First off, Happy Mothers Day to all you mamas out there! Being a Mom can be one of the most wonderful jobs in the world, but definitely has its challenges. As I reflect on Motherhood this year, my heart is so full. I think of my two children, our third baby coming so soon, and all the motherly examples I've had in my life. My own Mom, grandmas, friends mothers, and friends who are now becoming mothers. I also can't help but think back on last Mothers Day, one I will never forget!
While living in China, God was always offering us humbling experiences and something I noticed, was that they often happened on birthdays and holidays. At first I felt discouraged when a holiday would come around because I anticipated hardship (click here to read about my birthday), but looking back, I think it was Gods way of making sure we would never forget these special experiences. And without fail, there was a tender mercy waiting for us when we felt like we couldn't stretch any further.
This Mothers Day was nothing fancy for us. We had our morning church service in our home (click here to read more about being a Latter-Day Saint in China), and then planned on taking our e-bike to our favorite park. We had the most beautiful wetlands nearby, and all I wanted was to get a family picture with all the flowers blooming. We road over on our bike, set up the tripod and tried to get a family photo, but it was just not working out! The tripod wasn't working, the camera settings were all messed up, and the kids were cranky and crying in every picture we took. Eventually we decided to give up on that idea and just cruise around. It was a super hot day (90's + humidity) and being on the bike with the breeze beat trying to get our kids to smile for a picture.
We drove around for awhile, winding deeper and deeper in to the wetlands and next thing we knew, POP! There went our back tire. Completely blown out.. No fixing it. Although generally optimistic, My optimism faded quick as the reality of our situation settled in. We were about two hours by foot from home, it was hot and muggy, dinner time was rapidly arriving (and not only is "hanger" real in our family, but there is no such thing as a quick meal when you have one hot plate), and it was the day before pay day, meaning we had about $3 USD to our name-so no getting a taxi or finding a repairman.
An old man working in the gardens saw us and came over to help. He tried pumping up the tire, and although we appreciated his efforts, we knew that the tire wouldn't inflate, and that we really needed to start walking before it got too late. Just as he had given up and we were about to start our trek, some teenage boys in a truck drove by and stopped. This was absolutely incredible, because in the 10 months we had been in China, this was our first time seeing a pick up truck. We did our best to explain our situation, but with only a few dollars to offer them as payment they laughed and went on their way.
So we walked.
For 2 hours.
Lugging cranky hungry kids, a broken bike, and wearing our Sunday best. I wanted to cry. It was hot and I was ready to be home! All I wanted was a family picture, but apparently that was too much to ask for. As we walked home I racked my brain trying to figure out what we could make for dinner. The meal we had planned would take way too long, and we were in desperate need of a grocery run. It was looking like we were going to bed very unsatisfied, but just before we reached our campus, Drew got a text alert on his phone to go to the mail delivery building. When we got there I couldn't believe what we saw! The Christmas package my Grandma had sent, had finally made it to us! I honestly didn't think it ever would, but grandma thought it was worth the try.
I cried as I opened up the box and saw Bean and bacon soup, instant oatmeal, boxed cake mix and more goodies. I felt Grandmas and Gods love as we ate our canned soup for dinner with overflowing gratitude. I remember thinking to myself I never want to forget, I always want to be grateful for the little things. And because this experience landed on Mothers Day, I will be reminded every year. As hard as some days were, I've grown thankful for the hard holidays. I really do believe it was Gods way of saying, "You said you never wanted to forget, let me help with that."
For any of you Moms out there having a hard day, month, or year. Having moments where you feel inadequate or unheard. I hear you, God hears you. And it may feel unbearable, but it also may be His way of making sure you never forget the sweet, small moments motherhood offers.