And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
I saw the woman from the corner of my eye but I didn’t care. I was tired and sharp. The boys and I had been running errands all day. The chip aisle at the grocery store was our last stop.
“Can you boys grab a bag of Light Lays?” My tone was harsh.
“Sure, Mom,” Samuel said. He bent to reach a blue and yellow bag of chips from the bottom shelf.
“Not those, Sam,” I said. I poked a narrow-toed boot at another bag, careful to not drop the items crammed into my arms. “Those,” I said. “The ones I always buy.” I sighed loudly.
“I’ll help,” Gabe said. He crouched low and half-disappeared into the chips. “I see some in back.”
“You don’t have to crawl back there. There’s a bag right here. Geesh. I’ll get them myself.” I started to bend down and my heartbeat hammered in my head.
“I’ll get it, Mama,” Zay said. He picked up the right chips. But then he dropped them, tripped, and crushed the chips with his knees.
Gabe emerged from the bottom shelf. “Got a bag.”
“Well put it back,” I snapped. “Because now I have to buy the crushed chips. Get up, Zay. Let’s go.”
I was still muttering about broken chips when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to find a sweet-faced lady. Her brown eyes were kind and soft and reflected her kind spirit.
“I just want to tell you,” she said. “That you have good boys.”
I felt heat in my cheeks.
“I saw them a moment ago. They stepped out in front of an elderly lady. They excused themselves and apologized. All three.”
“Oh,” I said. I looked at my sons. Sweet little boys. Kind little boys. Three little boys scampering around, falling over themselves and each other while I ranted about crushed chips instead of caring about crushed hearts.
“It says something about who they are,” she said. “It says something about who you are.”
I took a moment to look into the eyes of this lady. I knew, in my spirit, that she was a Christian. Her expression held no judgment. Or condemnation. Only encouragement. And gentle accountability.
I felt Isaiah’s arm twine around my leg, and I brushed the top of his head with my fingers. The tears came. “Thank you,” I said. “Thanks for the kind words about my boys. And thanks for encouraging me to do better. For reminding me of who I am.”
The gentle lady smiled. Then she left.
I bent and apologized to my boys. I accepted their foregivenee and I accepted God's grace. Then I left the store and took the boys home. I was still tired but was somehow renewed. And I was grateful for the woman who was loving enough to spur me as a sister.