Have you ever seen another mom in a crowd of people and just for a MOMent you make a connection? You know, one of those, “I get it, and I’ve been there; I feel you, Mom. You can do it!” kind of connections.

Just days ago I had a surreal experience of such a connection. I refer to it as surreal because it happened halfway around the world during my trip to Israel. The other mom was an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman; at least, that’s what her attire and the neighborhood I was in would indicate.

My head continues to swirl with all that I learned, saw, and experienced while on a recent 14-day tour of Israel. The combination of Bible history coming to life and current Middle Eastern turmoil becoming experiential reality has left me paralyzed with the inability to come up with a coherent way to write about my time there.

But write I must. Truth be told, I almost feel that if I begin to write, I won’t want to stop, which we all know is not an option for MomLife Today. I have a home to manage, not to mention ministry responsibilities.

Thankfully, each night I sat at my computer and wrote down the events of the day and what I dubbed a few years ago when I visited China as my “daily random observations.” This copious list of observations and interactions, as well as my journal and photos taken, will allow me to share with you several simple and surreal events from my pilgrimage to Israel.

I’ll begin with the place where my heart is always drawn and with the universal language of motherhood, which takes me back to a busy street in the heart of New Jerusalem.

I was sitting on a bench in the middle of a busy downtown street while munching on an apple and simply observing. The street was narrow; the two-to-three-story buildings were architecturally intriguing and made of stone with storefronts on the bottom and dwellings in the upper levels. The balconies resembled works of art with colorful pieces of clothing drying on small lines, combined with unending pots of bougainvillea and other cascading flowering plants that looked like brush strokes.

Passersby, much like those on any American city street, were rushed and moving about their business without noticing me or giving me a care. I kept trying to catch someone’s eye, as it is in my nature to be an encourager, even if it is merely with a smile or raised eyebrows, bright eyes or a hello nod. But to no avail — I was ignored by the throngs of Israelis.

I heard the cry of a child, so I swung my legs around the bench, bent to the right and craned my neck to see a stroller. Though the source of the incessant crying was hidden from my view, I smiled and giggled. My inquisitive stare moved to the small, white hands clutching the stroller, up the arms enveloped by dark, flowing clothing, and into the eyes of a beautiful, young, fresh face unmarked by make-up. Outlining her face was an off-white turban of sorts, expertly wound, and with cloth tendrils flowing down her strong, stiff back. This exquisite “sister mom” from the other side of the globe, in whose land I was but a visitor, accepted my smile and embraced my raised eyebrows and bright eyes. Then she discreetly and sweetly curved one side of her mouth up, gently rolled her eyes, lilted her head back and forth, and then we locked “knowing” eyes.

The two of us shared a MOMent — a thought that you, too, have embraced: “This kid is driving me crazy.” She then gave me the smile I had been probing for all day, and warmth rushed over me as the crowd swallowed her up.

My heart softly sighed. Being a mom is a universal language — a privilege and frustration for us all — and each of us is searching for understanding and encouragement, no matter the land in which we live. At that very MOMent and later that night in the quiet comfort of my Ben Gurion Hotel bed, I thanked my Heavenly Father for giving me that very personal glimpse that seemed to whisper, “The ministry I have given you does matter … press on.”

Mom friends, encourage one another, especially those whose names you do not know.

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One Comment

  1. Yes, yes, yes! MOMents cross all cultural and language barriers! What a precious story. Loved it so much I had to comment. (And so well written – what a writer!)