I am a pastor’s wife and an almost adoptive mom to 4 and 1 year old girls, as well as, to 2 biological sons that are 9 and 11. Being a pastors wife and a mom of 4 is pretty much synonymous with the phrase “Sundays are hard”. Joshua leaves for church long before any of the rest of us get out of bed in the morning, so it is my job to get all 5 of us dressed nicely and out the door on time to walk into church like a happy family should. I dress and feed and care for 4 children 7 days of the week, and, so, this really should not be that hard (especially since our church doesn’t start until 10:30). Unfortunately, that is never the case for our little crew. The baby inevitably poops right before it’s time to leave or the 4 year old has lost her shoes or the preteen just can’t decide what to eat or the diaper bag is lost or, really, the possibilities are endless. The last few weeks have been especially hard.
As a pastor’s wife, as a mom, I want to walk into church and look like I have my stuff together. I want my children to be perfectly behaved, so that people will trust me. I want to make it look like my life is effortless and easy. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I don’t have my stuff together and my children are not perfect. We are all broken with different levels of hurting.
Today my 4 year old decided she didn’t want to go to her Sunday School class. What she wanted more than anything was to go into the toddler class with her baby sister, and because I could not let her she threw a tantrum- a kicking, screaming, hitting tantrum. The only thing I could do was carry my screaming, kicking, hitting girl out of church to our van where I could hold her and parent her in a controlled environment. I, a pastor’s wife, a person who should have it under control, carried my wild girl out of the church, sometimes in my arms, sometimes by her wrists, with sweat dripping down my face, apologizing along the way for the scene we were creating. I sat in the car with her for a good 15 minutes. She kicked me and hit me. I gave her the only 2 choices we had: go back to Sunday School (that she LOVES) without a tantrum or go home. Thankfully, she calmed down and went to her class and had a fabulous time, and I went into church after my husband had already stepped onto the stage to preach. I sat down in my seat shaking, embarrassed, frazzled. I felt inadequate. Inadequate as an adoptive mom. Inadequate as a pastor’s wife. Inadequate to do the life that I was doing.
Thankfully, in my despair, God used Ephesians 1:4-5 as I processed this morning’s tantrum. These verses say “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”. God chose me before the foundation of the world to be His, though I am inadequate and broken. Though most of the time I feel like there probably are people much more qualified than me to do be doing the jobs that my life requires, He chose me to be His daughter.
As I was holding my kicking, screaming daughter I got to see a reflection of myself, and I, also, got to see a reflection of my Father’s love for me. She hit me and kicked me and fought against my love, longing for the things I cannot give her, but she could not thwart my love. In a few short weeks she will legally be mine forever. I am choosing her to be my daughter though she is broken and hurting, though she is not mature and does not have her stuff together, though she is inadequate she is who I choose to call daughter. She is mine, and I am His…always…never stopping…forever.