Everyday with kids is busy, but we really outdid ourselves this Wednesday. After our homeschool time, the girls and I made the 45 minute trip to a nearby city for outreach and ministry in the refugee community. There is one family that we work with closely; Ismael and Juma and their three children, Siti, Soliman, and Nor. Each Wednesday we visit them in their apartment and help them with whatever it is they need. Somedays this means taking them to do laundry, to doctors appointment, sorting through bills, and other days we just spend time visiting and getting to know about each others culture. Juma will often cook us delicious (and very spicy) food from her homeland. Our older children play well together, and they especially love little Harper.
Because the drive is rather long, I try to make another stop while I am in the area. There are lots of places to shop and eat, but this week we decided to go to an indoor playground. So, we headed out to this playground we had heard good things about. Ironically it was about 50 degrees out, and we could have played outdoors for free, but it was rather wet and I would not want to show up on Juma’s door with two children caked in mud. The indoor playground was empty, we were literally the only ones there. There were lots of big slides and tall structures to climb, but my cautious child Makayla kept booth feet planted firmly on the ground. The girls enjoyed themselves and we were able to get much pent-up-end-of-winter-energy out of our systems.
After we had played, we headed to Ismael and Juma’s house. This week they asked if I could take Juma to do some shopping. She directed me to this amazing ethnic market, were we shopped for a while. I ended up with a shopping basket full of treats from all over the world. While I was waiting for Juma to check-out I gave the kids ice cream, in the car, which in retrospect was not great idea. We brought the groceries back home and shared a lot of different snacks and drinks while the kids played. They kept showing me a pile of snow outside their door, grabbing handfuls and talking excitedly in their own language. I keep telling them that we have had a very mild winter, and that next year they will likely experience a real New England winter, but I am not sure they understood. We often can’t communicate exactly what we want to say, but we laugh a lot, and the children make all other boundaries seem unimportant.
It was back in the car after our snacks so we could be home before dinner. I had plans to go out with some girlfriends, and had dinner in the crockpot for Henry and the girls. After tubbing and feeding the kids, I freshened up a bit and headed out to the restaurant. It is amazing to think that I am old enough to have had friends for 20 years, but that is how long I have had these amazing ladies in my life. Even when long periods of time pass between our get together, we can always pick right back up where we left off. How blessed I am to have these kinds of friendships! Dinner was leisurely and relaxed, and then I headed back home, where I found two wide awake children (at 11pm) and a snoring husband. Those of us who were awake eventually got tucked in and to sleep.
What a grace filled day.
It struck me on the ride home from dinner how effortless it all was. I am blessed to be able to teach my kids at home, to be able to travel and reach out to others who are less fortunate, to be able to feed and cloth and care for my family with relative ease, to be able to enjoy a relaxing dinner with friends, and to come home to a loving family. It is easy to feel God’s grace on days like this, the challenge is to see God’s grace when the car breaks down, the children and ill, the dinner is burnt, the checkbook is overdrawn…His grace is still there, eternal and unchanging, it is just up to us to recognize it and soak in it.
I pray that God would give me the spiritual maturity and wisdom to always be aware of His constant and unfailing Grace.