Sunday mornings are often difficult, and yesterday was no exception. It was one of those mornings. As we needed to get everyone in the car, we had a big kid throwing a tantrum—a big, defiant, physical, kicking-and-screaming tantrum. Let me tell you, these are not fun with kids who are in bigger and bigger bodies. I had to step aside to avoid the flailing legs and arms, not wanting to put myself and the baby in a bad situation. PJ had to carry the pajama-clad child to the car, where we continued to deal with wiggling out of the seatbelt and screaming all the way to church. By the time we got there, I was spent. I had no energy to put a smile on my face or tell anyone I was “fine.” While PJ dropped the little ones off in the nursery, I herded the big kids into the first empty back row I could find. Throughout the worship songs, I stood silently, trying to be numb to the flood of emotions. The enemy was close by, whispering over the lyrics, “you’re an idiot for adopting. It’s always going to be this hard.”
The songs finished, we passed the offering plate, people prayed, and the sermon started. I had my Bible open on my lap, but my mind was elsewhere. Suddenly though, I heard the preacher say, “well, you’re all here fully clothed and in your rights minds this morning…”
I have no idea what he was actually talking about, but I glanced over at PJ and we both got a bad case of the giggles. You see, we were seated next to a sulking child who was not “fully clothed,” at least in the church-clothes sense, and whose mind was definitely not right. While a reasonable assumption to make of the congregation, the statement did not hold up for our family. It did, however, help to break the tension. It was if Jesus was telling me, “it’s going to be ok.”
After the service, I stood off to the side with the big kids while PJ retrieved the little ones. An older man, who had gotten to know Vernon well through the GriefShare program this fall, came up to us. While he was telling us all hello, he could see that one child was visibly grumpy. He pulled the child into a hug and spoke the gospel, offering encouragement to seek forgiveness and rejoice in restoration. Then, he grabbed my hand and looked straight into my eyes. “Thank you for taking care of these kids,” he said. I could only nod while blinking back tears, so thankful for his acknowledgement that what we are doing is so hard yet so worth it for Jesus.
Though I was still physically drained from the morning’s events, the evidences of grace at church did wonders for my burdened soul.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14