In the Mission Field
Yesterday the kids to the local grocery store to allow them an opportunity to choose a piece of candy as a reward for some excellent behavior. We picked a closed aisle so we wouldn’t bother anyone. The four of them poured over the choices. The cashier in the lane next to us peered around the corner more than once. I was feeling a little self conscious of my brood when she finally spoke up.
“These all yours?” she asked in a bit of disbelief.
“They look like very well kept children,” she told me.
I was relieved that her observation of us had left her with that impression. It was a good moment for the Parris crew to be sure. Everyone was happy, well behaved and relatively quiet.
As we were checking out, the young lady looked at us again and finally asked, “How do you do it?”
“Stay so calm and put together. You are just so peaceful.” She said this with a tone of true wonder. I could tell this was no passing comment. She really wanted to know how I did it.
“Well,” I told her quite honestly, “I don’t always look like this.”
“But you have four,” she said in amazement. “I only have two and it’s so hard.”
“You know, I think it actually gets easier the more kids you have. It gives you a chance to put into practice all the things you learn.”
She unloaded a plethora of questions after that. By the time she was finished she had tears in her eyes and told me how she has two kids and she cries a lot.
I tried my best to encourage her. I let her know in no uncertain terms that everyone has moments like that. I ended by telling her to hang in there. “It will get easier.”
She came around to where my kids were happily holding their newly acquired candy. “Do you know you guys have a great mother? Do you know how lucky you are?”
I walked out of the store a little taller. I felt so blessed that we had had that really wonderful moment at the very moment someone else needed us to.
I have spent a lot of time over the past several years lamenting the fact that I can no longer do mission work. Today God reminded me that I am indeed a missionary. I may not be in a foreign environment, but I can still reach people who need to see Him. I didn’t do it on purpose. I was just doing what I’ve been doing for the last 9 ½ years.
What I learned today is that someone is always watching us. There is a big part of me that finds that very, very scary. As I told the cashier, I certainly don’t do it perfectly and what she saw that day at the store is as much the exception as the rule. But the other part of me…the single, prayerful missionary I used to get to be…is truly excited by the opportunity before me.
By working to make a difference in the lives of my children, I can make an impact in the lives of others. That, to me, is simply amazing.