When people realize I have eight children, they often remark, “You must be so patient!” Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. When I want something done I want it done yesterday — or at least now. Recently the Lord took a frustrating situation that tested my patience and reminded me my timing and priorities are different than His and that He often places me exactly where I need to be when I need to be there.
Earlier this year, my husband’s company offered to include us on their corporate Costco membership, so when ours expired we had new cards made under their account. The cards worked fine at registers inside the store, but when we tried to buy gas it showed our membership as expired. The employees were always helpful — they made us at least two more sets of cards, and someone always activated the pump for me — but I buy most of my gas at Costco and felt like a fraud every time I had to explain to an attendant that my account was active even though the screen said it wasn’t.
I finally decided to wait at the membership desk until they were certain the problem was fixed. Little did I realize it would require two hours from a day two weeks before a book deadline, when every minute of my day counted.
Employees conferred, called corporate, and tested my card time after time while shaking their heads in confusion. No one had ever seen this problem. A smile masked my inner turmoil as the minutes ticked by and I glanced at my watch too often. Finally, the glitch was found — hooray! — and I would be on my way soon.
A young mom circled behind me, parked her shopping cart, then walked over to get her picture made for a new membership card. A two-year-old girl, strapped in the seat of the cart, had recently covered her arms and legs with black ink. Her one-year-old brother sat beside her in only a diaper. An infant car seat carrying a newborn rested in the cart’s basket.
My mind flashed back to a time when I shared her season of life, although my babies weren’t that close together. All three were content, but any mother knows that can change at any moment for no apparent reason.
And suddenly I knew why I still stood there: I was there for such a time as this.
“You’re doing such a good job,” I smiled, looking into her eyes, as she returned to her cart. She knew I really saw her. A mother can go days without really being seen.
I admired her babies and told her I now have grown children, grandchildren, and teenagers at home, reassuring her these crazy days will pass. She asked questions she needed answered, including whether my children were in college. Moms survive the day-to-day but look to their children’s futures with hopes for what lies ahead.
I walked away knowing this brief encounter was meant for her — and me — all along.
At the end of my Costco shopping trip, I stopped at the floral display. I was writing the final chapters of a book on fifty-two essential oils and needed to photograph several more of the plants they come from. As I studied the individual bouquets and the flowers and greenery they contained, a young woman standing beside me in jeans and a t-shirt asked if I needed help finding something. She was the floral buyer, stopping by the store, and she referred me to a delightful nursery where I later found many of the trees, plants, and herbs I sought.
Once again, I thanked God for His perfect timing, so much different than I would have chosen on my own.
The next time circumstances try your patience, stop and observe. Take a deep breath and cool your jets.
Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:25 (CSB)
Tell us of a time when His timing was perfect in your life — perhaps a time when someone was placed in your path who needed encouragement or a special moment that wouldn’t have happened at a different time.
The next time circumstances try your patience, stop and observe. Take a deep breath and cool your jets. -@DawnMHSH: Click To Tweet