Collapsing into the couch, I stared out across the pond out back, too spent to actually see anything in my view.

We’d just had the world’s worst trip to the store, hot on the heels of a day that wouldn’t quit being crappy, and I sent this SOS text to a few dear and trusted friends:

We just had the worst trip to Sam’s Club ever. Jared and I had a fight, Sam misbehaved so badly he lost his sample privileges and whined and cried through the store, Josie vomited into my hands, our debit card got declined, I forgot to get the one thing I especially needed, and I’m too big to fit into the biggest-size shorts they had.

And the sweet tea machine was broken.

Encouragement poured in and my weary heart soaked up their love. Two other moms I texted told me to hang in there, that a new day would come, that I should plunk my little ones in front of a screen until they were ‘compliant little vegetables’ which is perhaps the best advice I have ever been given. I sat on that couch until I could breathe deep again, and then I went in to join the bedtime fray.

Later that night my Josie woke up and vomited all over me, literally head to toe, and then her bed, and then finally in the bowl. The baby was awake too because why not? And all the little crazies were up at 6:45 am.

My husband and I laughed that next day at the sheer volume of both throw-up and ridiculous that had poured out earlier. Seriously, a deluge. My husband left for work, and with the promise of a few hours for my own job later, I got dressed for the day.

And then there was a knock at the door.

My friends stood there beaming, holding a pot of Gerbera daisies (my favorite flowers) and a giant iced latte.

They spoke over each other with encouragement, with words of love, and I kind of fell into their arms. Touched doesn’t begin to describe what I felt. My love language doesn’t fall into a neat category but gifts is close; my husband and family say my love language is ‘being thought of’. And that morning my friends thought of me so, so well.

They showed me love with words, hugs, and a latte – not because they bought me something, but because they knew I wouldn’t have done it for myself. They knew what made me feel loved, reminded me that I’m seen. They thought of me, and acted on their compassion.

Maybe you’re not having an ‘awful trip to the store’ kind of day. Maybe you’ve recently been encouraged or loved well by a friend. Maybe you’re not sure that anyone would encourage you if you sent an SOS text. Lean in. I’m looking straight at you, probably with tears in my eyes ’cause that’s how I do. Listen close:

You, friend, were first a woman. Before you were a wife, mother, student, employee, empty nester, or anything else.

Created for beauty right from His beauty. You are lovely, dear, sweet and funny. You radiate.

You are wonderful, lovely you. I want you to know I think of you, even when I don’t text or call. I remember you. I pray for you. I am grateful for you.

And moms? You can do this. No matter how many kids you have, or how old they are… I know it’s hard AND I know you can do this. God made us to belong to each other, and He remembers who He made you to be, too.

With or without a latte, let’s pass on the words that make our breath quicken, the ones that make us feel remembered and seen and loved. Let’s send those to a friend who may be having a rough go of it. The words you speak just may be her lifeline today.

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