Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Barefoot Mama in the Snow: on easy kindness

Yesterday a young mom caught my eye as I drove past the hospital; she was carrying a baby, struggling with a collapsed stroller, a toddler beside her. At first glance I thought she was barefoot in the snow, but then I saw her inadequate flip flops. 

Surely someone will help her fix the stroller, I assured myself. She was on a well traveled pedestrian sidewalk. But in my rear view mirror I noticed two men walk right past.

You know those little conversations you have with yourself . . . but they sound like conversations with God? That's what I had going on in my van.

You should turn around and go help her with the stroller. It's impossible to fix with one hand and she can't set the baby down in the snow. 

But I'll be late, God. I have to pick Cambria up. 

When have you been early anyway?  Why start now? 

I said okay, God, and retraced my route. I prepared to park so I could help and that's when she crossed the street to the bus with her babies, smiling at the bus driver. She had wanted  the stroller collapsed. I watched in disbelief. She didn't need any help at all (except some warm boots) . . . and she was long gone. 

Back to my regularly scheduled route. 

Why did You make me do that, God? You knew she didn't need any help at all. Now I'm late for no reason, not even kindness! 

I waited, quiet, as I drove, thinking hard. 

Like a film reel, my mind replayed all the times earlier in the day that I had been unwilling and too exasperated to inconvenience myself for Daniel, for Eli; if I could stop for an unknown barefoot mama in the snow, why couldn't I, why wouldn't  I stop to help someone I loved deeply?

Is that what You wanted to teach me, God? 

Isn't it always cooler to help the barefoot mama? Isn't it really the easier choice? I'm so very good at kindness to strangers. There's no commitment to those acts of service, those friendly smiles; while still important, maybe it just makes me feel good.

Kindness at its most unselfish doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel spent and used and so painfully aware that there is nothing truly good in me; goodness comes from God and is a fruit of His Spirit.

Kindness is hard. 

Kindness isn't natural. 

Kindness starts in my heart at home. 

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you; 
{especially with the ones I love the most}
tie them around your neck as a reminder.
{because it's so easy to forget} 
Write them deep within your heart. (Proverbs 3:3)


  1. Interesting, because we just had a similar experience. We saw a lady with a sign, (you know the kind) as we were headed to Wal-mart. The girls really wanted to help so I promised them we'd buy something for her. We brought bread and cheese, and when we came out to the stoplight, she was GONE! We were so disappointed. I thought God had someone else for us to share with, but we never saw anyone else on that shopping trip that looked like they needed our help.

  2. pierce my heart, why don'tchya?! thanks for sharing friend. i needed this today. xo

  3. What good thoughts for the day! Especially with Christmas coming on... If we can all remember the lesson you have shared with us... Love you Hayley! How I'd love to see you again...

  4. Needed this after a long day of unsuccessful parenting. Thanks for these reminders.

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