Perfectly Imperfect

Joy.My heart swelled with happiness the Easter our twins were nearing age two. The gratitude in my heart was overflowing as I remembered the overwhelming changes our family had survived over the last two years. We had grown from three children to five with the addition of the twins. We had moved from an international culture in suburban California to a northern Wisconsin farming community and were adjusting. We had purchased our first home. There was so much to celebrate as we prepared to worship our risen Lord. What a glorious morning it would be!

jay and meg

 

Perfection. Every child had a new item of clothing for this service. The older girls had new dresses and our eldest sported new pants and a tie. I had broken out the sewing machine for the first time since the move and made the twins matching pinstriped sailor outfits, hers a dress and his with shorts and shirt. Tears of thankfulness stung my eyes as I surveyed my shining brood.

Normally we positioned our family in the back pews as any discrete family with active babies would do. This particular Sunday was different. I was happy and I was proud of my wonderful family. We marched right down to the front pew in church, scooted hither and yon to accommodate where everyone would sit, and settled in.

Expectation. All went well during the opening hymn and liturgy. The babies quietly moved amongst the five of us, in usual fashion, wanting to be held by dad, then sisters, then brother, and back to me. My normal vigilance relaxed as the sermon began. Had we passed the threshold of taking one or the other twin out of church at least three or four times each service? I began to be hopeful. They were all being model children. I just knew this was the turning point.

Within a moment of my musings, the pastor made the main point of his sermon. He asked for a call to action from the congregation with a loud question. Making use of the silence, the pregnant pause, he waited. The congregation held their collective breath as they searched their souls for a proper rhetorical response. The packed church was completely silent in expectation.

Broken. As if on cue, the response came. It was loud and clear from the front row, our front row. Imagine the loudest and longest and juiciest-sounding release of flatulence human ears have ever heard. It reverberated forward, then upward, then off the rafters to the back of the church and boomeranged around back to our pew. There was no doubt as to the origin of the sound. With a perfect sense of timing, one of the twins (remaining nameless) had single-handedly made a statement and sullied the pastor’s oratorical moment.

With the innocent indiscretion committed, my idyllic family image came tumbling down and me with it. First I saw the unbelieving sidelong glances looking for confirmation that the others had heard the same explosion. Stifled gasps erupted behind us. Our own pew shook with giggling and movement. We were dealing with the moment in the only way we knew – we laughed! As I recall, whatever remained of the sermon was lost as the front row motion went through the rest of the church.

Forgiven. The sermon ended quickly.  Our pastor, a good friend, wisely refrained from eye contact of any kind until much later in the day.  Being a forgiving person, he mollified my utter mortification over the event. Of course, it was out of my control, we reasoned. But, still. Really? On Easter Sunday? Why us, Lord? Would any one ever forget the disrespectful interruption we had caused?

So much for our perfect morning! My perspective on expectations for my family changed immensely that day. In hind site, the humorous event was just what we needed to lighten up the day. When thinking through the whole incident, I realize that what I really wanted was children who loved the Lord, us and each other. To this day, those desires have not changed, and my family has not disappointed. Not only that, we still giggle as we recall this Easter morning at family gatherings!

As the mom, I am so thankful that we don't have to be perfect to receive God's favor.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

How about you? Have your expectations been shattered? What lesson has it taught you? How is your family better for the incident?

MarilynBioJPG

Easter Mini Garden

Several years ago, I stumbled upon the sweetest project while scrolling through the internets (thank you, Pinterest!). My family and I have enjoyed making an Easter Mini Garden together each Lent season since then. I have a hunch that you will LOVE this idea, so I wanted to pass it along today.

It is such a simple, but beautiful and powerful visual reminder of Christ's death for us and His resurrection from the dead!

easter mini garden hhh To give proper credit where credit is due, you can find the inspiration and instructions for the project here. Click over to see photos for instructions, too!

The Easter Mini Garden is easy and relatively inexpensive to whip up! I've seen a few different variations, but here are the basic supplies and instructions:

(It's possible you can find some/most of these items in your home or yard) shallow terra cotta potting tray terra cotta mini pot (for the tomb) little stones or pebbles grass seed (or moss!) potting soil twine or string a few small twigs (to make the crosses) one stone (to cover and then roll away from "the tomb")

1. Lay the mini pot on its side in the center the potting tray 2. Scoop soil on top of and around the sides of the pot. Pack it in to form a "hill" 3. Sprinkle grass seed all over the soil. Be generous! 4. Pour pebbles in front of the "tomb" opening 5. Use twine to tie together three crosses and then stick the crosses into the soil on the "hill" 6. Place the stone halfway in front of the "tomb" 7. Water the grass with a spray bottle each day to keep the soil moist 8. Place the Easter Mini Garden in a sunny spot in your house and watch the grass grow a bit each day! The grass might even need a trim if it grows well and quickly!

This project is such a joy. It provides yet another opportunity to chat with my child about what our Savior has lovingly done for us. We have not only enjoyed these in our own home, but at church, too! Sunday School kiddos have made them to use as centerpieces for Easter breakfast. They took them home to enjoy afterwards!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." ~John 11:25-26

Will you make an Easter Mini Garden? Or do you enjoy making another Easter project each year? Please share it with us!

God bless your Lenten season, dear friends.

RachelSignature