Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Reflection of the Heart

The other day, while shopping with the Fabulous Four, I received one of the nicest compliments I've ever been given. An older lady stopped me at my car as I was loading groceries and little ones and asked if I was 'the lady with all the children' (I really don't think four children qualifies for 'all the children' statements, but alas, I digress) that just came out of Fred Meyer. I admitted to coming out of the store with my children and she said, "I was watching you with your gang and you just have the most peaceful countenance". I tried to deflect the compliment (why do we do that? Why can't we just say, "Thank you") and she responded by saying, "I don't know. You just look like you LOVE your children!" By then, I was about in tears, not just because of her nice, encouraging words to me, but also because I was terribly humbled. You see, just that morning, one of my children was behaving in a far less virtuous manner than how said child had been raised to behave. I do believe in my dealings with this particular child, I looked more like this:
and less like the mother with the peaceful countenance that just "looked like she loved her children". Now I don't expect to be smiling every second of every day, especially when behaviours and misbehaviours must be dealt with. But such a compliment encouraged me to consider who I set my best foot forward for. I'm glad that nice lady could tell that I love my children. But do you know who I want that to be REALLY apparent to? My children and my husband and the Lord who gifted them to me! Her compliment, as nice as it was, presented a challenge to me, one I notice the Lord refreshing quite often. I know our countenance reflects our heart. What do my children see reflected there? Just something to think about!
As a bit of a side note, usually when we are in the grocery store, I will have Sarah in the Ergo, Hannah in the seat of the cart and both boys at my sides. I'm sure we look like an entourage. The comment I get most often is "Boy, you sure have your hands full". It is usually said in passing and thus I rarely have time to let the commenter know that I am so thankful for full hands, that the fillers of my hands are some of the greatest blessings I have ever had bestowed on me!!! Instead, I have begun to say, "Yes, it keeps me from those soap operas and bon-bons"! Hee hee:)

1 comment:

Britt said...

That is a high compliment to receive! I get the one, "Oh, your kids are so well behaved. You must be doing something right," all the time (which makes me laugh because I feel like I do so much WRONG...horribly, horribly WRONG). But no one has even said it appears that I love my children... I think often about your countenance as you look at/interact with your kids and you do appear that way. If you appear that way to us, then I'm sure it is obvious to your kids as well. They are joyful, caring kids...they don't just pick that up on their own...it comes from somewhere (this is where you figure out that it's YOU).

If you were 100% in control and did everything perfect then you wouldn't be human :) I think by making mistakes and then owning up to them, you teach your kids humility -- they will need to know how to respond when they know they aren't acting like Jesus would prefer. Because, let's face it, no one is perfect, and they need to know that's o.k. too :)