Monday, April 18, 2011

Gotta Love Her

I love this girl.







made her own



the 8 and 9

year olds were

having a spa day in my living room

for her sister's birthday slumber party.

Guess she decided to do

some mud treatments.

So imagine

my feeling walking into church

yesterday morning with this child

to see that we were having communion.

Somehow I missed the memo.

Lately I miss alot at church.

I like to prepare myself and my kids for communion . . .

before we get to church.

Especially this one

so she gets a tiny glimpse of the significance . . .

But she is silly and fun

in one moment

and impatient and determined in the the next.

So, she let me know as I am trying to whisper about

Jesus' death on the cross

for her sins and mine


"This is boring!"


"Your breath stinks!"

And I tell her to "Sit here with me."

And she says, "I'm going to the play room" and walks off,

while my friends and family sit behind me,

and it feels like they are watching

(even if they are not, but how could you not watch this spectacle)

as our pastor is leading this most

precious moment of rememberance.

And I am not thinking about the precious body and blood of my Savior

given and shed for me

even though I want to.

But for some reason . . .

it is hard to focus on it

with a girl who likes to stick her tongue out and make cross-eyed faces

for the fun of it.

As my mind is being pummeled in the pew

with thoughts of

"Can't you get it together?"

"Why don't you do a better job of teaching your child proper respect
of the Lord and others before you come to church?"

"If you had the proper perspective of the way to reverence
the Lord, perhaps you would teach your children better."

"Why do you even come to church? 
It's just a waste of time and a disturbance to those around you
when you can't control your child and teach her proper behavior."





These are the thoughts going through my head at church
. . . these horrible parenting thoughts . . .
these thoughts of
"You can't control her in the church pew,
what is she going to be like in 10 years?

This is all going on in my head
I am sitting there trying to prepare myself and family for communion.

And the trays come around
and she searches for the biggest piece of Wheat Thin.
And then the cups come
and I give to the other children in my row,
take one for myself
and he walks away
she is whiny-whispering, left-out faced, saying,
I tell her,
"You can have mine."
She goes to eat her cracker
and I say, "Wait! We have to wait for pastor and everyone else."
We eat the cracker, to remember the body of Christ.
The church is so quiet
that the crunching of every cracker can be heard.
Which only reminds me how
easily heard our whispering back and forth probably is.
We hold on to the cup that, if spilled,
will stain the carpet of our church.
So I am holding a cup with a four-year-old that is testing me,
thinking Dr. James Dobson has a book for me,
wondering if he knows how to wash grape juice out of the church carpet.

Breifly . . . back of my mind . . . thoughts
Stain . . .
 grape-stains . . .  blood stains
Wash . . .
washed in the blood . . .
cleaned . . .

We drink the cup.
She says, "Can I have it?"
I say, "No. I'll hold it."
She says, "I want it."
My son gives her his.
She does exactly what I expect:
sticks her tongue in the cup and rolls it around inside
getting the last drops of grape juice
making a little slurpy sound as she does it.
Then I think,
"This is exactly why some churches don't allow children to take communion.
Am I defiling this most holy tradition?"


in that moment at church,
the answer was
That afternoon, I could laugh.
Today I can laugh.

At church I am thinking,
"What is the point,
I should just take
my child and myself home
and have my own communion at home
because this is completely a
battle for control played out in front of half the church
and I am losing it."

I am sitting there in the pew
and start
thinking about these pictures
that I took of my girl in the mud.
This vibrant,
kind of girl
that I love so much.
And wondering . . .
how do I do this, Lord?
What do you want me to do
here in this moment
that is so full of reverence and holiness and meaning
yet feels so messy and chaotic and sloppy and frustrating.
Childlike faith.
Climb up in His lap kind of faith.
Faith in a Man who gave his life.
For the frustrated.
For the sloppy.
For the chaotic.
For the messy.
For the broken.
For the one who can't keep it together in the church pew.
For the one whose mascara and nose are both running.
For the heart that hides insecurities.
For the heart that tries to push back fears.
For the one that feels condemnation.
For the one that cannot keep all the rules.
For the one that feels like a failure several times a day.
For the heart that says at last . . .
"I can't do this .
But here I am, Lord.
I need you.
In the big stuff
and in the every-Sunday-battle
in the pew
of a little country church
and the battles
of a little house
in day-to-day life."

And I am reminded that
life is not about painting a perfect picture
even in church where it feels so pressured to do so.
And perhaps my daughter will learn of Him
through this time of remembering.
And perhaps she will teach me that I am not a perfect and proper parent
who does not need a Savior,
but rather that I am imperfect and improper
and desperately needing my Savior.
And that I am never
in my own strength and performance
But He is.
And He makes up where I lack.
And He went to the cross for all of me.
And I know that I need it . . . need what He did.
And I receive the gift
of being enough


Palm Sunday.

He enters Jerusalem on a donkey.

Wednesday, I will share the Easter story
of Jesus . . . his death and his resurrection
with preschoolers with Resurrection Eggs.
It will be messy,
chocolate stained chins,
chaotic, questions, and poking back and forth,
wiggles and squirmy kids
while I tell them about Jesus.
It will be imperfect.
And it will be a seed
planted in their heart
and mine
that He died and now lives
to wash away our stains
that are far deeper than
the chocolate eggs on our faces.
Clean us and give us new lives
to live
His grace.

Linking up with these great women of faith
Read their stories here:
Finding Heaven


  1. One of my greatest struggles has been having my children in church. People put expectations on you and then you place them on your children...and they're unrealistic...and usually unfair. I've found that my frustration has come from worrying about what everyone else is thinking and not so much from caring about what God's heart is. I realize that Jesus told the disciples to allow the children to come to Him. They wanted to send them away...but not Jesus. He showed love, patience, and long-suffering with the behaviors of children. I'm more and more coming to realize that children need time to learn...and all those perfect born people who never had to go through the learning process really need a reality check.

    Your daughter is beautiful and God is using her to show Himself to you in a deeper way. I am thankful for the gift of my children. I'm on a journey of learning daily...and sometimes I do things wrong, but He forgives and gets me going again.

    God's just good like that!

  2. I am touched by your post. Many mothers have felt just as you do, but keep their thoughts locked in their heart. By sharing your thoughts and your child's innocence--somehow God sees the whole picture and approves. We do strive for perfection, but all too often find it escaping us. Then we know who to go to--the only perfect One, Jesus who died for us that we might live.

  3. We are perfectly imperfect. I love this. You described any one of my days.

  4. Thanks for sharing what we all as mothers have gone through or are going through. How it brought back memories of when my girls were younger. The attack on our minds may always be there, but HE is the only one that matters. Your openness in sharing will be a revealing time to many who read this blog. To find that they are not alone in the thoughts and feeling that they have. Again, Jodi, thanks for being real.

  5. oh, my sweet...we have all been there!
    you know how highly god regards children, they can always teach us a thing or two...
    love you jodi...

  6. Thank you so much for all of these kind and encouraging words . . . my Mom reminded me of Mark 10:13-16. "Let the little children come to me..." And oh, how much I understand it, I get it, as a mom and especially as a mom of a strong-willed child.

    I am reading today in Mark 10:46-52 in prep for an art piece I am creating on request. It's about Jesus healing blind Bartemaus. The people kept telling him to "be quiet!", but he kept crying out to Jesus. And Jesus stood still. He heard him, gave him sight, and said "your faith has made you well." How dignified and quiet I try to be, but it is the one who left their dignity, their pride behind, and cried out, threw off the garment and came to Him as they were in faith . . . that received sight. What a lesson to me. I am continually amazed at how we (I) put such importance on "social acceptance and behavior", when it was the socially unacceptable that He healed, served, gave sight, died and lived for. That's a relief because I fail in so many ways...some visible and some hidden. I am thankful for His grace.

  7. I appreciate your honesty in this post...and am also so thankful for the Grace that covers everything from our darkest sins to our distracted minds. :o)

    Resurrection eggs are great - I have been using them with my niece this past week, and I was so impressed with how much she retained from the story several days after the first time I went through it with her. Even in the middle of all the squirmy-ness, they do absorb more than we think sometimes! :o)

    God bless...

  8. Just this Sunday - I was so focused on teaching my children "how to behave in church." And as my daughter soaked her communion wafer in the wine...and I mean soaked...and as the chalice bearer gave me that sly glance to side like "didn't you teach her how to do this?" and I felt embarrassed and ashamed. And, then, I stop, and think, well, I need just as much blood to cover my sins. I want to be fully dipped, fully cleansed, too. I just don't have the guts to dip all the way in.

    Will you link up with this tonight or tomorrow? I know there are lots of mommies that would be blessed.

  9. I was visiting a church in England once, where the pastor had a real heart for kids. Children were not allowed to take communion until they were 12. But each child could come forward and instead of receiving communion, the pastor put a smartie (like and m and m) in their mouths, put his had on their head and prayed a little blessing over them. His heart for children reflected Jesus' heart for children ... even muddy squirming ones :).


  10. She is precious. Her spirit radiates through the pictures (mud and all!).

  11. Oh, yes I remember all too well these days when my children were teens, and I still have these moments! Different Issues, but non-the-less, the root of it is all is the same! Thank you Jesus that your grace is greater than all our sins...always and forever!

  12. I looked at all the pictures of your sweet daughter. This child, with all her sparkling personality, will do great things for God. You can see determination in her eyes. This post touched my heart. I love how you celebrate her. Great mothering.


  13. What a joy this post is! Your daughter is a beautiful blessing.

  14. i don't know where to laugh or cry. both. she is stinkin adorable with a big A...and this is real life.... so messy and chaotic and sloppy and frustrating...and sometimes you just gotta play in the mud and cross your eyes yes? I'm sure MANY momma's could SO relate with your words:)

  15. what a wonderful post (and such lovely pictures of your adorable daughter)! when my daughter was 3 years old, she was a challenge to bring to church. one time, as she walked from my pew to where my brother was sitting, the priest said, in the middle of the mass, "hold that kid!" my daughter later said, "i don't think he knows me", as if it was his fault.
    today she is a lovely 21 year old who serves in "Christ's Youth in Action," evangelizing university students like herself. God is good! and yes, i did read dobson's "the strong willed child" and a host of other books!

  16. I love you Jodi! This was just want I needed are an amazing writer, friend, AND mom. Have a very Spirit filled Easter. I am so thankful for our Savior.

  17. PS Google wasn't working so the above post was from me....(Boedee)

  18. “...let the little children come to me.” ~jesus

    i have 2 little ones too, jodi, and your little one here is almost a mirror image of my littlest cody. there is no use trying to contain him, especially not at a 'traditional' church, which is one of the reasons we go to ours :) (traditional in the best of ways, could care less about 'proper and grape juice stains' :)

    you are a wonderful mama. i think jesus enjoys your little one and laughs a huge belly laugh enjoying her. and i know He enjoys you too. we have so much to learn about being ourselves from our children, about really giving a rats behind whether or not we are proper or improper. instead, learning to lick up that sweet, syrupy juice, learning to enjoy who we are...and mud. yes, mud.



Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.