One night after a ball game my family went to eat at Simple Simons to eat pizza. Tuesday night was buffet night, and they had all-you-could-eat wings! So, it was a cheap place for having three hungry kids and a hubby who can throw down some wings.
As we sat down to eat, our kids decided to act as if they were wild animals let loose from an Arabian Circus Act! I am not for sure if they were trying to do the juggling act with the various packets of sweet ‘n low or attempting to balance on one leg in the chair as if they were attempting the trapeze tight rope act! We always know it is going to be crazy and wild when we go out to eat. It’s inevitable. We have become accustomed to the crazy life that we have. It’s not for the faint at heart. However, sometimes just a peaceful dinner time would be amazing to have without food flying and mental breakdowns with lots of tears flowing.
We made our trips to the buffet line for pizza, and I try to sit down to eat. Then, Bubba starts to sing to his pickle and Abbi quickly joins in.
“I gotta pickle. I gotta pickle. I gotta pickle, hey hey hey!”
I tried to quiet them down, but they were so excited about their pickles. It wasn’t long after that that the food started to fly and luckily, I’ve become quite good at catching. I’ve often wondered if I might qualify to play for the Braves, or maybe I should try playing for the Rams since I have gotten good at intercepting as well.
Once I got the food to stop flying, Abbi needed a refill on her drink. I was fixing to get up to go fill up the drink when I see Bubba spit out a mouth full of food on his plate with a face of disgust because he did not like what he ate. All the while, my husband was stuffing his face with wings, trying to watch the game on the TV, plus occasionally give the “stink eye” to the kids to get them to settle back down. Next thing I know, one of the kids discovers the coolest thing up their nose that apparently tasted better than any of the variety of pizzas offered.
Honestly, I’m not even sure why I was attempting to eat. My appetite was almost lost between all the craziness! Next, Bubba starts saying every bad word we have ever told him that he is not allowed to say all the while my preteen daughter is trying her hardest to tell a story about her day and all the drama going on at school. She gets so frustrated as she is trying to talk over all the singing, picking, flying.
I was trying my hardest to stay focused on each child; however, all I could honestly think about was my pizza and how cold it already was after just a few bites. Now, Abbi is begging to go to the bathroom. Seriously? Why does every kid have to go to the bathroom in the middle of dinner? But, you can’t ask them to wait since you are trying your best to be a responsible mom with your kids having no accidents. We get up to make the trip to the bathroom. All the while, I can’t help but to think about my pizza. It’s probably cold. I’ve literally taken maybe two bites.
We return back to the table, and Bubba is trying to escape from the high chair. Seriously? Why does every buckle on the high chairs at restaurants have to be broken? Don’t they understand us moms have crazy kids and we need those things? Abbi and I return to our seats, and she gets busy eating. While I miraculously see Bubba, and I catch him before he falls out of his high chair onto the floor. Holding him one handed, I try my best to eat while holding the pizza in the other hand. Finally, bite number three, and yes, my prediction was right. It’s cold. Super cold.
In the midst of our crazy dinner time, I look over and see a lady eating by herself. My first instinct was that she was probably wishing my family would hurry up, finish dinner, and get out of Dodge, but as I looked closer, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. It wasn’t just a few tears. This was a heavy flow of sadness. My heart sunk and instantly I felt a deep stab in the stomach. Here we were having a three-ring circus dinner while she was battling some miserable mystery. I had been oblivious of my surroundings because all of my energy had been focused on the kids and my cold pizza.
I leaned over and whispered to my husband, “Tommy Jay, I think she’s crying.”
Then, VERY loudly, Abbi, our nosey, rosy, three-year-old, says,
“Who’s cryin’, Momma!”
I tried to ignore her, but she kept repeating herself with determination while getting louder and louder than a jet plane flying over until I finally answered.
“Shhhh, Abbi! It’s that lady over there,” I whispered back.
I couldn’t just ignore the sad lady. My heart sank because I knew I should at least try to reach out and see if she needed some kind of help. She just kept crying.
“Maybe I should go talk to her or pray with her?” I asked Tommy Jay.
But, in our crazy dinner moment, leaving him with three kids alone, in a restaurant, I could see the panic immediately in his eyes. He didn’t tell me no. I knew he would never do that, and I knew he wouldn’t stop me if I decided to go over to her table. But I didn’t go. I just sat there. I worried what the lady would think of me. She checked her phone and then continued to cry more. She could barely eat her food. Her tears weren’t just soft tears. They were flowing tears with red puffy eyes to follow.
Lost in the moment of thinking of what I should do or say, I feel a tug at my sleeve.
“Mommy! Mommy! I need to go the bathroom!”
It took me a moment to come back to reality.
“Mommy! I gotta go.”
Abbi had to go to the bathroom, again. So, I scooped her up and we headed back to the bathroom. The whole time my mind wondered what could possibly be wrong with the lady. Why was she crying? Should I say something? Maybe it’s none of my business. What if she didn’t want to talk to me anyways? What if I said the wrong thing? What if it is something major and I don’t know how to handle it? What if? What if? What if? A thousand questions were running through my head as we were in the bathroom. We washed our hands and went to open the door. As soon as we opened the door and went to walk to our table, I realized…she was gone.
The mystery lady was gone. My heart sank. I had missed my “GodWink” moment. I missed my chance to pour Jesus into someone who was hurting, who’s heart was broken, who just needed a little compassion and love, and I missed it.
I never knew what become of that lady. I never saw her again. I wish I had. Every time I came to town, I looked for her familiar face. I looked at Wal-Mart. I looked in the grocery store, and I looked at the gas stations. I never saw her. I thought I might get a second chance, but I didn’t. I prayed so many nights for her, because all I could think about is what if me looking the other way changed that lady’s destiny in life?
Missing my GodWink moment made such an impact on my life. Could it had been an angel? What if God was seeing if I would be willing to help? I’ll never know. I missed my moment. I am so glad that God is never too busy for us. I can’t imagine what life would be like if God had to say, “Wait a minute,” or “I’m sorry. I’m too busy,” or “Can you check back later?”
The bible says in Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” I’m so thankful for that! Sometimes, we find ourselves alone. No one is there just like the lady in the story above. Sometimes, we find ourselves hurting and wishing someone…. anyone would just reach out to us, yet we find ourselves still alone. Please know that God is there! When no one else is there, when no one else has time, when no one else will listen, God will. All you have to do is talk to Him. He isn’t some supernatural untouchable, unreachable, uncaring being. He is God! He is reachable! He is caring and He is loving. Just reach out to Him.
Psalms 147: 3-5
“He heals the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
I encourage you today that if you see someone hurting, reach out to them. Don’t miss your GodWink moment. Sometimes, it’s hard to step out of our comfort zone, but asking someone how they are doing may just change their life. I wish I could a second chance to step out. So, don’t miss your moment, today! Don’t miss your GodWink!
GodWink: the unexplainable moment in life when it can only be God!