May 022013

As a mother, I should know to expect the unexpected.

In the Fall of 2011, God opened some surprising doors so my youngest child could start full-time school a year earlier. After ten years of being either pregnant or mothering a small child at home, I was stunned by the sudden change. I even waited one full month before I made any plan for this next stage of life.

However, I told my daughter that if she ever felt like she needed a day “off” to be home with Momma, she could have it. And of course, exactly one month into school, she asks for it. Actually, weeps for it on the couch.

This day – when I had scheduled two new spiritual direction appointments back to back.

This day –  when I had opened the prayer room to a last minute retreatant.

This day – when I was ready to open up those stay-at-home mothering hours of 9am-3pm to the larger world and say “Welcome World! I am now available.”

This day – she wakes up and decides she needs those hours back.

At first, I thought “Are-you-kidding-me?” Perhaps it was her Sixth Sense kicking in – the one that tells a child when her parent is going to be on the phone or in the bathroom so that she knows the time is right to ask for something urgently. Then, I remembered that God has put up a “Walk-ins Welcome” sign outside my door.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

[Jesus replied] ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.’  Matthew 25: 37-40 [Italics and reference added]

My daughter is clothed, fed and not in prison, but she is one of the needy in my life. I wanted to go about my business – ostensibly the business of serving God – but her little need interrupted my day.

Those direction appointments could be rescheduled and it turns out, I was still able to serve the last minute retreatant with a clean, peaceful room, intercessory prayer throughout the day, and a warm welcome (my daughter at my side.) By grace, I was able to welcome the Jesus who showed up as expected, as well as the Jesus I did not recognize at first.

Lord Jesus Christ – we are busy people with full lives. We want to be with You, but we do not always recognize You. Help us see You when You show up at our door – needy, unexpected and inconvenient.

How has God shown up in ways that you did not recognize at first with your children or others? What was your response? What do you think it means in your life to put up the “Walks-in Welcome” sign in the midst of mothering?

  Heather Fosth is her husband’s best friend, a mother of two dynamic, wildly different children(ages 10 and 6) and a sometime spiritual director. If given the choice, she would always be in her garden.


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