Here I am up late on a Sunday night with all the rest of the family asleep (for now), and it’s been a tough day. Our experience of church this morning wasn’t easy—which is not easy with my vicar’s wife hat on, definitely not easy with my own vicar’s hat on, and simply painful as a special-needs parent.
Let’s just say that sometimes our behavior doesn’t exactly conform to people’s expectations, and for someone this morning my littlest lying down on the chairs in the last song was the last straw and a loud “Can’t you just sit up, behave yourself?!” could be heard from the row behind. Needless to say it has been a day of reflecting, wrestling with big feelings, and letting go.
The thing is, with family you take the rough with the smooth. There are bad moments and there are amazing ones. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a minute suggesting becoming a doormat to other’s expectations or judgments and there are definitely times to challenge. But right now, late on Sunday evening, what is good for me is to dwell on the smooth, the amazing, the miraculous thing that is the family of God among whom God has placed us as a little family.
So I’m remembering with thankfulness the team of people who brought lunch to the vicarage (child friendly too) the day we moved in. And the team who had made a note of the weather forecast and ordered in some protective plastic film for the hallway carpets in readiness of wet muddy feet bringing boxes and furniture in. I’m thinking of the volunteers who stayed and quietly and unobtrusively helped unpack the study books giving me space and time to work out bedroom lay outs with my teens, and the organizer of these wonderful teams offering to take our youngest for ice cream in the afternoon – and our youngest feeling at home enough to want to! (I told you, miraculous)
I’m also remembering and taking deeply to heart the people who have over the years taken the time to get to know us as a family just as we are without judgement. Who have come in and joined in with our crazy, unique family pattern of life and have supported and befriended us as we parent. For example one wonderful woman came to our house at tea times, then tea times and bedtimes, and then stayed over so she was there at breakfast—all so she would be familiar with our routines and the kids familiar with her. She had found out that Andrew & I hadn’t had a night away from the children together since they were born, and as soon as the kids were comfortable around her and we felt comfortable leaving them together for a night, we had a mini holiday and got rest, real rest for the first time in years. There are others who more recently have gotten to know the kids slowly and on their terms who come around and spend time with them or take them out giving us some space when needed. There are people who just seem to understand, who we know will be praying, who we know we can off load to when it’s been a tough day and laugh with when we want to celebrate a success. Being part of the family of God is a gift and a blessing.
I wouldn’t want to ever have to be isolated from it. I need the church family. They remind me I’m not meant to do life all on my own, they hold us through tough times, pray with us and share our joys. But every family has its moments, and today I am sitting here taking the rough with the smooth and choosing to be thankful. I am choosing to accept the gift that is being part of God’s family.