“The Not So Perfect Family:  The Backstory Revealed”

Our family brought up the gifts at church on Sunday……Sounds good – right?  Well here’s the backstory…….  We made it to church with not too many arguments (there are always some with all the personalities in our clan).  We pour out of our not so subtle, 12 passenger van…..4 teenage girls and 1 preteen boy, and me the beleaguered Mother, who walks in trying to not look as completely defeated and exhausted as I feel (Dad went to park the van).  3 kids split to go to the bathroom and we head in, before we can slip past the ushers and scramble to our seats, I am stopped….”Would you be able to bring the gifts up today?”….I pause, terror flies through me, as I mentally assess how inappropriately dressed we all are for church that day and the “looks” that I am going to get from my children if we do this.  “We aren’t dressed for this….We don’t look right.”……..is all I can think….Then I hear myself saying with a smile….”Sure”.  I hurry up the aisle to the front row and slide into the seat.  (We have sat up front since the kids were little, because my husband decided they pay better attention when they can see….He has a point, but if they can see, they are also seen by everyone…good, bad, and ugly……but we are here – right?)  The kids join me and I let them know that we are bringing up the gifts……as expected the “looks” appear and the pleading to not have to, all comes flooding out.  I look at the holes in the jeans, the sweatshirts and so on……I realize that we are here and we are “real”.  We are not perfect (far from it), we struggle, we argue, we are unkind one moment and thoughtful another, and then angry the next.  We don’t always get along and the kids don’t always want to come to church, but we are here!  The service progresses, with the normal “reminders” (glares from Mom and Dad) to follow along and to “sing” and generally participate.  The time comes for us to bring up the gifts and our “not so subtle” family spills out of the pew (remarkably quietly 🙂 and heads to the back of the church.  The urgent whispers from some that they will not hold the basket with someone else or they do not want to hold the wine, flood my ears and my thoughts.  We convene and the ushers hand us the precious gifts.  I breathe and look at my not so perfect family, their ripped jeans, sweatshirts, slides and teenage attitudes and hope that others can draw solace from our “realness”.  We made it up the center aisle to the front and back into our seats without incident (that I saw anyway 🙂  I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.  We make it through the rest of the service with surprisingly minimal issues.  We were there, just barely, but we were there and I have to believe that God used us in all of our imperfections.  So you see there is always a backstory to every image, article, story, post or perception.  Next time any of us see the “perfect” family, at church, school, a restaurant, online etc, remember that there is always a backstory, which is most often the “better” story and without a doubt the more “real” story.  Share your “backstory”, your “real story”, with someone today.  We need to know that we are not alone in this journey! (JRBarnes www.jborganizing.com )


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