Why We Need to Let Them In: A Guest Post by September McCarthy

I am honored to have September McCarthy, author of {Why} Motherhood Matters, guest posting at my blog today. I wrote a review of her book here two weeks ago, and I am glad she has chosen a fitting excerpt from that book as her post here. Enjoy!

Why Motherhood Matters 1

Why We Need to Let Them In

There it was again. A soft knock on my screen door.

I was hoping it wasn’t so. Of all the times to have visitors, why did it have to be now? I had chosen this day to relax. I had six kiddos under the age of nine still in their pajamas at one in the afternoon, and a home that held a few piles of unfolded laundry on the couch, a nursing babe on my breast, and a table left sticky from a PB&J lunch. We had gone apple picking the day before, and the over-achiever in me seemed to rear its head. In hindsight, we had picked way too many! There they were, those beautiful, shiny apples in bags on my kitchen floor, causing a little more than an overwhelming picture to my life. I had chosen to be present with my kids today and now it seemed to be backfiring on me.

Walking to the door, I smoothed my fingers through my little girl’s hair, pushed a few toys aside with my feet, brushed the crumbs from the tabletop to the floor, and opened the door with a hesitant smile. I was greeted with the warmest of faces and the gentlest of eyes in a woman 30 years my senior. Her speckled, gray hair was neatly combed, a stark contrast to my postpartum body, and I immediately felt small, defensive, and hesitant.

I didn’t move from the door. I was secretly hoping she was just dropping something off. But her cheerful words told me differently. She was just dropping in for a visit, and I was mortified to let her in. I always had my home in order, clean and running smoothly, but this day, this single day, I had chosen to let it all go for some rest and downtime with the kids. It was time to eat humble pie.

This day changed my life. Forever.

This dear woman walked into my home and never once did she look around. She kept her eyes on me the whole time. She sat at the table with her arms carefully arranged around the sticky leftovers and she held my baby with so much love. She didn’t look at the dishes in my sink or the mountain of laundry unfolded on the couch. She carried on the most pleasant of conversations, ever so gracefully ignoring my inner turmoil and anxiety over every little thing. She let the kids crawl onto her lap and she read them books. She asked me how I was and what I would be doing that week.

Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5 NIV)

I was a bundle of nerves. I skittered around like a maniac for the first ten minutes, offering her refreshment, washing a glass in case she said yes, and ridiculously trying to make everything perfect. She never blinked or acted annoyed. She smiled and told me she just wanted to visit with me. And never once did she bring up the dishes or comment on the state of my disarray for that day. She could have offered to help with the mess but she knew me well enough to know that I had that under control and that the offer could easily be an offense. Instead of piling on guilt or triggering embarrassment, she was perfectly present to put my heart and mind at ease. She sat right there in the sea of craziness and beamed like a lighthouse I wanted to draw near for comfort and security. I wanted her peace, and she was bringing it to me.

I had been waiting for her to point out my motherhood imperfections, my messy corners, and that obviously my children were still in their pj’s at one in the afternoon. That never happened. She was just there to meet me where I was. This was the first time another woman had ever overlooked everything else and put value in just me. It was a glorious unfolding of the perfect picture of sisterhood in the thick of the mess. A sanctuary of blessing that every woman should receive.

As she stood to leave, she kissed my children, and I remember seeing them look up into her deep eyes with adoration; I knew they would never forget her. There was another dart of conviction to my heart. I had worried so much about the state of my home and my appearance that I didn’t recognize the full gift God was extending to me and to my kids. This awakening was a mighty strong and beautiful thing.

When she got to the door, she paused with a brief hesitancy (insert the Holy Spirit working here) and sweetly turned to me and said, “I see you have some apples there that need to be finished into applesauce.” After a long, awkward pause on my part, I quickly told her about our eagerness while picking and the joy it brought the kids to see their hard work in number. But she and I both knew half of those apples would never make it to the freezer or the canning jars. That was the truth of it. She had quietly noticed those apples earlier, but upon leaving, told me that she would love to take them home so she and her retired husband could sit and peel, core, cook down, and crank out our sauce like no tomorrow. As a matter of fact, it would be fun for them. Go figure. My job would be fun for her. Or at least, that’s how she put it. Because she knew my pride might get in the way and I might say no.

Oh, that moment was so defining. With all my heart, I knew it was the right thing to let her take those apples. It was a true gift, but with all my pride-filled emotional reasoning, I wanted to tell her that I was good. That we were going to make it a family project and it would be fun. But, I knew that it would be all me. All stress and all regret if I didn’t let someone help me.

Those bushels and bushels of apples went home with my friend with sparkly eyes and sprinkled grey hair. A few days later, she returned the finished applesauce to my home.

Taken from: {Why} Motherhood Matters. Copyright © 2017 by September McCarthy. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

Why Motherhood Matters 3Mothering in community is only one of the important topics covered in September McCarthy’s new book {Why} Motherhood Matters. Download a sample chapter and learn more at whymotherhoodmatters.com. September McCarthy believes every woman needs someone to speak into her life with understanding and truth. She encourages women in each season of motherhood through her blog One September Day and her ministry Raising Generations Today. As a speaker and writer, her vision and mission is for the generations. September lives in rural Upstate New York with her husband and their large family.

Book Giveaway Winner

I wrote a review for {Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy here, and I held a drawing for a free copy of the book. Thank you to all who entered my drawing!

I don’t have a full name, but congratulations to KMH! Please email me at heather.bock[at]glimpsesofjesus.com with your address so I can send you the book. I hope you’ll enjoy it! If I don’t hear from you by Saturday, September 30, I will draw another name. Thank you!


0 thoughts on “Why We Need to Let Them In: A Guest Post by September McCarthy

  1. Great post. I may have to reconsider my actions when I go to a friend’s house. I love to help and serve. I have a hard time just sitting and talking. I have a particular friend who watches kids and home schools and when we have a little time for me to stop over I offer to help with laundry or dishes. Sometimes kids are less interrupting when we are busy if we just sit on the couch we are kid magnets. This at least gives me pause. I know that at times it is so helpful to step into the mess and help a friend feel relief. I know it is for me when a friend does that for me. But I will also remember to make sure I’m coming to see and be with my friend not just serve by cleaning.

    1. You are such a good one to serve, Beccy! I’m sure your friend appreciates your help. Just let her know you don’t think her house is too messy or something–like you’re trying to fix her. But I’m sure she knows it of you.

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