To the Momma Parked Next to Me:

To the Momma Parked Next to Me: I was already sitting in my car, resting my brain for a few minutes, when I heard you slam your trunk closed.

To this, I barely took notice. I continued to sit in my parked car outside of Trader Joes, wondering if I could start the car to head home. That was when I heard you screaming at your son {I presume he was your son} that he was an idiot. I couldn't help but slightly glance over with a heart so broken. I couldn't help but feel your defeat, your desperate attempt to shut him down because he had previously hurt you with his own words. Your boy was maybe 10, possibly even 11, but surely no older. My heart sank and I found difficulty in swallowing as I prayed grace into that vehicle.

With your windows rolled down, I heard the screaming continue. Words flying out of your mouth I dare not repeat. This was my cue to back out of the parking spot and drive home. As I backed out I couldn't help but see you pointing your finger straight into his face, your own face distorted with rage, attempting to shame him. I know this face.

Usually at this time, I would fight the stance of a "naive childless lady", and fight the urge to be 100% angry with you. I would ask Jesus to give me understanding; no parent is perfect. I would tell myself not to think poorly of you, because I have never parented -- even if I am 100% certain that calling your child names usually doesn't turn out well. Usually I would struggle in asking Jesus to have compassion and hope the best: that this probably doesn't happen on a regular basis, that this is probably only due to some crazy day you've had...and so on and so forth. I usually feel the child's pain first, knowing how it feels to be yelled and screamed at for small reasons -- wishing you would not respond to a child like a child. But today was different. Today, I did not spend too much time aching for your son. Instead, I cried for you. I felt your complete brokenness. I wanted to hug you and tell you that you need not fear, you need not yell, you need not see your value in a young child's words. You need not rip apart anyone in your path because you have been so hurt. Don't harden your heart and self-protect, I am certain that nothing good will come of it. Momma, see the {very young} human before you and lead him into a place of grace and love, transparent safety. You, Momma, can be a hero.

To the Momma parked next to me:I would never recognize your face, I won't see you again. I don't know the weight your day has held. I don't know the pains {and joys} of mothering. I don't know the brokenness and hurt you have endured. But what I do know is this: You are value. You are pursued. You are Beloved. And when you know this truth deep down, you have no reason to yell name-calling words at your own children {or anyone}. When you know this deep down, you can walk in the assurance of grace.

Momma, you are more. You are loved, just as you are.