Blog Post by Abby McDonald
The screaming started as soon as the plane began descending into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
To say I was mortified is an understatement. I tried to console my two-year-old son with toys and promises that we’d be there soon, but it was no use. I silently wished I could hide somewhere until we reached the terminal.
As I journey through motherhood, God repeatedly shows me it’s a continual process of refinement. And often, he uses situations I never desired to remind me his work is still in progress. This experience on the plane was one of them.
Travel with young children means trying to prepare yourself for the unknown. Need entertainment? The DVD player goes into the carry-on. Check. Need to regulate ear pressure? Sippy cups and binkies are packed. However, nothing can prepare you for the crying toddler who refuses to be calmed. You feel the tension of hundreds of eyes staring at you, silently yelling, “Quiet that kid down!” Only, you can’t.
My son and I were in route to visit my parents after our second cross-country move in five years. After months of house hunting, my husband and I had finally found a place near his new job, and he was doing some DIY projects before closing. This quick trip presented an opportunity for my son to see his grandparents while giving Chris space to work. It seemed like a win-win. But now, I was second-guessing myself, wishing I could buy everyone noise-cancelling headphones.
Questions circling my head turned to doubts about my mothering abilities. I was tired and drained from the stress of the last few months, and was sure my son was tired too. Did these people see how hard I was trying?
After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived and I had one agenda: to get off the plane immediately. With our belongings thrown into the diaper bag, I swung my son onto my hip, ready to beeline it. Then, I heard a voice behind me.
“You’re really doing a great job. Keep it up.”
I froze, dumbfounded. Turning, a slightly older man stood there, smiling with sincerity in his eyes. Was he talking to me? He nodded, as if to answer the question I didn’t ask out loud. I mumbled a thank you, trying not to cry, and turned to leave.
Without even realizing it, this stranger gave affirmation I desperately needed in a season of uncertainty and doubt. God was speaking through him, straight into my heart, and I realized something. Every second I poured into my child made a difference.
In one of his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul encouraged followers of Christ not to give up, saying,
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Paul wanted to motivate the church at Corinth to keep pursuing Christ, showing that our sanctification is an ongoing process and not an immediate transformation.
While our right standing with God is instantaneous, the journey to becoming like him continues our whole lives.
As parents, we give ourselves fully to our kids, day in and day out. We wipe noses, change diapers and receive 3 AM wake-up calls. We care for sick babes and sometimes wonder if anyone sees us. And then when they cry on airplanes, we wish we were invisible.
But God sees. And He’s working. Even when we’re not sure He is.
No matter how mundane some of our work may seem, none of it is in vain when it’s done for the Lord.
And one afternoon on a plane full of strangers, He reminded me. He gave me the push I needed to keep going, and to continue letting Him transform me from the inside out.
Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is to show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.