Maggie-Peyton and I had a 2+ hour layover Friday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. 1000s of people scurrying through the airport, and we walked by this one young guy in fatigues who was making small talk with an older gentleman.

As we walked by, we overheard the young guy say “Today was my last day as a Navy Seal.” Assuming he was moving on to better things, we paused and said, “Congrats to you!”

When I made eye-contact with him, I realized how young he was. He said, “Well, I got kicked out.” I immediately responded in my momma voice with “Well, hopefully, you have learned a lesson through all of this.”

He proceeded to tell us that he was on his way back ‘home’ to make his life right. I said, “Well, ironically, I am on my way to visit my son in jail tomorrow who I pray is also on the path to making his life right.”

He was taken back.

He proceeded to tell me that he went into the service after a season of bad decisions and of potentially facing 7 years in prison. And today at only 19, he was facing yet another season.

How to survive parenting

In all my momma-ways, I encouraged him that there is a reason The Lord gives us second and sometimes third chances. He believes in us. He knows we were made for more. He made us for more. “Chip” didn’t hesitate to tell us that he was probably on his chance #837Z. In his words, “New Jersey has strict laws regarding drugs.” I said, “Imagine that! So does Florida and Arkansas and the other 47 states!” I told him again, “There is a reason you are still being given chances. It’s called grace.

“If you remember anything from tonight, you remember that this strange, old woman at the Charlotte airport told you that your life matters. You were made for great things. Go home. Do what you need to do. Own your mistakes. And make your momma proud.”

My momma-heart was all-kinds-of-swelled up when I walked away from him. I wanted to pinch his head off, hug him, and call his momma.

He may never remember me. He may never take anything I said to heart, but I pray my Maggie-Peyton does. I pray that both of my children always remember that there is no shame in life that The Lord’s grace can’t cover–or that a mother’s love can’t forgive.

Our hearts may be crushed and torn apart at times through this whole parenting-thing, but The Lord’s love and grace for us as parents are more than enough to carry us through any season.

Remember that y’all.

Whether it is the hard days with a toddler, sleepless nights with a newborn, dealing with a smart-mouthed tween, or facing seasons of a teen making bad choices – there is nothing The Lord won’t see you through if you solely depend on Him.

I’m living proof.