Why Are You Even Here {Part Two}

“Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.” ~2 Corinthians 6:4-10, The Message

With the beginning of school quickly approaching for our children, we decided to go to the pool in our apartment, hoping to enjoy the last days of summer and work on getting to know others who live in our apartment complex. As we entered the area of lounge chairs, I walked past the woman from my last post who asked the question that has stuck with me…

“Why are you even here?”

She actually smiled at me this time and said hello, which I reciprocated, as my children and I walked by to find some open lounge chairs. This time was different though. This time, two other women were with her – one in her thirties and one who looked like she could be their mother. As I settled in and started distributing pool toys to my children, I kept noticing the three ladies looking at us. They seemed curious and I just kept thinking, “here we go again!”

Today though, my children were wonderful. Truly, this in and of itself is a miracle considering the bickering they have been doing lately. After I got all of our things situated, I approached the kiddie pool where my children were already playing happily with the other children. Within minutes of putting my feet in the kiddie pool, the other woman with the “Why are you even here?” woman, motioned for me to come over to her chair. I was nervous, but He was with me.

She greeted me in English and although I responded in her language, we switched over to only English because her’s was flawless. It turns out that the two women are sisters! After a simple greeting, the first thing out of her mouth was shocking to me considering she had not yet seen my children act up or challenge my authority…

“How do you not get angry with your children? How do you not yell at your children? Do you get mad at them and yell at them? I get so angry (as she clenched her fists and shook them to show me the depth of anger she struggles with) and my husband does too” she rather transparently said to me only within seconds of sitting at the foot of her chair.

“Father, forgive me for losing my patience with my kids this morning” I quickly prayed in my mind as my heart broke for this woman who needs Truth and who I was convicted I should act nothing like since I am not of this world.

“Well…” I said.  “Can I tell you a story?”

“Yes, please” she responded.

“I have a friend in America who is older than me and a wonderful mother.  Several years ago, she taught me that she used to get angry with her kids and lose her patience, but that God helped her be kind to them. The Bible says that God does not get angry easily and that He is kind to us so that we will not do bad things and so we will love Him and follow Him with our lives.” I said.

She looked intrigued and had not said a word, so I continued…

“My friend prays for God to help her be kind to her children and He helps her! So, I started praying that God would help me act like He does. He helps me have patience with my kids and to not get angry like I used to get.” I said

“Wow, she said. That is amazing. My husband always points out how loud I shout at my kids and how mean I am to them.” she confessed.

“I know it’s really hard.” I said. “Our children are young and mine fight a lot, but the only way I can be a mother is with God’s help.”

She then leaned over and told the older woman sitting with her everything I had said. I could understand her language and was thankful that she was translating it appropriately.

We continued to hang out, sharing cake and cookies, and talking about our lives and our children. As we spoke, she repeatedly made statements about how she doesn’t know how I can take care of 3 children all by myself. She has her mother and a nanny all the time to help, and while I told her my husband and I do it together, I also saw this as another open door to share more of how the Lord helps me.

“Actually, my mom and dad have both died and so I have never had the help of my own mother with my children.” I told her.

She was shocked and translated what I just said to her sister, the “Why are you even here” woman who was listening in the entire time, and the older woman with them. She then interrupted me by saying “And mothers-in-law are very hard to deal with.”

I smiled and said yes, that can be the case, but my mothers-in-law are wonderful and I love them and they help me.

and then I continued….

“The Bible said that when we love Jesus and follow Him with our lives, that He puts His Spirit inside of us to guide us.  God’s Spirit gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I said. “Do you understand my English?” I asked.

“Yes, of course I do” she said.

“So God helps me to have all of those things (love, joy, peace, etc.) and when I ask Him to help me not be angry at my kids, He helps me to be those things to them.” I said.

She immediately leaned over and explained the Fruit of the Spirit to the older woman, who thoughtfully shook her head yes like she was really contemplating all that I was saying.

Just then, the pool closed for maintenance, and everyone gathered their things and headed inside. I leaned in for culturally appropriate cheek kisses and the woman I was given the gift of sharing with said she sometimes comes to visit her sister and hopes to see me again. We left and I praised God for another opportunity and for the way He gives us the words to say when He opens the door – doors sometimes we least expect.

What struck me about the entire conversation was the way she started our conversation with the assumption that I do not yell with rage at my children. How would she know whether or not I do that? All I can think is that her sister, the one who seems very stand-offish, but who is at the pool every single time I am, has perhaps told her about us. Only God knows, but I am reminded that even those who seem completely uninterested in talking to me, may perhaps be watching or secretly wanting to know more about the light that shines for us – from all of God’s children.

You are never without His Light as a child of the King. Those who live in darkness undoubtedly see it and are watching, probably from a place of desperation to know the source of your satisfaction. My prayer is that you will walk in a manner worthy of your calling, alertly and unswervingly, with the reason for your joy and hope always prepared, knowing that in His perfect timing, the Lord will open a door for your proclamation of who He is!