I welcomed her into my home and along with it came screaming children who just couldn’t seem to get along. They were at each other’s throat which meant much of my energy was spent correcting my children, embarrassed as I was, while company sat on my couch watching the wrecking ball of sinful children flurry through the room.
Certain that she would never come back after what I thought was a chaotic and fractured time, I was absolutely humbled and surprised when her parting words were, “Thank you for being an example of Christian motherhood and for making the training of your kids more important that adult time.”
To be honest, I was taken aback and I didn’t know exactly how to take it. She saw this and assured me that it was a genuine compliment. I still didn’t know what to say. In my mind, I had been horrible company for her and an even worse hostess.
Later that I day I read the following Bible verse and God made it clearer to me what she was conveying, despite my own feelings of failure.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” — Ephesians 5:1-2
My own thoughts about how I felt I was treating my guest was overshadowed by the fact that she saw something different.
She saw that I was investing in the raising of my kids, by addressing the sinfulness of their hearts and not ignoring their behavior. I wasn’t making excuses for them and instead of sitting with her while my kids ran wild and did what they wanted, I went each time to walk through our discipline process. This takes time.
Rather than seeing this as a hindrance she saw it as an example.
God uses the everyday turmoils of family life to exude His gospel and to further His Kingdom.
She saw me reaching my kids’ hearts with the gospel. She saw the struggle with sin and the lack of repentance. With continued, albeit exhaustive, cycles of discipline she then saw my kids seek forgiveness and a change in their playing habits for the final moments of our time together that morning.
Being imitators of God and walking in love is not only a fragrant offering to God but also to those who witness you doing so.
Therefore, the next time you’re a hot mess in front of company, embrace it. Not in a haughty, prideful, I’ll-show-them-how-to-do-this-parenting-thing kind of way, but in a humble, Lord-help-me-not-tear-out-my-hair kind of way.
Humility and perseverance in how we handle situations that can potentially cause us embarrassment often returns with praise to God.
Allow God to use your, or your kids’, mess to bring another person to a moment of teachability for His glory and everyone’s good. It’s always surprising what God does with our messes when we’re not looking!