The Light In The Produce Section

September 12, 2016

I’ve been really worried about Gman lately. He’s so angry and often disobedient these days. I suspect it’s his way of handling his grief, or maybe it’s just an 8-year-old boy thing, but either way, it’s not fun. I’ve really been at my wits end with this boy. Worried sick mixed with frustration because I can’t take one more minute of this behavior.

I really thought I might have some sort of mini mental breakdown the other night while solo-parenting this new, challenging phase. So like any near the brink of insanity mother would do, I took my tired, hungry and angry kids to the grocery store at about 5:30 p.m. – I had lost my everlasting mind. What was I thinking?! (mental note: I really should get back to meal planning, bee tee dubs). Anyway, the store was so busy I had to yield to passing carts at every turn in between yelling “no we don’t need that,” “get over here” and “put that back,” 3,852 times.

But then all of a sudden, Gman spotted a little girl sitting inside her Mom’s grocery cart. He recognized her from school and he was so excited! We pushed the cart over to them and Gman said hi to his new friend. It was clear to me this little girl’s family didn’t speak English as a first language, but we didn’t need language to communicate this time. They were as excited as Gman to see their daughter recognize someone from school. The little girl, I’ll call her Amelia, lit up with joy. She flapped her arms and smiled ear to ear. We all stood around giggling and smiling at each other because Amelia’s joy was infectious!

Our interaction didn’t last long, so I wasn’t sure, but I suspected maybe Amelia had special needs. It was hard to be certain because there really wasn’t much talking between all of us…just smiles and laughter. So when we finally finished our shopping and drove off, I asked Gman, “Is Amelia in your class at school?”

“Yep!” he said.

“Does she sit near you?” I asked.

“No. She only comes into the classroom sometimes. She can’t talk. She has to wear a helmet because she has really bad seizures sometimes. But she can sort of say hi and bye,” he said.

And then I totally lost it. Tears ran down my face because I’m so proud of that boy. I’m so proud that he loved that little classmate of his. He was so excited to see her and she was overjoyed about running into him. It was just beyond beautiful. Every day when Gman leaves for school I give him a kiss and a hug and say, “Have a great day…and show God’s love!” And boy did he ever, today.

I bawled some more because my husband would’ve been so proud of his son!! He has a tender heart, just like his Daddy. He wasn’t being nice to Amelia because she has special needs. He wasn’t showing her love and kindness because the teacher was watching. He was shining his light just because. He was showing God’s love! All the darkness and burden I was feeling that day from things like disabilities, diseases, death, and disobedience melted away in that moment. That joy lit up the produce section so bright my eyes had to leak hard so my heart wouldn’t burst.

That’s what happens when we shine our light. Joy fills the room, and the darkness disappears. Go shine your lights, friends. There’s a lot of darkness in the world that needs light. Now go, “have a good day….and show God’s love!”

photo by Daniel Burka

photo by Daniel Burka

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  • Reply Wendy September 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Love this Jodi! Thank you for sharing your heart….and Gman’s 🙂

    • Reply Extra Grace Required September 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      I’m so glad you’re with us on this journey. Thanks for joining us, Wendy!

  • Reply Eileen Boggess September 12, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Beautiful post!

  • Reply Jan September 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    G- man has such a sincere heart…How we can learn from our youth. Thanks for sharing your journey today.

  • Reply Kathy September 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Love, love love this!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required September 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Thank you for letting me know, Kathy! I’m so happy you’re here!

  • Reply Cheryl September 13, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Tears Jodi!!! This touched my heart!!!!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required September 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

      That makes me so happy, Cheryl! I’m so excited to have you here. Feel free to subscribe if you’d like content delivered to your in-box. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Jodi Nyberg September 13, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Goosebumps while reading this! Keep on keeping on, mama! <3

  • Reply Jordyn Kracht September 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    That is my little bright light! She is one of my SPED students. So happy to hear that even outside of school my kids are treated as any other kid. Thank you for sharing:)

  • Reply Jamie September 13, 2016 at 11:59 pm


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