“Let the children come to me and do not hinder them; for to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” – Mark 10: 13-16
This past weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, was the semi-annual baby dedication at church. I’m pretty sure they orchestrate this event just to make me cry and start to think I want another baby. Oh wait. It’s not all about me. Plus, I’ve got my hands full with my two sweet boys so I quickly got over the ‘having another baby’ idea.
Eight babies and their proud parents lined up at the front and each one was paraded around by the minister. After a responsive reading with the parents the congregation was asked to respond and commit to welcome and love these children in our church family.
As a congregation of God’s family, it is our sacred obligation and privilege, along with these parents, to enfold these children in our affection and continuing care. We pledge to uphold them in good and guide them in truth. We pledge to forgive them in error, and protect them from all that is evil and unjust. As your church family, we covenant to love your children as Christ loves all of us, and to help them grow as children of God.
As I read that out loud with the rest of the congregation I was struck by the phrase “we pledge to forgive them in error.” I immediately thought of Addison. Parents expect a lot from their first-born and I wonder if I’m too hard on him. I get easily frustrated by his distracted state of mind and often demand that he just brush his teeth already or there won’t be any screen time after school. I often find myself getting angry with him for not following directions or making silly mistakes and as the anger is spilling out of me there is a voice inside my head saying “shut up! Don’t be the mom that is angry all the time.” Simultaniously my voice is getting louder and I’m regretting it but for some reason I can’t seem to shut up.
Recently I was supervising a group of kids on the church playground. Something happened between two little boys and one of them ended up crying and upset. I didn’t see it happen but I did see Addison in the vicinity so I immediately jumped to the conclusion that he was guilty by association. As usual, I jumped all over him and told him to have a seat while I tried to figure out what happened. I never did figure out the entire story, 1st grade eye witnesses are not exactly the most reliable source as I got about 5 completely different stories. I made the boys apologize to each other and sent them to cool down for a bit. At this age I really don’t care who started it. I’m more concerned that it (whatever the heck “it” is) not happening again. I look over and see Addison sitting where I told him to sit looking defeated. Hello, Mommy guilt. Back from your smoke break? You’re just in time to make me feel like crap. I sat down with Addison to let him know I was not mad at him and was sorry for getting upset. Looking back I feel certain that I was quickly able to forgive those boys in their error. What I’m worried about is my own boy not being able to forgive me in all of my errors. We’ve got a long road ahead of us and patience is a daily struggle.
Back to the church pew. I renewed my commitment to love and nurture the children in our church, including my own.