Winning In Purple

by - May 09, 2011

There never has been breakfast in bed on Mother's Day for me, a pastor's wife who can't think of a time when she wasn't the first one up on a Sunday morning.  Yesterday was no different.  Instead, there was the usual rush and rub of five trying to get out the door, dressed for church by 7:00 am.  

Adrian was the last to the car, after repeated honks of the horn. He emerged from the house in a crumpled, purple v-neck tee shirt, untucked from his beltless khakis -- which were dryer-fluffed, not ironed. While Mike and I looked at each other wordlessly rendering our disapproval of his apparel, Adrian began his opening argument in the case of "Parents vs. Teenager: What is appropriate attire for church," the proceedings for which lasted the entire length of our drive.

It's not always a pretty sight on Sunday mornings at our house, but the roast was in the oven, and we forged onward into Mother's Day anyway.

By sermon's end, the altar was littered with bent knees and repentant hearts. I stood with my own rent heart in the second row, attempting to absorb the heaviness of the "Glory Life" sermon that was spilling through the conviction.  The sermon didn't celebrate mothers as much as it did life-surrender of biblical proportions that is unrecognizable to me. My daughters were among the bent. My pastor-husband knelt over the first row of chairs, a makeshift altar of his own, because at sermon's end, he's a sheep even though also the shepherd. He is soon joined by our son, who puts his own bowed head close to his dad's. He whispers spirit-somethings into his father's, and his Father's, ear.

I stand, overflowing now, while my family kneels before their Maker to reckon with their God.

Faith is a fight, and God is a heavyweight who aims to win. And in the winning, this mother receives her Day's gift: a family on their knees, fighting the good fight to surrender.

A tearful Noelle finds me with her head on my shoulder, arms around me, clinging tight,as if looking for an anchor, and offers, "Happy Mother's Day. I love you." Her heart, fragile from His swift wounding and swifter mending, beats so near to mine, in tandem again, even if just for this moment.

Adrian proudly displays his freshly cleansed white flag on Facebook:

Today, Adrian Michael Gonzalez no longer lives. Reports say he murdered his selfish desires and buried his flesh. He has taken on the identity of a man named Jesus Christ and is now living the way He would.

As we climb back in the car, I remember our earlier discussion of and embarrassment by Adrian's clothes today. The less than perfect purple tee shirt is now a reminder to me that we are forgiven, loved, and wear Christ's royalty. It may not have been appropriate for a Sunday morning, but looks can be deceiving.

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  1. Sweet post.

    Accepting my teen's less than perfect appearance has been liberating for him and for me. I love seeing how the people at my church accept him for who he is, and just love him. Seeing him through their eyes has been revelatory for me.

  2. I was touched by your post. What a meaningful Sunday service, tears, hugs, a family bent on knees praying together, a son loving Jesus... a wonderful Mothers day, but a beautiful day anytime.(Found you at Michelle's place).

  3. Wow! Loved your post! To see your children praying sounds like the absolute best Mother's Day gift of all.

  4. Oh wow, this is so powerful, Dawn. And so well-written -- I was with you all, on bended knees at the altar. Thank you for taking me there.

  5. Can a better gift be given? But the eyes to see my dear Dawn is also the key. If we are not present to see and receive we miss so much. . . So grateful your eyes are wide open to what God is doing! Praise Jesus that these kids are surrendering! Though I will still wrestle with the Teen vs parent debate on "appropriate attire for church"! Love you and this post. . .

  6. No greater joy! I loved Adrian's new post!

  7. Bless Adrian's heart and may he become a man after God's own heart. Once he puts on God's armor, Adrian's clothes won't be visible anyway.
    Grandmother was a pastor's wife and so often the worry was "what might members of the congregation think..." and, really, when looked at with God's eyes, it didn't matter at all.


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