I can’t believe she did that.

I’m 48 minutes from leaving for a gigantic work meeting when the babysitter calls . . . Huge emergency. Can’t come.

Uh-oh. I scramble for a plan.

Husband? Out of town.

Mom? At work.

Backup sitter? Unavailable.

I make a last-ditch call to a best friend, interrupting the homeschooling of her three kids. Shoutout to my homeschool mamas: I know everyone calls you because you’re “just home all day.” I promise this wasn’t that. But I’m desperate, and she’s an angelshe rearranges her schedule and says she’ll be right over.

I can’t believe she did that.

I’m scrawling last-minute instructions on the fridge and trying to get the house into somewhat of a livable order. The kids are demanding lunch, oblivious to my rising anxiety level. I throw rice and veggies in a pan and try to multitask, which results in illegible baby-feeding instructions and a somewhat blackened version of chicken fried rice adhered to the bottom of my “nonstick” pan.

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I scrape the remains of lunch into the trash and open the back door to let out the smoke before the alarm goes off. My friend breezes into my chaos with her sweet daughter in tow, pretending not to smell the burnt food, see the smoking pan in the sink, or notice that my children are eating applesauce and pretzels for lunch.

I can’t believe she did that.

I’m scattered and working myself into a fine panic as I try to educate my friendwho has successfully birthed, raised, and educated three children who probably did not eat applesauce and pretzels for lunchon how to keep my crew alive for a few hours.

She smiles without condescension and lets me talk myself out, reassuring me she can figure out where the diapers are and how to give the baby a bottle and that everything will be OK.

I can’t believe she did that.

I arrive late to my meeting and take the coffee someone hands me, trying to switch to work mode while still praying that my children behave the way I’ve reared them to or, at the very least, don’t cause my friend to run for the hills and never speak to me again.

I drive home with a cloud hanging over me. Even though I’m proud of my children and work hard to raise them well, my anxiety has me convinced I’ll need to do some major damage control to one of my most important relationships today. My imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, and my heart wonders if this is finally the day someone discovers I’m not a good mom. After all, who can’t calmly secure a last-minute sitter while preparing a home-cooked meal and polishing their house to a high shine?

So I’m shocked when I walk through the front door, not into more chaos, but into the sound of my children’s happy laughter. The baby bounces gleefully on my friend’s knee while my toddler daughter sings a song to them both. I can hear my son shouting excitedly from the backyard where my friend’s daughter is patiently entertaining him.

The toys are picked up. The kids are dressed. Peace reigns.

I can’t believe she did that.

My friend calmly hands me the baby, reports on everything the kids ate and did, and gathers her daughter and her things, leaving me in a decidedly better situation than I left her in a few hours ago. We walk to the door together and as we pass the kitchen she offers me an apologyshe cleaned out the burnt pan, but I probably need a new sponge.

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I can’t believe she did that.

I can’t believe she dropped everything to come help me. I can’t believe she loved my children when I couldn’t. I can’t believe she didn’t judge my shortcomings. I can’t believe she left my home and my children better than she found them.

I can’t believe she cleaned my mess.

I close the door, draw my freshly-diapered, happy babies close, and let the tears fall. I can’t do this on my own, because I wasn’t created to. God made me for relationship. And as much as He intends me to bless other people, He has also surrounded me with a church full of people who really do want to bless me.

People who aren’t waiting for me to mess up and won’t shun me if I do. People willing to lend a hand. People willing to step into my chaos and sit with me in it. People willing to wash my pan and hold my babies.

I can’t believe He did that.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Trinity Neilson

Trinity Neilson is a pastor, speaker, writer, and coffee-lover living in Central California with her husband and three children. Her desire is to see people know Jesus in a way that brings health to every single area of their lives. She loves date nights with her husband, Pancake Fridays with her children, and all of the coffee. You can keep up with Trinity at TrinityNeilson.com.