When Our Kids Embarrass Us And We Learn A Life Lesson

It was Easter morning. One of the busiest seasons in ministry life. Our kids were small and our lives were full.

Easter is one of those holidays that brings back special memories for me.  Growing up we didn’t do Easter baskets or egg hunts. But we did do new outfits.  I always looked forward to new white patent shoes with little bows on front and straps across the ankle. We were never allowed to wear them until Easter morning and it never failed that by the end of the morning my shoes were full of black scuff marks where my feet had rubbed together. We wore new Easter bonnets and frilly new dresses.  That morning always ranked high in level of importance for the year.

So when I had girls of my own, Easter was a big deal.  No matter how tight the finances, new Easter dresses… even if they were second-hand… along with new shoes were a big deal for me.

Easter was also super busy because it was the one Sunday of the year where we had two services in the morning with a brunch in between. There was the early service, brunch and then the second service.

As all ministry people can relate, when you are in full ministry mode the pastor’s kids are entrusted to behave and do as they’ve been taught while Mom and Dad do their work…. greeting, organizing and working with people. ( I mean honestly, what other job do we expect this?  — How many parents bring their kids to work on their busiest days and expect them to behave and stay out of trouble?— But hey that’s a whole other blog post — or book — “Kids in the ministry”)

So during this particular Easter morning, my kids (ages 7, 5 and 4) were ready for the early 8:30 service and doing amazing in their new Easter attire.

I was so proud as we snapped pictures — the boys in ties and the girls in white with floral patterns– the picture perfect Easter postcard.

We were almost ready to start the 2nd service and my kids knew where they belonged — the front row — where Dad and Mom could keep an eye on them from the stage.

Dave was at the piano and I was on stage ready to welcome people and begin the service.

But my 4-year-old Emily was not on the front row. In fact, I couldn’t spot her anywhere.

Some other leaders saw my mama-panicked-face and offered to search for her.

I was pretty confident all would be fine as I began the service with a smile on my face and led the people in worship.  My eyes continued to scan the crowd and watch from stage as ushers and leaders scurried in the back looking for Emily.

We began the second song as I watched from the open doors in the back… Emily skipping into church, down the side aisle and sidling up to her big sister in the front row.

I’m not sure if my jaw dropped to my chest and my eyes popped out of their sockets but that’s what was happening in my internal world.

Oh, my word!  What is she doing?

Where did her beautiful Easter dress go?  Why is she dressed like that?

I am completely embarrassed. How could she do this to me?  She is totally going to get it after I get off this stage!

As I watched from stage, my older responsible daughter looked appalled as well.  They kept whispering back and forth as the older scolded the younger and the younger sat down in defeat with arms crossed and head down. {This is real family ministry stuff people — Mom and Dad working while their kids work out what they are supposed to be doing on the front row of life. Side-note encouragement: Be kind to ministry kids! }

Arguments and explanations kept circling in my mind as the worship time continued and I battled in my head.

The singing came to an end. The crowd greeted one another and I headed to the front row.

What are you doing?

Where is your Easter outfit?

Why are you crying?

Well… that last question, I knew the answer.  I was upset!  It was Easter! What was she thinking??? — We’re supposed to be all nice, put together and living our best life.  Why are you dressed like that?

The explanation came out and Emily shared her side.

Mom, why are we doing this again? We already had service and we ate. 

Isn’t it time for church to be over?

In my crazy adult world, I had forgotten to explain to our little girl that EASTER was different. That we were doing this twice. That she was going to be singing on stage twice. And I forgot to explain to this sweet little one — who hated dresses at all times and on every occasion — that her faded, ripped-up blue jeans; purple, butterfly t-shirt and red baseball cap sitting sideways on her head was NOT acceptable Easter attire.

Her tears flowed and her head fell into my lap.

Looking back, it wasn’t my best mothering moment.

And this is where my heart circles around to Jesus’ words to Martha.

Martha, Martha, you are worried about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. – (Luke 10:38-42)

In this life, we can be worried and upset about many things. Little things, that in the heat of the moment, seem enormous. But in the reality of true life and real living, these things are small and not life altering.

In the whole scheme, it’s small potatoes.

The bigger potato was my sweet Emily’s heart.

She wasn’t being rebellious or stubborn. She really thought we were done with church. She had run down the sidewalk to our parsonage home, slipped out of her pretty, frilly dress and adorned herself in what she was comfortable in — play clothes.

She was actually doing what she thought her mama would want — Putting play clothes on. (Don’t climb trees in pretty dresses!)

Thankfully, we survived that moment and I learned a few life lessons — 1) There are more important things in life than appearances. 2) Listen before assuming. 3) Communicate, love, communicate, love … (repeat)

In our lives, we can worry and be upset about many things. But today, let’s choose what is better — relationship, love and living well. — Oh, and wear play clothes whenever possible!

Have a great day, friends!

~ Rachel

4 thoughts on “When Our Kids Embarrass Us And We Learn A Life Lesson

  1. Hilarious! I can relate to Emily, I couldn’t wait to change out of my church clothes. If I’m being honest, I still can’t wait to change out of “church” clothes. I had a similar misunderstanding with my youngest. I took her to kindergarten round-up recently and she was so nervous. I kept telling her she had nothing to be nervous about, she wouldn’t have to do anything. After we left she asked if we were going to buy school supplies and a backpack so she would be ready to start school the next day. Whoops! No wonder she was nervous, she thought school was starting right away. I guess I didn’t make it clear she still had spring and summer to go until she started kindergarten. #momfail.

    Liked by 1 person

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