Live this week with anticipation for what God is going to do.
Those were the words of one of the pastors at my church this week before he offered prayer.
So, that is how I have approached the week.
Some beautiful moments have happened so far.
On Monday, I stopped by a new friend’s house. She is pregnant, in her second trimester, and already has two little girls. Both girls were down for a nap, so she took me and my son into her backyard to show us her garden. It was full of beautiful squash, zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, and sunflowers.
She picked zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and marjoram as my son played nearby, and then she gave the vegetables to me to cook for my family. It was a beautiful gift, and I felt blessed by it. Then we both sat on her backyard swing and talked while my son scooted around Fred Flintstone-style in a big toy car.
We literally hadn’t seen each other since winter because it seemed like every time we tried to get together, one of our kids was sick, or we were sick, or some other circumstance got in the way.
That morning when I turned on the car to go to her house, my tire pressure warning light came on – and I thought, here we go again. I wondered if we would get to see each other. Then I thought: anticipation. I decided to just find an air pump before I started thinking that the day was ruined.
It worked out that the tires did just need some air in them; fortunately, I didn’t have a nail or something stuck in them, and they didn’t go flat until I got to the air pump. I made it to my new friend’s house a little later than expected, but it all worked out fine. This particular friend’s faith astounds me, and I enjoy hearing her talk about the ways God has worked in her life.
I had been feeling like I really just needed to sit down and talk with someone, and she was the person I wanted to talk to. I think plenty of full time moms have that feeling sometimes.
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On Tuesday, I had my five-year-old niece sleepover at my house and babysat her the next day while her parents worked. It was my niece’s first time sleeping over at my house. I will admit, I came into it with some naïve expectations that she would play beside my son, and they would bond. That didn’t really happen as much as I wanted. She tended to want my attention, and she wanted to do a lot of pretend play (usually involving my dogs) while my son drove his toy trucks. I took my son and niece to the playground near my house, and my niece did put him on the slide with her and push him in the swing. Even though they didn’t play side by side as much as I had wanted, it was still good that I could give her the experience of walking in the forest, seeing deer, gathering some rocks and pine cones to paint, and showing her how to play fetch with my dog. Even though I had to adjust my expectations, I still got a chance to show love for my niece.
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Yesterday, I took my son to an open session of his toddler music class, and I invited another new friend to come along. Both of her children smiled and laughed as we played with scarves, used jingles, played a xylophone, and marched in a circle as the teacher sang. A bonus that I hadn’t expected: whenever my son started to wander – or run – away from the activities at hand, my friend’s daughter would pick him up and bring him back to me. The week before, I was literally sweating at the end of class because I had chased Carson so much. It wasn’t pretty, I’m sure. I told the little girl that she had no idea what a big helper she was this week! After that, we took our kids out for lunch. Seeing both of our sons, so close in age, sitting in high chairs side by side and eating the same foods, was an adorable sight. This was also another opportunity to chat – and I have come to treasure any chance to chat. Something else that I appreciated: my friend never touched a cellphone the whole time.
After that, I took my son to Antietam Battlefield to walk. The landscape there is so peaceful — with cornfields, farms, rolling hills, and blue sky that meets huge stretches of green grass – even though the history there was obviously not peaceful. My son, who is obsessed with wheels, spent an inordinate amount of time touching the wheels on cannons and wagons. Then I strolled him for miles in the jogger, and the cool breeze made it refreshing. As I walked past a white farmhouse with green shutters and read the historical sign on it, a lady who was also walking came up to me and said that the farm had been owned by her family in past generations. We ended up walking the rest of the time together. She said, “Just so you know, I don’t usually end up walking with people.” The other funny thing is that her first name is the same as mine, and she spells it the same way too.
It’s only Thursday, so I don’t know what else the week will bring. So far, conversations have been the best part of the week. I feel like God has brought these people into my life because some weeks are much more solitary and chore-filled. That is part of being a full time mom – learning to be content with the quiet times, the teething times, and the times when it seems like the house will never be clean. In those weeks, I’m thankful that I can turn to Jesus in prayer and feel His presence. Even when my faith is small or much weaker than it probably should be, and even when I tend to dwell on my mistakes and shortcomings, I’m thankful that I can draw strength from His love.
Will you look at the rest of this week with anticipation too?