A sweet mama friend, Teal, recently shared in her Instagram stories how God was using her little ones to do something that may seem “small” but in reality was quite HUGE and I had to ask her to share her story with us! And her kiddos are just the cutest! I pray that it reminds you this week that God is using our little ones and it’s usually just the simple things!
Being a mom changes so much. What I think about, what I do, how I do it, when I do it – it’s all different now that I’m a mom! My name is Teal and I am wife to Martin and mom to Rose (3.5) and Grady (1). Children changed everything for me. They have made me better. Children notice things – big and small – they are observant little sponges soaking up everything in their surroundings. Children are easily awed by things they see or hear. They experience joy about things that we have become calloused to as we have grown.
Becoming a mom has made me slow down. I now notice the small things. I now hear sounds I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. I now interact with people I would have probably passed without noticing before.
A very real example of this in our family is the big yellow school bus that turns our corner every afternoonat 4pm. I will admit that as an adult, the grandness of a school bus had long worn off for me. School buses didn’t excite me when I saw them drive past on the road or in front of my house. Now, they do! Especially one in particular.
In the fall of 2018, we began noticing a pattern of the school bus stopping at our corner to let our neighbor off. Then the bus would beep several times before turning the corner and gearing up the hill at our house. Every afternoonat 4pmwe would hear those beeps and the sound of the bus stopping and starting again. We were often just finishing snack after naptime and sometimes we were outside playing as she passed. That is when our relationship with the bus driver began.
This sweet bus driver comes around the corner, up our hill, with her arm waving outside her open window. She has a smile that lights up her face and always enthusiastically waves to my 3.5 yr old, Rose. Every day Rose wakes up from her nap, runs down the hall to get a snack, and waits for that special sound. We hear those beeps and Rose runs to our front door. She swings the door open and begins waving even before the bus starts back up the hill. As the bus passes, Rose and that sweet driver are both enthusiastically waving their arms at one another with smiles across their faces. The smile across MY face as I witness this sweetness every.single.day can also be seen across the road, I am sure.
There have been days when Rose wakes from her nap and I have a list a mile long that I need to accomplish. Several times that I can account, I’ve told Rose “Let’s get your snack and eat it in the car on the way to the grocery store.” or “Let’s hurry and grab such-and-such on our way to see Daddy at work.” and every time Rose reminds me “But I have to wave to the bus driver!” In the moment, I might sigh and experience frustration at that “kink” in my schedule. But as soon as that sweet bus driver passes and intentionally waves and smiles at my girl, all that frustration fades away as I remember those small moments and the childlike joy God wants us to experience daily.
Halloween of 2018 was the first time we spoke to Ms. Laura, the sweet bus driver. We were playing in the front yard as she passed and she stopped her bus right in front of our house and asked for me and Rose to come to her window. I hoisted Rose up to see Ms. Laura and she handed Rose some candy. It made Rose’s day even more special! Days went by as we continued to wave and look for one another each dayat 4pm. On Valentine’s Day, Rose and I picked out a heart shape box of chocolates and Rose wrote Ms. Laura a note. We handed it to her as she drove by that week. Along came the week before Easter, and Ms. Laura stopped in front of us and asked us to come to her window. She was grinning ear to ear as she handed two Easter buckets FULL of goodies for Rose and Grady. One pink and one blue. Both full of perfectly age-appropriate toys and goodies. I was in awe at her thoughtfulness. Here she is, a bus driver for the middle school, thinking about MY toddler and baby and spending her own money to bless my kiddos in an extra special way. I was able to talk to Rose about Ms. Laura’s extreme kindness and we talked about how we could be extra kind to HER and bless her. Rose wanted to find some perfect goodies for Ms. Laura, so off we went. We excitedly handed the Easter bag over to Ms. Laura the next afternoon as she passed. I was able to write her a note of encouragement and thankfulness at the way she has blessed me and my children. I was also able to share my faith and invite her to our church if she was not a member of a church.
We do not know much about Ms. Laura. We really only know her name and her smile. I do not know if she is a believer or if she is a member of a church. But I do know that she thinks my kids are special and she has treated them with an unordinary kindness. She has blessed our family tremendously – starting with intentional eye-contact, smiling, and waving and now with special gifts from her heart. Through this simple interaction with our sweet bus driver, I am reminded of the impact a simple wave can make. Or a simple greeting. What started so simple has grown into something even more special. May I always be on the lookout for moments like these to be a blessing to others like Ms. Laura has been to us. Showing Christ’s love doesn’t have to be an extraordinary plan or production. It can be done through unordinary kindness. On a daily basis, we pass people and may not notice them. May we be on the lookout like Ms. Laura is for my 3.5 yr old standing in the doorway and may we go out of our way to extend simple kindness to one another. I am eternally grateful for the lesson God has taught me through Ms. Laura, the bus driver, and Rose this school year.
And for more cuteness, you have to check out this sweet little VIDEO that Teal put together of the simple waves and sweet relationship!
What simple ways can you and your little ones serve Jesus and love others this week?
We had such a fun morning serving together with our little ones at Storytime Alive last week. It was a chance to gather together, read a story, make a craft and then serve together. I chose Last Stop on Market St which is a great book that tells the story of a sweet little boy who rides the city bus with his nana to serve at the Soup Kitchen every Sunday after church. After we read our story together, we began to make sandwiches for our local Soup Kitchen. Our little group was able to put together 80 sandwiches!! How awesome was that!! But even more awesome was that our little ones learned about what a Soup Kitchen is and that they can be a part of serving others.
We also had fun taking a “ride” on a city bus, making cards for our friends who would receive the sandwiches, making our own bus and playing at the sandwich shop!
Serving others doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as simple as reading a story and letting it come alive like it did for us!
What other books could you read with your little one and then serve in some simple way?
I recently asked my friend, Anna, to share her heart on how we can respond and live “On Mission” around the topic of abortion. I have to admit, she wrote this directly to me. I’m the “ostrich mom” that just wants to “pretend” it isn’t happening, but it is… sadly.
If abortion is a hard topic for you, I encourage you to read this, seek Godly council, and pray about how you can respond. If you have chosen abortion in your past, please know that you are loved and welcome here.
“I don’t wanna look! I cannot do it! My poor baby.” I have literally cried out these words at each of my 3 babies’ well check-up appointments as shots and immunizations are administered. I hide my face in my hands as an ostrich hides his face in the sand. I mean, if I cannot see it, it is not really happening, right? And, if I don’t see it, the pain of my heart will be spared. That sounds fair, right?
I never knew, in my “pre-kiddo” life, the heartstrings that would be tugged as I read stories of loss and death, especially with babies and young kids. After all, after you become a parent, you essentially see your babies’ faces in all the suffering babies around you. However, as their parents, we choose to advocate for our “babies” in every way because we know that they cannot speak up for themselves. This is why my family has felt such a tug recently to “speak up” for the most defenseless of all, the unborn children in America and in our world.
As Psalm 139 hangs on walls throughout Christian homes, are we really believing each person is “knit together in the womb”, if we cannot find the time to educate ourselves and take a stand to what is going on in abortion centers across America?
The videos and images are hard that are coming across our social media platforms these days. Recently, a former abortion doctor spoke about his previous work in an abortion center and how the baby is literally “ripped” in pieces from the mother’s womb and then put back together to ensure they got every body part. As hard as that was for my ears to hear and eyes to see, I forced myself to bear through it and become familiar with the reality of what is happening every 90 seconds in our country as babies are being torn apart.
So what can we do?
1. Watch the Videos & Read the Books.
Go see the recent movie, “Unplanned,” but be prepared to leave with a broken heart. But use that broken heart for good! Let those tears shed take action for the tears that are silently falling every day in wombs across the world.
2. Be informed!
As easy as it is to say, “Oh, I cannot bear to watch those,” it cannot keep us from doing so! I’ve included resources below to help you start learning.
3. Get involved in your local Pregnancy Center.
Donate your time, finances and prayer to the ones who are “fighting the good fight” each day for the speechless and helping those mothers who feel utterly lost. These centers are providing help and resources for those who may feel as if abortion is the only option. We are so blessed to have the Carolina Pregnancy Center right here in SC.
4. Celebrate our Littles in life and on social media.
I am having to preach this one to myself on this one because I love a funny mom meme where the laughter can be heard from suburbs around. Sometimes as we consider the dreadful body changes, rigorous nighttime rituals, and potty training techniques that are “endured” through Motherhood they can either make us laugh or cry or laugh until we cry. But maybe when we post the stresses and the hard, that sweet mama begins to panic and think, “I don’t want to be a mom, not if I have to endure that!” May we celebrate the “blessings from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) that these little ones are, and may we not be those who give the report that make others’ “hearts melt” (Deut. 1:28) at the thoughts of carrying/raising a child.
We live in South Carolina where there are currently 2 abortion centers. Go to the buildings and pray, but if you cannot, pray where you are. Pray for sweet mamas who are making hard decisions. Pray for doctors and nurses. Pray for families to step up and support these mamas. Just pray! May the Lord hear the cries of our hearts as we know He is hearing the “innocent blood crying from the ground.” Genesis 4:10
As “On Mission Moms,” I pray that our hearts would come together to keep the hearts of little ones beating until the Lord chooses to call them home.
Here are just a few resources that my family recommends:
Unplanned by Abby Johnson. There is a book and movie which just released.
We will be bringing our storytime alive by reading and serving together!
We’ll be reading a fun book, Last Stop on Market Street, then enjoying some great activities together as we lead our littles to serve. We will be putting together sandwiches for our local Soup Kitchen.
Please be sure to signup in our Facebook event page so we can plan accordingly and invite another mama to meet you there!
If you are like me, you probably have quite the collection of those plastic eggs lying around your home. I have a love hate relationship with them. From the moment they come out until the day after Easter, I feel like we are picking those things up or trying to find the bottom piece or throwing them away because sister stepped on one, which usually means someone is left in a puddle of tears.
This year I thought we would put those silly things to a good use with the Easter Egg Service Challenge. I created little fun ways to serve others for our family, printed them out, cut them apart, and then filled each egg with a little opportunity.
As Lent begins today, we will be opening an egg every day (that we don’t forget…) and discovering simple ways we can serve others this Easter season.
How are you serving others and teaching your little ones about the sacrifice of Jesus this Easter? Share your ideas with us so that we can learn from each other!
If you would like to be a part of the Easter Egg Service Challenge, just download our free printable and have fun!
Also, be sure to tag us @onmissionmoms as you have fun serving and loving others this Easter season.
I came across this sweet pic of my youngest at her preschool the other day and it caught me by surprise a little bit and it made my heart smile and kind of took my breath away (in a good way!)
She was reading and loving a sweet baby that didn’t “look” like her. It didn’t have blond curly hair and pail (super pale) skin.
And then it broke my heart too…
Because if we were real honest with ourselves, many times we tend to reach for the doll that looks most like us, or become friends with that sweet mama that is just like us – same parenting stage, same socioeconomic place, same social status…
But I wonder what we all miss out on when we are surrounded by the same…
I’m preparing to teach a class this weekend at my church, and in my studies, I came across this question that kinda stopped me in my tracks. (I can’t remember who asked it… forgive me!)
“Do you have any “unexpected” friendships?”
Friendships that don’t look like you, that challenge and stretch you, that you can invest in and learn from too?
And I had to pause… and think… and confess that I don’t have enough of those types of friendships in my world.
What about you? What about your friendships? Do they all look the same or do you have sweet friends who are “different” than you and challenge you to learn and grow and love more and deeper?
We want to raise little ones to love Jesus and love others and after Jesus of course, I believe it starts with baby dolls that are “different” , introducing cultures that are different, reading books from other places and about other races.
But we have to be the ones to expose them. We have to lead the way. We have to read them the stories, buy the baby dolls, befriend the neighbor who is different than us, cook the food that is “odd”, and talk about how God loves all people and so should we!
What are ways that we can raise our little ones to love all peoples, regardless if they are just like them or not? How can we raise little ones that pick the different baby doll to rock and cuddle with?
Our first Pray & Play was so very fun and simple – pray then play!
While the weather didn’t quite cooperate with us, we just went with Plan B and “prayer walked inside”. Our town has the coolest lightbulb sculptures all over the downtown area, so for our prayer time, we “found” pics of the lightbulbs hidden all throughout the play area and paused for a moment to pray at each picture. Each mama was given prayer points to guide their prayers and to remind us of different ways we could pray for our city. Plan A was to find the real lightbulbs outside and enjoy prayer walking outside – oh South Carolina weather…
Then we had a little snack time and enjoyed playing together!
And while it was “simple” and fun, I also believe that it is very important and foundational to raising little ones to love Jesus and love others. Our littles learn to pray for and love their community when they see us as mamas (and daddy’s) praying and loving our community and that starts at any age!
How are you praying for your community? Are you leading your little ones to pray for your community? For your mayor, for your city council? For the helping agencies and the homeless? For the college students and the international students? For the churches and the pastors? So much we can pray for!
If you are local, I hope that you will join us at our next Pray & Play. If you’re not, why not start your own group? Find a great park or local area to prayerwalk, invite a few friends to join you, and have fun with your littles!