This morning at church, when I was skipping laps with a restless child, a friend told me she was encouraged by seeing me pursue my kids. That she saw Jesus in me.
I chuckled and said, "Thanks. I drink a lot." She laughed, "Well you gotta do what you gotta do."
Then again at lunch, a woman told us that our family warmed her heart and that we as parents were doing a good job.
I tell you this not to brag. Because the reality is that I can't remember the last time Sloan and I got to sit in the sanctuary for a whole service or our kids we what we deem well behaved at a resteraunt. We generally alternate between one kids potty breaks, another's fear of not being held, and then another's child inability to sit in a crowded room for very long. Our kids are loud, defiant, anxious, and restless. More often than not, Sloan and I are tired, snappish, embarrassed and three seconds away from taking our stapler and setting the building on fire.
Our family doesn't look like I thought it would. Not because 50% of it is black. Several of my children have diagnoses that scare me. But because they "look" neuro-typical, I'm constantly aware that they may appear unruly and spoiled when really, their traumatic backgrounds cause them to live in a state of hyper vigilance, never far from an Amygdala hijack. I forget this is what is happening so much and confuse their diagnosis with their hearts and characters.
I've had to repent. A lot. In truth, I've loved my kids for who I thought they might be rather than who they are. And by doing so, I've missed out on just how many amazing things God is doing in them. My expectations have been off.
One of my kids struggles at meals. Like can't wait for food or sit still or handle odd smells or if something is "off". Most meals end with me losing it or this child saying the child hates itself.
My friend at church telling me she saw Jesus in me encouraged me to love this child in the midst of their struggle. So instead of expecting the child to wait for the child's meal patiently, I took the child to the restaurant's patio and we danced and galloped and skipped and danced to Mariachi music staring at our reflections in the restaurant's windows. There was part of me so tired and embarrassed that I wanted to scream and another part that was struggling to hold back the tears. That I was able to take part in the joy that sustains this particular child.
I write all this to encourage you Mommas: tell one another when you catch glimpses of grace. Shout it out. Because chances are the glory you see feels like death to us.
It doesn't matter that I can't sit in worship for the whole service. Loving my kids well IS WORSHIP. And sometimes loving well is hard. Really bloody hard. In fact, a lot of times I'm faking it just counting down til bedtime. But God is faithful and bridges the gaps. He loves using flawed folks to do His bidding. So carry on, Momma. Love well. Hold on til bedtime. What feels like crucifixion to you just might look like resurrection to someone else.