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  • Writer's pictureAshley Henriott

When God sends a stranger.

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Overwhelmed is truly an understatement of how I was feeling that day.  I had been stuck in the house most of the winter with a colicky baby, I thought attending a birthday party was the perfect reason to push myself out of the house. Rushing to get my overly excited toddler and myself dressed I began to wonder how good of an idea this was. But I pushed through those thoughts and husband took over the yard sale staying positive that this was a good thing for Rylan and me. I grew more determined to make this happen, for both myself and for my three-year-old. See, I already felt like a crap mom for not being able to nor have the desire to do anything with my other kids, making the pressure to “get out the door” even greater. It’s time to socialize I thought. Time to make it happen. Gracelyn, who was four months at the time, was such a homebody baby. She absolutely hated her car seat! I thought enthusiastically maybe this time! Plus, in all honesty, I felt like I had to go like I was obligated in a way. That guilty feeling deep down inside that likes to whisper things like; “you need to socialize”, "you skip out on everything", “do it for your son” You will feel like crap if you don't” when you are down. I am sure you know the thoughts I am talking about, the thoughts that you are not sure are healthy or not or if they are even valid.

Out the door, we went. 15 minutes late but we pressed on. Down the driveway, we went towards the trampoline park. With excitement, I told my three year old we were going to “jump” as his excitement grew.  We get to the trampoline park with my expectation of time to sit as the kids burn their energy. As the kids jumped, I learned that they would only be jumping for a short time than heading to eat at a restaurant, leaving Rylan with only 10 minutes to jump and a broken heart. Here started a downward spiral of overwhelming feelings,  discouragement, and my mind racing with confusion. As I looked at a crying 3-year-old who only jumped for 10 minutes I had to make the decision of whether or not I was going to strap a fussy baby back into her car seat with her crying brother, who was in need of a nap, to head to the restaurant or just head home. So sweaty with my heart racing I pressed down the anxiety I felt because of the postpartum I was battling at the time around and made my mind up to push through and head to the restaurant.

We get to the car and I attempted to nurse the baby before we make the 10-minute haul to the restaurant. Gracelyn wasn't about to cooperate now! I am not sure but either way into the car seat she went and on came the crying. Going over the bridge her crying grew worse and I was in no place to calm her, I just kept praying that she would fall asleep but nope! She screamed the whole way. I screamed I cursed, I felt like the biggest failure rethinking every decision I made in leaving the house from the start. It's by grace alone that Rylan hasn’t repeated any of the words that came out of my mouth. We pulled up to the restaurant frazzled, to say the least, trying to pull myself together and get inside. I got out of the car greeted by the cold northeastern wind and quickly run to grab the baby, keeping my son in his car seat so he doesn't run in front of cars in the busy parking lot. So here I am struggling to unload the stroller from the car while holding a worked-up baby who refused to be comforted no matter how hard I tried. Just then out of the corner of my right eye comes an older couple. For some reason, I could feel their comfort as they approached me.  Looking back I can see that was the first sign they were sent from God.  I let the beautiful lady grab my daughter and take her inside the warm building as I continued to try to assemble to get the brand new stroller we had bought a few weeks earlier. (in an effort to make the baby more comfortable.) I kept trying to open it as the man kindly and patiently asked to help me, (Little miss I can do it all). I finally let him try and let go of tears welling up in my eyes. Tears I tried to hold back because I thought that was being strong. All the emotion came out down my face. The second lesson I learned that day was letting go. Realizing we are truly strong in our weakness. For some odd reason, I apologized for it. I apologized for crying, explaining that I have four kids as if I shouldn't have these moments anymore. This was the beginning of God teaching me one of the biggest lessons in my life.

We finally got into the party to enjoy breakfast and an amazing time with friends. Although I think Rylan may have had more fun than I did. The couple who lent me a hand while I was overwhelmed didn't even stay,  and Gracelyn, my baby is perfectly fine. I never got their names or even had time to truly tell say thank you. It is now clear to me that God knew I needed them at this time. In this season at that exact moment when life and my emotions got to me, they were there.

God taught me something I was taught when I was first reborn but didn't truly understand how to give it to myself. He gave me grace and it came in the form of a stranger. You know God will do that sometimes, well actually all the time. He sends us what we need in our time of need. No, He didn't make my baby stop crying. No, He didn't give me an audible answer on if I should go to or not go. He gave me a helping hand of love during a difficult time.

Our lives are full of difficult things and circumstances.  Maybe you’re in a season similar to mine, a season where you are brushing your teeth at 2:00 in the afternoon or maybe you have an empty nest and you aren’t sure what to do next. Maybe you lost a loved one and feel that the pain and the hurt are so real only a few understand. These difficult times don't go away. But God's grace is always there when we need it. His love is with us in such a strong and beautiful way. These seasons change us, the hard ones. They give us character. If we let them, these seasons can change us for good, for better, strengthening us. Looking back can you remember when God’s grace made a way in your season? I challenge you to look around and see where God is with you. Are you noticing?