|Photo Credit: bosela from morgueFile.com|
I always try to avert any clothes drama on Sunday mornings before church by setting out my children’s clothes the night before. Since we haven’t mastered the “getting there early” thing, we at least aim for “on time.” And, most of the time setting the clothes out prevents major wardrobe issues, so we can get there by 9:00 am.
Not this time.
It was 8:30am and all three of my kids simultaneously decided that the clothes they had on were too tight, too loose, too scratchy, too soft, too long, too short…you get the picture. Tears and clothes were flying through the air and onto the floor. You’ve got to be kidding me?!
Trying to dig down DEEEEP (it WAS in fact, Sunday…) and calling to mind all of the things I’ve been learning in our “Unglued” bible study did help. But, if I heard another whiny sentence that began with, “I don’t like what I have on. These clothes are TOO….” I was going to seriously overreact over this dreadful duds drama.
Breathe in. Breathe out. My husband and I rounded them up in silence. They were not allowed to utter a word about clothes or any adjective concerning clothes on the way to church.
Interestingly enough, here is the eye-opening gospel that we heard from Matthew 6:24-34 on Sunday morning:
“You cannot serve two masters – God and money. For you will hate one and love the other, or else the other way around. So my counsel is: Don’t worry about things – food, drink, and clothes. For you are far more important than what to eat and what to wear. Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat – they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food – for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?"
“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the field lilies! They don’t worry about theirs. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you, O men of little faith?”
"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."
This gospel made all three of my children glance my way on multiple occasions. They knew we had a rough wardrobe morning and they also knew that God was talking directly to us that day. They felt it. I felt it.
What I love the most about all of this is the fact that this particular situation reinforced for us just why we need our church home…a special place to go each week to get lined out. Many times (if not all the time), we hear exactly what we need to hear for that week. I have gone to Mass countless times and have walked away with the exact message that I needed to hear during that season of my life, that week of my life, that day of my life…that moment of my life. Now, my children got to experience it too. The smirks on their faces were priceless. They knew.
I know that many friends who were there on Sunday came away with a fresh outlook too. One of the young ladies I saw there even posted on facebook, “Today I went into church with so many worries and troubles on my mind, thinking an hour spent with God would make it all better. I was right! Mass was amazing and really hit home. God is great.”
As moms we have perpetual to-do lists and items that we worry about on that list, don’t we? We have concerns about health, our children’s education, financial burdens, parenting, family issues, job situations, etc. We’re good at making lists. We have oodles of calendars in several formats, organizers of all shapes and sizes, and phones with apps for this, that, and the other. Many times our lists can be so overwhelming that we are constantly wondering where we should even start. What should we do first? What to do…what to do…
I think that a great place to start would be to ask God, “What do YOU think I should do?” This has certainly changed the way I approach decision-making. If we seek Him first, I truly feel that the rest of the puzzle pieces will gradually find their place.
As we come upon this Lenten Season, I am reminded of ways to seek Him first. One way is through Prayer. Sprinkling prayers throughout our day can strengthen our friendship with God and our knowledge of Him. Another means is Almsgiving. How can we serve and give during this Lent? What things can we do to open our hearts to seeing the needs of those around us? A third approach is Fasting. Fasting applies to food, yes, but also to anything that we often enjoy. Being able to forgo something that we really want can help us to better focus on the Lord. Finally, there is Stewardship. How can we share our gifts with others this Lenten Season?
One of the best ways to put the Lord at the top of our list is to seek His will in our life. Matthew Kelly shares some great thoughts on this that I find to be so true. When we are doing what we believe to be the will of God, that alone is enough to satisfy us and fill us with joy. When we are not, all the pleasures and possessions of the world are never enough.
If you don’t already have a church home, I encourage you to find one this Lent. It will be a beautiful step toward putting the Lord first. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I am so much more aware of and grateful for God’s handiwork in my day to day life when I remember to seek Him first.