We’ve all seen the famous painting by Norman Rockwell. It’s called “Freedom from Want,” and it features a large extended family gathered at the Thanksgiving table with a perfectly-cooked turkey being set in the middle of the table by the grandmother with granddaddy and all the hungry relatives ready to dig in. It’s easy to imagine an ideal family scenario with everyone getting along lovingly and no “impossible” relatives spoiling the occasion. I don’t know about you, but such a scene is seldom achieved in the Pearson house. We somehow tend to have more chaos and drama.
Take last week for example. On Tuesday afternoon, daughter Julie called to say she wanted to leave the next day for a 3-day conference in Atlanta with her husband Brian, but previous child care arrangements had just fallen through. She needed her momma to come to the rescue. Even though I knew Steve would be working for the next two days, I made some adjustments to my own previous plans and was able to welcome 7 eager children (ages 18 months to almost 12 years) into the house the next morning. Day 1 and the first night went smoothly. Everyone slept well and woke up raring to go the following morning. We played a new game and worked on some Mother’s Day projects. However, within a few hours, FOUR of them had developed a nasty stomach virus. FOUR. The 18-month-old was miserable and just wanted to be held, yet I had to put him down often to clean up the “effects” of sickness throughout the day. By the time Steve got home from work at suppertime, we were a MESS, a certified disaster zone, a hair’s breadth away from calling in the National Guard!!!
I got up with various sick people through the second night, but by the morning of Day 3, I had the virus myself. I could not lift my head off the pillow. Poor Steve, then, had 7 kids to care for who were (gratefully) feeling better. To make matters worse, Julie, the mother of these children who had looked forward to a well-earned break, was herself horribly sick in Atlanta!
The children were back with their parents by the end of Day 3, and I began the process of washing and disinfecting every germ-ridden towel, pillowcase, blanket, sheet, dish and surface in the house. In the middle of the following night, Steve was “down for the count.”
Get the picture? We were NOT the family you’d want to feature in a Hallmark movie, or on the front of a smiling greeting card or certainly not as the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. Our flaws had been put on full display.
And, those of you who have been affected by divorce can relate to this — tomorrow our oldest granddaughter will graduate from high school. Her parents divorced when she was two. Those parents have both remarried. We all love Allie very much and are so proud of her, but people with an unpleasant history will be thrown into the same environment for several hours. We all claim to be followers of Christ. Will we behave in ways that will reflect our identities in Christ or will Satan get to claim the victory?
Somehow as this Mother’s Day weekend approaches, I felt the need to be completely transparent with all of you. Here’s the deal. This side of heaven we won’t achieve perfection in our families. We are NOT a perfect family. Blessed? Absolutely! But far, FAR from perfect. There will be challenges and many times when our resolve to display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control will be tested. Our family members won’t always smell, sound, look or act pleasant in our eyes — nor will we in theirs.
Galatians 5:22-23 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
I made a new friend who is a Sister in Christ this past week. She has encouraged me to “pass the test.” Even without defining it verbally, I know the kind of test she’s talking about. I don’t want to disappoint her, but even more, I don’t want to disappoint Jesus.
So, we keep on keeping on. We keep putting on the whole armor. We keep asking God to help us live in understanding with one another. We pray for His will to be done in US and to change our bad attitudes.
Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!