Friday, June 29, 2012
Greetings and Salutations
This last weekend was our 2012 Ladies Retreat! It was fantastic and a huge blessing to me and, as I do each year, I returned home challenged and refreshed. Our topic this year was "Desperate Housewives- Desperate for God" using the verse in Prov 42:1 which reads, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, Oh God". Our speaker, Cathy Olsen, shared testimony and the truth represented in God's word and reminded us (we all need reminding) that we can find comfort, instruction and promise in the word of God when we are tempted to succumb to the lies of the world. She discussed the "masks" we all wear both to hide the hurt and hide our feelings of inadequacy, even
within the church.
One of my roles at he retreat was MC and so it has become tradition, along with announcements and the drawing of door prizes, that I tell a story. I have shared ER stories, girl stories..("put on your Godly tassels and let 'em rip"...another story for another day) and mom stories. One story from this last weekend was about my son Nate and his two good friends, who I'll call David and Adam for the sake of privacy.
Myself and my good friend/sister in Christ were in the parent pick up room when school had gotten out and were doing a kid swap. I was taking one of her boys and she was taking one of mine. Another boy from their class, the son of a local pastor, was also coming to my house that day. As you can imagine they were excited and taking about their afternoon of running amuck playing superheroes, spies or whatever bad-guy-fighting combination they could come up with. So, me being the calm and always in control parent...(ahem...not), I exclaim, "Who wants to go to my house to have popsicles and play???" The three boys all jump in celebration and cry out, "WE DO!!!" then all of a sudden they turn to each other and say "PEEPEE HIGH FIVES" and proceed to pelvic bump each other. Almost as if in slow motion, my good friend and I reach out to stop them yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOOO"..."there are NO PEEPEE HIGH FIVES OR ANY PEEPEE TOUCHING AT ALL" and then we both blushed and laughed in embarrassment as our boys-the christian raised children, of us-the christ declaring mothers were ogled by the surrounding parents and teachers as they looked on. We, later, tried to figure out which family had this come from. We all, of course, denied that it was us. I'll blame it on the school system...hahahahah. Really though, boys DO always find a way to make it about their parts...seriously...even in adulthood.
I shared this story because life is messy and imperfect and sometimes I think we expect that because we are believers that our children should be an overflow of the righteousness we strive for but really, like us, our children are sinners. They need Jesus. They need instruction. They need accountability. They need to not play with their pee-pees in public, it's inappropriate. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is a common parenting lesson. Oddly enough, our concern with propriety as we mature can turn into the opposite extreme and an inability to be real with each other.
Masks of "having it all together" or being "fine" when really, at times, we are not fine at all are not uncommon. Growing up in the church can be both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing: getting the opportunity to come to Christ at a young age, learning scripture early, having the support of other believers and prayerfully avoiding a life of wandering, aimlessness and consequence.
The curse being that as you grow up in the church "christian living" can become easy, like performing a choreography to a dance you've known your whole life. There are those who start to believe that because they have God's forgiveness then living a life of rebellion to him isn't a problem, using God's grace as an excuse to sin. There are those who know what to say, how to act and live and can easily fly under the radar never revealing the "lost-ness" of yourself even in the midst of a crowd.
We, as believers, are aware of the lost in the world. Those whose choices, words, actions and beliefs are a direct result of not know Christ. However, sadder and scarier that the multitudes outside the church are those within the church who live and exist in ignorance of ever REALLY knowing Christ and yet are standing right next to him. We need to be as careful to watch for the lost within the church as we do outside the church.
Today a gal who attended the retreat wrote me a message to tell me that she had shared the "peepee high five" story already to four of her friends. I responded that it's "gonna go global". But wouldn't it be great if, like our kids' inhibition, we could be that real to each other...I'm not suggesting pelvic bumping as the norm, but what if we could let our masks down and be real to each other. Admit that we sometimes don't understand. Recognize when someone needs some encouragement, mentoring and truth. Understand that we need accountability and instruction. This is the body of Christ.