It was the height of the lunchtime rush. I side-stepped slowly as I guided my daughter over the patches of ice lining the drive-thru lane. After slipping a couple times, a kind woman held on to my daughter as I regained my footing and made it to the door.
With cool air beating our cheeks, we rushed inside. I shimmied past the row of cashiers and the customers waiting in line to order to see a familiar face smiling at me. She was a fellow toddler mom whose family I’d grown to love ever since my family joined their church. We were excited to meet for lunch after a few days of snow and ice ended with some serious cabin fever. We wanted to catch up and give our girls the chance to play somewhere other than our houses.
Our girls shared chicken tenders and fries as we talked between bites of chicken wraps and grilled chicken sandwiches. Then as more of the lunch crowd moved in, we moved into the play area. Standing in the only empty space we could find, we watched our girls squeal and laugh as they chased each other, enjoying their freedom. And somewhere in the middle of screaming children and calls for mommy, we continued our conversation.
However, the longer we stood there, the more I longed for quiet. The more I longed to sit and rest. Every noise outside of our own voices began to sound like a shriek, piercing my brain. Trying to break the intensity, I would force my eyes into a mild squint.
“Are you okay?” she eventually asked me.
I couldn’t lie. I have the type of face that doesn’t disguise my mood. And that day, I wasn’t in a great one. I admitted to being tired, irritable, and a little out of sorts because of a headache. I guess my long days full of chores and challenges—like the start of my daughter’s naptime resistance—had finally gotten to me. The thought of having to juggle it all had gotten to me.
She echoed her own struggles.
And to each other—right there—we offered an ear to listen, encouragement rooted in Godly wisdom, and grace in places we may not have found it. We also found someone who could and say, “I’ve been there too. I understand. And hang in there.”
We showed each other hospitality in the best way we could at that moment. With restless and weary souls, we enjoyed a meal we didn’t have to cook and let our children play in a place where there wouldn’t be a mess for us to clean afterwards. Instead of sitting in our houses, we met at a restaurant and our hearts became homes for each other to simply rest in the love Jesus extends through us. You could say God showed up right there in a fast food restaurant to show us the ministering power of presence. And we left in better spirits than we came.
When you spend your days working long hours, caring for strong-willed children, and trying to fit in everything else on your to-do list, it can be hard. The days can be hard. But receiving love from others—in the form of kindness, generosity, and friendship—can help make getting through those days a bit easier. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want a rough day to get a bit better or the heaviness in their heart to feel a bit lighter, even if just for a moment.
So let us aim to give others the things we would like in our own lives, just as Jesus commanded us. That way, others can see the Love that lives in us, and come to know more of it.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)