someone to be admired. I share it to encourage those of you who have been given the gift of children in your care, to enjoy them as much as possible. I would gladly give my suffering to be up late at night with a crying baby or in a bakery with a toddler demanding a cookie. I would also love to have the joys of holding them as they fall asleep, reading Dr. Suess in funny voices, and making cupcakes for a birthday party.

My heart longs for those moments and is tired of this suffering. It is my prayer that you enjoy the ups and downs of parenting, knowing that our kids are on loan to us, a gift from God.


Pam said…
Such wise words and so timely as I juggle the demands of three blessings while always remembering the one I never met.

Thank you this morning for a welcome dose of perspective. As I pray for you today, dear Rebecca, I will hold my children tighter and praise the Lord for loaning them to me for such a time as this.
i am fighting back tears b/c trust me i hold my little girl much tighter b/c of your story and countless others i hear about almost on a daily basis. thanks for sharing and what a special gift.
Linds said…
My heart knows well the longing of wanting a child and not having one; I cannot even fathom the longing for a child that you have met, know and love with all of your heart! It makes my own heart hurt for you just trying to put myself in your shoes!

I DO hold Brayden close as I think about Micah and Molly-- thank you for reminding us all that life is such a gift that we should not take for granted! Know that we are praying for you and Jake.
Elaine said…
Your story has made me appreciate and love my own child so much more; for that, I will always be grateful to you and your blessed children.
Thank you Rebecca.
Anonymous said…
Sweet Rebecca:

You insire so many! Praying for you as you go through this "great sadness"

I pray God's comfort for you, and you heavy heart grows a little lighter everyday.


Anonymous said…
Sweet Rebecca:

You inspire so many. God's light shines so brightly though you!

I pray for comfort as you go through this "great sadness". I pray your heavy heart grows lighter everyday!

I love you!!


Anonymous said…
So true. I often find myself sad when I see people being mean and hateful to their little girls. And sometimes it makes me angry because I feel like it's so unfair.

This is good encouragement, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing.
Anonymous said…
thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions...I'm sure there are many would would rather curl up in a ball and not share with anyone.
It is good to hear from you and know that you are able to get some rest.
we love you
momof3 said…
I came in the middle of the Family Life broadcast and was immediately brought back to 7 years ago when I lost my twins at 23 weeks. In many ways I "got over it" quickly. In other ways, I still grieve. My pastor directed me to Mt. Moriah. Was I willing to leave all these things in God's hands and trust him? To God be the glory, I did just that. He has blessed me over and over again. I now have 3. He replaced my two and gave me a bonus! How awesome is the Lord God!
Anonymous said…
Thank you Rebecca for your encouragement and for always pointing to the cross. I don't know you personally, but you have been an inspiration to me, and I am praying for the Lord to continue to show you His faithfulness. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.
Anonymous said…
I've been where you are, watching parents treat their childen as annoyances in their life and I've too just wanted to shout, LOVE THEM and they'll not have a tantrum or disrespect you, or...the list goes on. So thank you, for posting your story, as it truly reaches the heart of many mommies and I pray that each mommy will cherish their children every moment, for we only have them a short time as it is. God bless you with your new news of TWINS!! God is so so good!!
Alison said…
You don't know me, but I want to thank you. This is such a poignant reminder to cherish my little boy, to play with him more, to smile and laugh with him even when life isn't as smooth as I'd hope. It hit me hard because he was also born this May. You are a blessing.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing your story--the longing and the hope, the pain and the love. I have so often prayed for you, and because of you, I often step quietly into my son's room to watch him sleep, and I thank God for him even when he's fussy from teething or when I need a nap more than he does! Thank you for allowing God to work through you, and for sharing your story here.

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