i was standing in line at the grocery store when i heard the exchange.
seems to me, that happens a lot.
probably because …
A. i am waiting and still and, therefore, listening.
B. i am in the grocery store – a lot.
i was in line behind a woman and her young son when the cashier brought out a lollipop for the little boy. a treat which the boy gladly and quickly accepted. in fact, he swiped that sucker right out of her hand and jammed it fast into his ready mouth without missing a beat and, sadly, without one word of thanks.
i assure you, the boy was old enough to say, “thank you.”
the mother, looking a bit embarrassed, but not too surprised, encouraged her son to use his manners. “say, thank you, evan.” but evan refused. and, instead, continued to chomp loudly on his lollipop, all the while completely ignoring both mother and cashier. stubborn. willful. defiant.
i wasn’t judging. really i wasn’t. i’ve been that mother. i felt for her.
but what happened next is the thing which most captured my attention and caught hold of my heart.
glancing from the cashier to me, the mother exclaimed,”well, i give up. i’ve tried to teach him his manners. it just isn’t working. i’m done. that’s it, i give up!”
i give up! — really?
the boy was about five.
seemed to me there were a lot of years ahead for this kid and his mama.
in my mind, it might be just a tiny bit early to throw in the towel.
the woman taking hold of evan, her groceries and her guilt headed out the door. it took everything in me to keep from following this young mother to her car and pleading with her not to give up. i wanted to urge her instead to go ahead and remove that lollipop from her son’s mouth and march all three feet of him back into that store to offer his thanks. i wanted to tell her to take a stand, to be firm, to refuse to accept anything less from this little boy than what she knew in her heart was right behavior.
i know … can. you. even. imagine?
she would have dialed 9-1-1 on me before i had finished my first sentence.
you’ll be glad to know, i refrained. i didn’t follow her out or chase her down.
but walking to my own car with groceries in hand … i felt her heaviness.
i didn’t want to criticize her, i wanted to encourage her.
i wanted to let her know, we all feel like that as mamas.
we wonder if we’re making any progress.
we wonder if anything we say is sinking in.
we doubt, some days, they’re even listening.
but, dear ones, don’t give up.
don’t ever give up.
don’t ever be afraid to take the lollipop or the-whatever away and stand your ground.
not when they’re 5, and not when they’re 15.
oh, mother of the rude boy or the rebellious girl or the resistant daughter or the restless son … don’t give up. don’t ever give up.
there’s time and there’s always hope.
God didn’t give up on us. not when we were rude or ruined or running fast away. and yes, we’ve all been exactly that. let’s learn our parenting-perseverance from the most patient Father. the perfect Father who perfectly loves His imperfect people — His children.
“but God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ romans 5:8
did you catch that phrase? while we were still sinners … sinners. yep, you and me. not perfectly behaved little children with perfectly polished manners, but imperfect little sinners.
that’s us. and that’s our kids and that’s this world we live in right now.
we might be a big old mess, but we have this much bigger Messiah.
and though He had every right to throw up His hands and declare, “i give up!”
He stuck with us.
He sticks with us.
and, what’s more, He even sent His Son to die for us.
oh, sweet mama feeling like she’ll never see the fruit of her labor …
oh, dear mother feeling like she’s tried every trick in the book …
oh, tired woman feeling unsure what else to do or where else to turn …
this post today is for you.
i know you might be close to throwing your hands in the air or turning your back on the burden or walking away from the battle …
i know. because i’ve been there.
and though, in that grocery store, i didn’t do anything to encourage that woman …
i want to encourage you —
don’t give up.
don’t ever give up.
there’s time. there’s hope. there’s Jesus.
“and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.” ~ galatians 6:9