Feeling sure that she stuck out like a sore thumb, she walked into the market, expecting any pair of eyes to be on her pregnant belly. That’s why she’d come so early – to avoid the crowds. Less eyes to see and judge. After several months of carrying a child – who the media and medical journals were telling her to just call a fetus – the shock and surprise had given way to fear and dread long ago. Her boyfriend had jumped ship as soon as she told him the news, and she’d never felt so alone. All she could think was it would just be too much to handle. After all, she had friends with kids and they seemed overwhelmed and inconvenienced by having children to take care of. Wouldn’t it just be the same for her? Wasn’t it the same for everybody, even if they wanted theirs?
Later, while she stood there checking egg cartons for the ones without cracks, these worried thoughts persisted. Then she heard a chorus of voices approaching from the next aisle. A mom pushing a cart full of groceries approached, with one toddler in the cart seat, and another trailing noisily behind on foot. Two kids, she thought. Man, that looks rough.
“Evelyn…” the cart-pushing mom called loudly, but patiently. “I can’t see you back there, catch up!”
A third little girl skipped out from around the corner of the last aisle, and joined the rest, whining about wanting Fruit Loops this time.
Ok, so it’s three. Even worse, she thought. How does she do it this early in the morning?
As she stood there, trying not to stare, but certainly no longer concerned with eggs in her hands, she watched this mother of 3 carry onward, then past her, then down the next aisle, then around the bend out of sight. The mother of 3 looked tired, and probably hadn’t taken more than two minutes on her makeup today, but her body language didn’t say defeat. Her words to her children were gentle and patient, even though firm. She tussled the toddler’s hair, held #2’s hand with her pinky while pushing the cart with her free hand, and when the straggling #3 caught up, her reprimand had been “I love you too much to lose track of you in here,” not “Why are you being such a brat?!” like some moms yell in stores. That mom of 3 had it together.
Somehow, today, her eyes and ears were more open. So was her mind, and her heart. Something about this mother of 3 spoke to her. Maybe it’s not all bad, for all of them. Maybe it doesn’t have to be as horrible as I think. Maybe I could be a loving mom like that, in spite of the stress…. Maybe I could do this.
Her mind was a buzz as she toyed with thoughts more curious than foreboding while finishing her grocery shopping. And when she got to the checkout, guess who was in the lane ahead of her. Mom of 3 was just putting the final bag in the cart and taking the receipt when she looked back, saw her, and noticed the baby bump. Mom of 3’s face crinkled with a smile that seemed to say Well, good for you! and then she was gone, out the door with her little noisy entourage of energy.
Hm….Good for me? Maybe…. It seems good for her.
Walking in the grocery store that morning, her plan had been to go to Planned Parenthood next and consult about a possible abortion. Walking out, though….her plans had changed. Her heart was starting to change too. Maybe there was room in there for a child after all.
What if you or me could be the reason for a story like this? What if we who are parents chose to work on fashioning a view of our station as parents that emanated “It’s good for me” instead of “Man, what a burden!”? What if those who are single or are without children did what they could to uplift the prospect of having children before the eyes of society?
Friends, we need to sell children! Wait, that came out wrong… What I mean is, we need to sell the idea of having children – as a great thing! And we need to sell it big! We need to all be like those celebrities or paid actors on commercials who endorse a product because it’s worked for them. We need to offer our own life situations as glowing testimonials for how parenting is not only NOT a horrible, scary, or burdensome thing – but a blessing!
Because we never know who’s watching.
Yes, we may have a hard time remembering that while we go through our busy weeks with screaming babies who are teething (like mine is now, plus colicky), fighting brothers, tattling sisters, the runaways, the don’t-eat-supper-ers, and the ones getting quite the attitude because they’re getting older and they know they’re smarter than you give them credit for. But even though all these hardships, and many, many, MANY more come with the territory of pregnancy and raising kids, we can still maintain a positive attitude and fight to keep our hearts light about the gift that children truly are.
There can be thankfulness and joy over the kids we have been blessed to bring into this world. Why not think of them as essentially care packages sent down from the Lord of Heaven, to bless with something wonderful and memorable during this life – a legacy of our own! And no matter how these children come to be, we can focus on the beauty of life as miraculous design of the Creator himself. It’s possible to see children in this way, and we must see them this way so it can show before others!
We all know how hard the devil is working to use brokenness and sin in our communities and society to send the opposite message, and convince others that death is better than life. But our consistently joyful mindset and desire to raise great, godly children will send the right message to our world – a message direly needed to be broadcasted everywhere we go!
Our testimonials sell the awesome blessing of children. Let these testimonials-in-action be seen everywhere, and let them be real!
Because you never know who’s watching.
Author: Jeff Ulrich
Father of three, working on his selling points...
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