This morning Maddie and I had an argument about clothes (my word, does it happen this early?). She’s been begging me to pull out the summer clothes for the past four days, and I kept saying no because I still have so much laundry to do, plus the fact that it isn’t time to put away the winter ones yet as it’s only March and it will still be cold again (I don’t like this in-between time when I have to deal with clothes for both seasons with only closet and dresser space for one).
Anyway, Maddie didn’t want to wear a winter dress, so she asked if she could wear jeans instead. My answer was “no,” as I don’t really like the girls to wear jeans to church. She got mad. I got mad back. She left the room, and then Craig, who had watched the whole thing live, said, “What’s the big deal with letting her wear jeans?”
The short answer? I didn’t have one. It’s just a personal preference, probably a carry over from when rock music was “bad” and jumpers were “in” (okay, were they ever really “in”?). I started to get angry with Craig because he “took her side” (child/parent relations probably go sour because parents become kids again to make their case). At any rate, I wasn’t being particularly rational; I was just angry that I didn’t get my way and that Craig didn’t see it my way either.
I was still pretty bent on being frustrated, though, until he said this: “Look at it this way: at least she wants to come to church with us, and as long as she does, I don’t care what she wears.”
I had this instant flash-forward to the idea of a prodigal daughter with tattoos and piercings and dressed in goth – a daughter who had run away but then came home, sitting beside us in church in said garb. And I was glad for it, which suddenly made my pettiness over a pair of jeans, a red t-shirt, and pink tennis shoes seem exactly what it was: stupid.
We went to church. Five minutes after slipping into our pews (we took up two today – sometimes we don’t get there in time to all sit in one), the service transitioned to the part where we confess our sin together. Here’s what we read aloud:
Lord Jesus, you taught us that in Your kingdom, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” – but we have been rich in pride. “Blessed are those who mourn” – but we have not known much sorrow for our sin. “Blessed are the meek” – but we are rebellious by nature. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” – but we have great desire for evil and little longing for Your true goodness.
“Blessed are the merciful” – but we are harsh and impatient. “Blessed are the pure in heart” – but we have impure hearts. “Blessed are the peacemakers” – but we have not sought reconciliation.** “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” – but our lives do not challenge the world. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” – but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.
Lord, have mercy on us and forgive us all our sins. Renew us and lead us by your Holy Spirit so that we may seek first your kingdom and Your righteousness and walk joyfully in the way of Your blessing.
**It was about here that I started crying. Rich in pride? Yep. Not much sorrow over my sin? Yep. Rebellious by nature? Yep. Harsh and impatient? Yep. Impure heart? Yep. Not sought reconciliation? Yep.
We finished reading and I tapped Maddie on the shoulder and asked her to join me in the foyer; there were people there, so we kept walking until we found an empty room. It was there that, for one moment, my pride was humbled; my sin was sorrowed; my rebellion was tempered; my harsh and impatient nature was neither; my heart sought purity…and reconciliation.
10-year-olds give those things much more easily than, say, 35-year-olds do. Infinity-olds do, too, for that matter. For Maddie and for God, I am grateful.
Be gone legalistic rules that demand preference over truth. If my daughter wants to worship the Lord in jeans, so be it. Please allow her to always want to worship the Lord.