About a seven months ago we had a large meeting called a Stake Conference for our church. It is usually a two-hour meeting in which our local authorities speak to us. Since my husband is in a Stake Leadership position, he is required to sit on the stand with the other leadership, leaving me to keep four small, unruly children quiet and reverent.
This specific conference was held later in the day from 2:00-4:00 p.m., which are my children's worst hours of the day. They are always hungry, tired, and either cranky or wired. Well, that day they were wired. They were all over the place, and it was all they could do to sit there on the hard benches and behave for such a long period of time. We managed through the first half all right. It was a little rough, but hey, it was now halfway over. The second half was a little rougher. At this point, I was wondering if everyone around me was wondering why they came to the meeting because my children were keeping them from getting anything out of it. I had brought a few crackers for them to snack on, because I knew they were going to be starving, which would make it even worse. At one point, Isaac sneezed and spewed crackers all over the back of the guy in front of us. It was embarrassing.
We had about 30 minutes of the meeting left when I had to take Isaac and Caitlyn out into the foyer because Caitlyn (my 18-month-old) was squealing and laughing at everyone, and Isaac was throwing a tantrum. We sat out there for a while until Isaac told me he could be good. We made it back in, and then Mirian handed me this little yellow note which the lady behind us had given her while we were out.
(Note: Oh mother, you may have 4 busy children and only 2 hands to guide them. But it is obvious you have plenty of love in your heart and room on your lap for each one. Thank you for your example of righteous motherhood. Whether your husband is in leadership in the church, or something else keeps him from the family, carry on in love.)
It was all I could do not to break out in tears from frustration, but also gratitude that one lady understood the struggle and was not annoyed by it, but understood and loved enough to pass me an encouraging word. She'll never know how much that little note of encouragement brightened my day and made me realize that although they are kids and a handful, I'm blessed to be their mother. They will not always be at this young and crazy stage. It will be gone before I know it, and I need to love every minute of it.
Too often I think we get annoyed with people around us, frustrated that they are disturbing or bothering us. Instead, we need to look with the eyes that this woman had: Eyes of understanding and love. We can reach out to brighten someone's day, give an encouraging word of hope, and show some empathy. That's all we really need in this world anyway.