Up until that point all that she had thought about was how difficult her life was, how hard this day was on her, how her job as a mother was faltering. As the exasperated mother (we will call her L) sat on the park bench, she heard the following conversation from two women behind her:
"...I just can't keep up. She wants to do one thing and I want to do another- yet I don't want to argue with her so I let her have her way. It's easier than fighting...I am so tired..."
"Oh honey, I know. At this age you just gotta tell them how it's gonna be. Lay down the rules."
"I know...but I feel pushed around in so many directions...I need an out, but she needs ME."
The rest of the chat went somewhat like that-- and as she overheard little bits here and there, it was clear that L was not the only frustrated mom that day.
L stood up, turned around and walked towards the women. Nervously, she spoke up.
"Hi. I promise I wasn't prying, but I couldn't help but hear some of what you said. And I just have to tell you that I have been having the same kind of feelings..it is so hard. How old is your daughter?"
She was two, and she playing happily on the slide with the boy with a band-aid on his knee. She was also beautiful, her golden locks swaying in the breeze. Looking at her, one would think "What an adorable little girl" but in her mother's eyes she was the cause of desperation. She was the one person in the world that could pull her heartstrings in many directions at once.
This made L take pause. Looking at her own children, she knew she loved them endlessly and would give her life for them. She knew that others could see how sweet and beautiful they were. But she also knew that there were days when she didn't like them that much. Plain and simple.
The two young mothers sat and talked and shared and laughed and sighed together. They both felt the weight of motherhood heavy on their shoulders. But somehow, talking to a complete stranger about it made it a little more bearable.
And then suddenly, something amazing happened.
The daughter's mom spoke aloud- to no one in particular. Almost a mutter, but it came out very clear...
"Sometimes I think that there's got to be more. That somewhere, there are answers. I want to know that God has a plan for me."
L sat beside her, awestruck. This was a golden moment. And all at once she understood why her day was going badly, why her husband had to come home to prompt her to go outside, why after the boo-boos and temper tantrums she had to be here to meet this woman. This was bigger than her- bigger than her "problems". She felt Heavenly Father's love around her like a warm blanket. No more anxiety, no more stress. She knew her purpose today. She felt peace at last.
What to say....how to say it...her mind raced. She had been praying and fasting for an opportunity like this. She never, ever thought it would come so easily. This mother was suffering- she wanted more. A golden moment.
The stranger went on to say, "I have wanted to go back to church, but I just don't know where to go."
and then L knew exactly what she had to say.
"God does have a plan for you. I know it. I am a firm believer that He is aware of every individual. It sucks when we go through this kind of pain, but I really feel that it's the only way we grow."
After a few minutes of chit-chat, the two mothers got up to leave and L spoke again.
"You mentioned wanting to go to church sometime. If you're interested, you can come with me. That way at least you will kind of know someone. I'd be happy to give you my number. And oh, haha...by the way, my name is L. It is so nice to meet you."
The other woman smiled gratefully and said, "Hi. I'm R. It's nice to meet you, too."
As L walked her children home, she felt...calm. Nothing could bother her. It didn't matter that there were piles of laundry and dishes awaiting her, or hungry mouths to feed and little bodies to wash and dress for bed. All that went on earlier was of no more importance. The last few weeks of hardship had led her to this point, she just knew it.
It was so incredibly humbling and she wanted the feeling to last forever.
'God has a plan. He has a plan for me...'
Perhaps it was one very fine day, after all.