Many of us have VBS memories, from past years at St. John’s, or maybe from our own childhood church. Or maybe its your family’s first experience with VBS and you’re excited to see what its about! Today is the day we’ve been gearing the kids up for for weeks, and expectations are high. They are going to have THE BEST TIME, and you are going to get the house clean, or get a relaxing pedicure (guys get pedis too!) , or something awesome to celebrate your morning sans kids.
Maybe you motivated them to brush their teeth last night with the reminder of the special day ahead. You laid out their clothes and packed their bag. You set your alarm extra early so no one would be rushed. You went to bed with glowing anticipation of the morning.
But what happens when your kid is too excited to sleep, and ends up in a pile on the couch with dad? Or when your well intentioned alarm goes off and you hit snooze (three times)? Or when your sleep deprived child gets banana all over her crisp yellow shirt before you even leave the house (and puts the banana peel between the cushions in the couch).
Next thing you know, you’re hollering like a mad woman at the whole family, “YOU GUYS OVERSLEPT! We’re going to be late!!!” Shoes are flying, your head is pounding, kids are whining, and your sweet VBS family has fallen into a sweaty bunch of half dressed, hungry and tired grumps.
Or maybe your morning went exactly as planned like mine did (wink).
When our expectations don’t align with our realities, its easy to fall into the blame game. We blame others: my kids don’t listen, my spouse doesn’t help out enough, Grandma kept them up too late. Or, we blame our circumstances: VBS is too early, my kid has a touch of a cold, we’re overscheduled. Or we question our own worth and credibility: my kids would behave if I was a better parent, I’m not organized enough, they’re going to remember me as the mom that nags and hollers.
Stop. I’m going to share with you the VBS message your children are hearing today, and just maybe YOU could soak it in too? Its okay, I promise I won’t make you memorize verses or give up your snooze button. (Although both are worthy pursuits.)
God sent rain for 40 days to flood the earth, but He protected Noah because God saw that his heart was good.
God knows you. He knows your heart. He know when you’re jealous, angry, and resentful. He knows how intensely you love your kids, He knows how desperately you want to succeed at this parent thing. He knows sometimes we just feel like scared children ourselves.
God knows us- He forgives us and He loves us. Instead of the blame game, instead of covering ourselves in the dirt of shame, when our plans don’t go as we expect, we can look to a God that sends olive branches and rainbows to our uncertain hearts. We can look to a God who sent His son so that we can be His children. We can rest in the knowledge that our kids are making their own VBS memories that will shape and mold them into the people God wants them to be- banana covered shirts, mismatched shoes, bags under their eyes and all.
Because God uses flawed folks like you and me, he shines us up with his grace, and he calls us to live this life of sticky hands and tired bodies; a life built of hope and fears and whispers and hollers. He looks at us, with our frazzled emotions, messy houses, and grumpy moods, and He says “I love you kiddo- take all the time you need.”