You might think we look older than normal in the picture below. You’d be right. My husband had just yelled the f word at Jesus (in adoration) right before we took it. That tends to age people.
Since you probably know by now that he’s the better of the two of us, you can about imagine how I was coping with the kids’ unruly behavior (and by “unruly” I mean “the way they normally act”).
The f-word. In adoration. Sorry, Jesus. You see, every year we lose our minds & load up all 47 of our kids & drive to a different state for a week-long family retreat with a group of Domestic Church families. Every year the first 2 days are terribly miserable. By day 2 I’m wondering why we ever thought a retreat was a good idea for our heathen family & I start planning our escape route.
MY DUMB UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
It’s not the retreat’s fault or the kids’ fault and, duh, it’s not Jesus’ fault. It’s OUR fault. For some reason when we venture cross-country for these retreats Marvin & I think our children will miraculously transform into angelic creatures. We expect for them to sit in mass silently—contemplatively even. We expect we’ll be the kindest, holiest spouses. We imagine walking calmly hand in hand like the freakin’ Brady Bunch through a field of grass. (All of my dang unrealistic expectations involve fields of grass.) We imagine speaking to our children in those calm voices I hear parents with one child using. We imagine a perfect family on a perfect retreat becoming perfectly holy.
If I’m not careful, I’ll spend my whole entire life WAITING, living in the pretend world of my head (where the fields of grass are plentiful). I’ll spend time waiting to be the mom who uses a calm voice, waiting for these children to become children who do things the first time they’re told, waiting for my husband to morph into the husband who WANTS to talk about feelings & who puts clothes INTO the hamper. I’ll wait to stop loving margaritas & Roseanne so much. (Fat chance, sister!) I’ll wait for the magic leap in holiness that MUST be just around the corner somewhere.
LET GOD INTO THE CRAP
So, you see, the first few days of that retreat suck because they are the uncomfortable days of unbecoming & shedding. We have to rid ourselves of all the crap we think we SHOULD be and just embrace the big, fat crap we actually ARE and then we have to allow the space for God to join us in that crap.
Today, RIGHT NOW, shed your expectations and stop waiting. You might not ever be exactly who you think you ought to be. Your surroundings might not ever look like the perfectly tranquil, holy space you envision, but, right now, in this very moment God IS REAL and He’s with you in the messy, crappy, loud, hectic life you ACTUALLY have and He’s waiting to hear from you.