I read this post this morning and my eyes welled up with tears as I remembered my own "not enough" moments. And the friends who speak truth when lies are shouting loudly (thank you girls). And the strangers who speak into doubt-filled moments.
Not so long ago, I had my own experience very similar to the one Ashley describes at the Mexican restaurant. As I wrote at the time, when Camille and I returned to Louisiana from Nashville a couple of months ago, the return flight was pretty rough for her. She was tired and the take off hurt her ears and she couldn't get comfortable. As a result, she spent the better part of an hour crying in that cramped filled-to-capacity plane. Though I wasn't overly stressed about it at the time (I had some very gracious and kind seat-mates), it did leave me feeling a little flustered trying to gather all of our things when it was time to get off the plane and head toward baggage claim. After I got her settled in her stroller, she was still mildly unhappy and I did my best to soothe her as we made our way to get our bags. Of course the bags took a sweet forever to get to baggage claim, so even after we made it down there I was walking her around in the stroller, offering her the pacifier, showing toys, walking some more, rocking her back and forth, doing just anything I could to keep her satisfied until we could get to the car where I knew she would fall asleep immediately.
In the midst of me coddling her, a woman came up to me and said, "You're a great mom." I was kind of embarrassed and very taken aback. She went on, "I watched y'all at the airport in Nashville and on the flight here, and I can tell that you are a great, loving, and patient mom to this little girl. I just wanted you to know that people notice that. I did."
Like Ashley said in her post, I fought back tears as I said, "Um. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that."
That unexpected kindness of a strangers was such a sweet and needed reminder that I need to speak encouragement to others as well. I needed that lady's compliment more than I realized and I can't be alone in that. There are people I pass by every day who are in need of a kind word and in His Grace, God opens our eyes to see how we can offer something --often something so seemingly small -- that can do something so big in another person.