Wrestling in Church

 

All through bible study my two year old scream sang.Cartoons, Home, Phone. Cartoons, Home, Phone.  His voice would quiet, almost to the point of sleeping but would pop his head off my shoulder as soon as he realized sleep could be in his near future. I could not get him to settle down. I eventually gave up and sat in our car on the edge of angry agitated tears.

The bible study was about Moses telling God he was not the right person to be used to set the people free. It was about the faithfulness of God in the middle of what appears to be an impossible situation.

Oh Lord, I am inadequate for all any things I may be called to do right now. Including teaching my kids to control themselves

I sat in the car with mascrea in the corners of my eyes. My two year old now happy as a lark to be roaming around our vehicle. My husband came out to tag in and out. Go listen to the sermon he said. In my head my voice rang with sarcasm dripping from it…right listen to the sermon…The older kids sat fairly well. I caught bits and pieces of what pastor was saying but no complete thoughts. I corrected their every move.  I was not correcting them in an edifying way I was correcting them in a control freak way.

I came to the communion alter and Pastor said this is HIS BODY GIVEN FOR YOU. This is HIS BLOOD SHED FOR YOU. I anxiously put the bread on my tongue and crushed it. I tipped the communion cup back and felt the wine warm my mouth, throat, and belly. GIVEN FOR YOU. SHED FOR YOU.

During the hymns I spent my time trying to get the kids who can read or kind of read on the correct page.  The younger ones wanted every color of the rainbow to color pictures of their new puppy.  Another non reader wanted to fling wooden dinosaurs across the sanctuary.

During the last hymn of the service everyone was quiet for a bit.  The bag of goodies was packed away and I was able to not just listen but to sing along to the final verse of the final hymn.  It was the only verse of a hymn I sang through the entire service.  I can’t tell you which hymn it was or what the exact wording was.  It was the message the stuck with me.  It is by His grace that you are here.  It is by His grace my butt is even in a pew this morning.  It is by His grace I am parenting these crazy tiny people.  It is by His grace we are all sustained and will be sustained through our days, weeks, months, and years.

My big kids shot out of the back of church I am assuming they almost ran over the people who were ushered out of the church first.  I sighed deeply and chatted with the woman in front of me about the week still agitated thinking about what havoc my kids were causing downstairs..

After wrestling my kids all through bible study and service a lady in our congregation who has raised her own kids, helped with grandkids, and is now watching great grandkids grow grabbed my and with both of her warm soft hands. She didn’t touch it lightly she gripped it and said ‘me too’ she said it in more words but the essence was ‘me too’. I walked out of church and i stead of the reoccurring phrase of ‘why do we even bother’ running through my head I was thankful for these things.

I can assure you it was not out of my piety that I was thankful for the reminder that I am insufficient but God is faithful and guiding me through this crazy stage of parenting.

It’s obvious when I am kneeling at the communion rail with bread in my mouth and warm wine running down to my stomach it’s not me.  I am thankful it was GIVEN FOR ME and SHED FOR ME.

Through out the week I can think of the message I was able to absorb from the last verse of the last hymn.

I can relish in the fact that our crazy little family is loved by our church family.  We are loved not because my husband and I have it all together.  We are not loved because our kids make all the right decisions.  We are loved because we are there.  We are loved because we are part of that little church family.  On Sunday they showed me once again that love flowing from Christ through them.  This time it was with a hand squeeze and encouragement.

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