Sometimes the best gift you can give is to allow someone else to give to you. It’s not always easy, though, as this story from our friends at MOPS International shows…

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I had a situation recently where every single person in my family had the stomach flu—at the exact same time. That is something I don’t wish on my biggest enemy, especially when your kids start feeling better but you’re still sick.

My son started to feel better first and was ready to go back to school, but the rest of us were still down. I drove my son to school, but I was so sick that I couldn’t get out of the car. I had a friend from my son’s school; I called her a “school friend” because we didn’t know each other super well, and I hadn’t ever done her any favors. The score was 0-0, so it felt like a big deal to ask her for a favor. But that morning she was walking by at the moment when I realized I couldn’t get out of the car and walk my son to class. I rolled down my window and yelled to her, “I’m really not feeling well. Could you take my son to his class?” “Of course!” she said, “I’m taking my son, of course I’ll take him too.”

The next morning, I’m still so ill, that I barely get my son to school. Once again, my new friend walked by my car and said to me, “I’ll take your son to class again; it’s fine, it’s fine!” What’s the score now? 2-0? I’ve still done nothing nice for her. This is the way we think; we keep score of who’s helping who and it’s not really a great system.

A few days later, I was in the pickup line at school, still not feeling well. My friend drove up next to me and rolls down her window as I roll down mine. With concern, she said to me, “How are you guys? You have been so sick. You’re so down.”

“Oh we’re fine,” I replied weakly. And at that moment, my daughter gets sick into a bowl right behind me. My friend hears the whole thing and says, “You’re fine? OK…well how’s your daughter doing?” “Well…” I hesitated, “she’s recovering.”

Without missing a beat, my school friend responded, “How can I help you?” “We’re fine,” I promised, “I’m just going to pick up my son, run to the store, get some medicine and go home.” “Let me do it for you,” she responded with genuine sincerity.

I’m left thinking to myself, she’s already done two favors for me this week; she has a family of her own, I can’t ask her to do this. So I said, “No, no, no! We’re fine, we’re fine, it’s OK.”

Right then, she leaned across the passenger seat, out of the window, and made really intense eye contact with me, called me by name and said, “Will you let me help you?” So I sank down, started to cry and said, “Yes, you can help me.”

I’m learning that kindness is sometimes really hard to receive. I’d rather be on the giving end of kindness than be the one in need. In that moment, a new friend, who I didn’t know all that well, extended kindness to me and I chose to receive it. It was a big help, I desperately needed it, even though I didn’t want to take it.

This recent experience with kindness makes me think about a story of four friends who visited another friend who was bedridden. They put their friend on a stretcher and took him to hear a man named Jesus speak. When they got to where Jesus was speaking, it was so crowded that they couldn’t get their friend inside the house, so they decide to take him up on the roof. They saw a hole in the roof and lowered him down, right in front of Jesus.

I always think to myself, “What nice friends. They’re so strong and helpful.” But what I’ve come to realize is that it’s really hard to be that one friend who is on the stretcher—we don’t always think about that person. We think about how nice it is to be the one who can be the helper, but sometimes we’re the person who needs to receive kindness from others.

Moms sometimes just need to receive kindness, and that’s why MOPS and MOMSnext groups exist. At MOPS International, we’re a community where moms can receive the gift of knowing that they are not alone in this crazy adventure called motherhood. A little space to relax, breathe, laugh and enjoy a hot cup of coffee. We know that, without a doubt, moms deserve so much kindness, even when they might be terrified to ask for it.

That’s why we’re extending an invitation to you—an invitation to infuse the world with a little more kindness. An invitation to start or mentor a MOPS or MOMSnext group for the women in your community looking for mom friends, support in tough situations and often a just because hug. Your decision to start or mentor a group might just be the kindness that a mom desperately is hoping for! Find out more about the life changing power of kindness today!