To mark the 25th anniversary of Faith & Friends, we’ve been asking past editors, current writers and YOU, our readers, to tell us what articles have impacted them. If any article has spoken to you or changed how you thought of life and faith, we want to hear about it. Write, post a comment to Salvationist.ca, or email us.
This month, our article was suggested by long-time contributor Joyce Starr Macias:
My life has been touched by many different stories that have appeared in Faith & Friends, but Diane Stark’s writings have amused, challenged and touched me over the past several years. In “The Invisible Mom” (May 2014), she shares how her young children helped her move from a pity party to thankfulness for God’s many blessings. The story details events of a dreary day when she felt as if her children didn’t seem to appreciate the many things she did for them.
“None of my kids had said thank you. I felt invisible,” she wrote.
Although my own children have long since grown up and moved on, I remembered feeling that way when they were little. Like most other people, I still struggle occasionally with the feeling that I’m unimportant or unnecessary.
But Diane’s story ends on a high note, as always. At bedtime, the children came in to kiss her goodnight and thanked her for the great day they’d had. Realizing she hadn’t really been invisible to them after all led her to thank God for His presence and His help that day. Which reminded her—and me—to promise God I’d never be too busy or too preoccupied to notice Him again in the future. Thank you, Faith & Friends, for so many great stories that help us live our lives for the Lord.
“I could hardly believe it when that lady nearly backed into us in the grocery store parking lot,” I griped to my children. “I don’t think she even looked where she was going.”
The kids nodded, but I could tell they weren’t really listening. They were sitting around the kitchen table, munching on the snacks I’d just purchased at the store. I’d taken special care to buy each child’s favourite treat, but the kids seemed out of sorts.
“So what’s wrong with you guys?” I asked. “You’ve been moping around since we got back.”
Ten-year-old Julia replied. “We were planning to build an obstacle course outside, but it’s raining.”
I nodded. The downpour had started as soon as I brought the last bag of groceries in from the car. Good timing for me, but the thunderstorm had ruined the kids’ plans.
“So what would you like to do instead?” I asked.
The kids shrugged half-heartedly. “Nothing else would be as fun as the obstacle course,” one of them said.
“What if we build it inside?”
The kids’ eyes lit up, and I knew that my hopes for a quiet afternoon had just evaporated.
We went down to the basement and began work on the obstacle course. Two hours later, it was done and ready for a trial run.
I held the stopwatch while the kids took turns jumping rope, bouncing a basketball and running through the rest of the course. When they got hot, I ran upstairs for lemonade. When they got hungry, I made sandwiches and sliced apples.
It was a lot of work, and not at all how I’d planned to spend my afternoon, but the kids were having a great time so it was well worth it. That’s why I was crushed when I overheard one of them say, “This was OK, but it would have been way more fun to do outside.”
I pretended not to hear their comments, but inside, I felt as deflated as the balloon they’d popped in our obstacle course.
When they were done playing, I helped the kids clean up the basement and went upstairs to make dinner. I’d spent my whole day doing things for my children, but no one had noticed my efforts.
At bedtime, four-year-old Nathan said, “Mommy, will you colour with me in my colouring book?” I sighed and nodded, even though I longed to read the novel on my nightstand.
Nathan handed me a white crayon and told me to colour the clouds in the picture. He grabbed a red crayon and started colouring the race car. “But the paper is white,” I said. “You won’t be able to see if I’ve coloured it or not.”
Nathan shrugged. “That’s OK, Mommy.”
“But shouldn’t I colour the clouds a different colour? So you’ll be able to see it?”
“No, it’s not going to rain in my picture like it did today,” he said. “So the clouds need to be white.”
I sighed and began to rub the white crayon across the white paper. Not that it made any difference.As I coloured those clouds, I realized that my whole day had been just like my colouring. I’d done all kinds of things that no one had noticed. I’d bought everyone’s favourite treats at the store, built an obstacle course for the kids and even made a special dinner. But no one had said thank you. I felt invisible, just like my clouds.
None of my kids had said thank you. I felt invisible, just like my clouds. DIANE STARK
My pity party was in high gear when Nathan finished colouring his race car and turned to the next page. I smiled when I saw the rainbow on it. Nathan gave me his red crayon and asked me to start on the rainbow.
As I coloured, I remembered the rainbow we’d seen after the rain had stopped. It’d been one of prettiest I’d ever seen, but I realized with a start that I hadn’t thanked God for sending it.I thought back on my day and recalled several more blessings I’d ignored.
At the grocery store, several of the kids’ favourite snacks had been on sale. I was able to purchase something special for each of them and still stay within my budget. That woman in the parking lot had almost backed into my car, but in the end we avoided a collision. God had protected us from harm. He’d even held off sending the storm until I’d brought in the last bag of groceries. But I hadn’t uttered a single word of thanks for any of it.
I disliked feeling unappreciated, but I’d done it to God all day. I thought of one of my favourite verses from the Bible: “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
Moments later, my children came in to kiss me good night. “Thanks for a great day, Mom!” they said. It seems I wasn’t as invisible as I had thought.
As I hugged each of them good night, I thanked God for the many things He’d done for me all day, and promised Him I’d never be too busy—or preoccupied—to notice Him again.