Tonight my son was working on homework (yes, on a Saturday) and my husband read it out loud. I can’t recall it verbatim but I distinctly recall the paragraph boasting about “hiking and doing cool things with my dad … oh and my mom works for our church, and she makes quilts.”
I don’t know why I got sad when he read that. Because it’s all true. Dad takes the boy on really cool outings, as it should be with a dad and his boy. Mom … well, she works for our church and she makes quilts.
So what’s the problem?
Well, apparently I’m the church lady.
When did that happen? I don’t feel like the church lady. Sometimes I don’t even act like the church lady.
I am officially the girl who doesn’t have fun at clubs or bars. I don’t really want to get roaring drunk. I don’t want to constantly be complaining about things in my life.
This whole thing really baffles me. Because I love Jesus and I still struggle with cussing and laziness and greed. See, I’m not the church lady … or am I? Now that I take an inventory I notice that I am more comfortable living a life similar to the one that Jesus tells us to live than I am saying “oh well – we are all bleeping sinners!” And I have no idea when I crossed that line!
When I get stressed, over-tired, or hit my shins on bed rails I struggle with the F-bomb (I know, the LEAST church-lady-like word of them all!), I struggle with anger, and I struggle with not thinking the best of people. I struggle with thanking God for my blessings – like the boy toilet that I would never use, for example. And this is real. This is me. Just as much as the church lady is me.
Yet, I am at a place where I can SEE my worldly self and not feel so great about who she is. Before? Before I just didn’t care. I actually called a friend a Bible-thumper several years ago, and she prayed for my salvation anyway because she “got it” and I didn’t. She was on the other side of the line, the same side on which I now find comfort. I now pray/say things like:
- “God help me love her like you do.”
- “OH MY GOSH I’m gonna blow a gasket and I NEED you, Father.”
- “Dude, I can’t do this on my own – shower me with your wisdom!” (yes, I say dude in my prayers – perhaps that’s another line I need to cross at some point?)
Do I have bad days? Um, you can ask my “church lady” coworkers, my sisters, my husband, and my crafty friends … they will say YES!
Am I willing to give up certain behaviors to live more like Jesus? … well … yeah, I am. Some of them I keep picking back up, but I’m making progress. I need Jesus and His forgiveness just as much as the next Jo… Ann.
So what’s on the other side of the line? Growth.
And that’s not a bad thing. I’m not claiming perfection and touting that I’m batting 1.000 is simply not true. I’m still human and I will still make mistakes. And will still hit my shins on bed rails.
How many lines are there to cross? This side of heaven? An infinite number.
What if you slide back down the hill a little? Dude, that’s what your people are for! If you don’t have people, find some. Get in a group at your church, get to know your neighbors, meet other moms at school — find people. We will ALL slide back down a little, thus the beauty of the word grace.
It’s a pretty big deal for this sinner to be called a church lady by her own son who sees the worst of the worst. Even he can see that I’ve crossed some lines. I’m still weirded out a little that I’m the church lady, but I’m celebrating progress. I don’t know if you’ve been burned by church before but I will tell you this: churches are being run by broken people who are going to make sinful mistakes. Accountability is a must so I urge you to find a church that keeps things real. That’s where growth happens, in transparent places.
Bless your hearts,
The Church Lady