For years I’ve heard my mother-in-law say: “I don’t function well in the morning.” I never probed, just assumed that meant it’s not her best time of day. Then on Easter Sunday when I awoke, my mind completely short-circuited – I’m talking a TOTAL MALFUNCTION. If this is what she’s talking about – MY POOR MOTHER-IN-LAW! It was paralyzing!
I’m going to over share here for a minute. I have been 6 different sizes over the ten years of being a mom. For you male readers – every size represents 10 pounds. So at my very grandest – I was 60 pounds heavier than my very slimmest. I’m only 5’5, people. OUCH! Right? When I got pregnant with Christian I thought “AWESOME! I’ve got an excuse to eat whatever I want now that I must eat for two.” And it was awesome, until I delivered my 9-pound baby and still had 41 pounds to lose. I never did that again, but 5 pregnancies up and 5 pregnancies down, I have a cheering section and a heckling section in my closet. I face both each morning.
As Easter approached I had two outfits I was considering. One was a little too big (PRAISE GOD!) and one was a little too snug (UGH!). Native Texan women always look great. I’m a Yankee woman who typically looks like I feel. I felt doomed.
I obsess about the kids’ outfits because I have a “Kodak Moment” disorder. So the kids’ outfits were all laid out perfectly. Our Easter morning picture tradition: Troy kindly distracts the children and snaps dozens of pictures of the “Fab 5” while I get ready. But there I was in my closet…SO out of sorts with spirits down and it was time to face the music (or in my case, the closet).
Troy didn’t know what to do with me. He started our little egg hunt without me and I totally understood. I was a blob of uselessness. I briefly caught a glimpse of Dominick enthusiastically filling his basket in our back yard as I peered down from the deck. I simultaneously had my heart warmed and felt like a Mommy Easter Morning Sham. I was so distracted I was missing it!
I yelled, I got anxious, at least one kid cried. Nate’s socks didn’t match, Dominick picked the wrong hole in his belt (which begged the questions “Will those pants stay up? Is he wearing Easter Sunday worthy underwear? Is that even a thing?”) Grace sat down on the dirty garage floor. I was convinced she ruined her dress and her shoes wouldn’t slip on. Christian looked so grown up it took my breath away. Andrew couldn’t have looked cuter in his little hand-me-down navy blue blazer that all 3 older brothers once sported. I was all over the place emotionally.
I walked into my closet and decided I was going for it. I put on the snug dress – thanked God for Spanks and just kept putting one foot in front of the other in my discombobulated haze.
I apologized to Troy on the ride to Mount Olive. He was so kind, but completely puzzled about what in the world had happened to me. I thought of the song by Christian artist Jason Gray, “Remind Me Of Who I Am”, and kept repeating the lyric, “Tell me, once again, who I am to You, who I am to You.”
We arrived and the parking lot was packed. It was Easter Sunday – OF COURSE it was packed – which was no surprise to people with functioning brains, but I yelped, “Oh no!”
We might have looked put together, but my head felt like it had been through a paper shredder. I thought of Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” He knew exactly what was going on.
We hustled in and our family of seven’s only seating option turned out to be the front row. Again my battered head squealed, “Oh no! Not the front row! Anything but the front row.” We took our seats and immediately felt the pity being transmitted telepathically across the sanctuary from the women in the choir. And then the show began – the kids were in rare form. My expression ranged from eyes welling with tears of joy that my Savior Jesus had risen, to head-hanging humility of failure to corral my children in an Easter Sunday appropriate manner.
But God had answered my prayer. I am broken – unbelievably broken. But I am His child that He wanted seated right up front- just as I am. Whatever size, whatever dress, whatever crisis – however silly. He orchestrated my morning to not only remind me who I am to Him, but perhaps to others as well. He put us on display to illustrate what He can do with broken people that turn to Him. He can take a brain that’s malfunctioning and make it focus in awe of His resurrection. He can transform the heckling sections of our lives into a choir unanimously pulling for us. He can be glad that families like ours KNOW how much we need to worship Him every Sunday and He’ll always provide us front row seats. I am His child. I am inexpressibly grateful that He loves me and our mischievous children and my patient husband. I am broken, but more importantly, I am BELOVED. He will use that to His glory and He’ll do the same for you. You just have to show up – He’ll do the rest.
Here are the lyrics to Jason Gray’s Remind Me of Who I Am