OK, here’s part of the reason why I don’t blog more.  I always feel like it’s been SO long since I blogged, that I have to include an update on everyone in the family and everything that’s happened.  Or I feel like I need to crank out some really deep thoughts, like a manifesto on my parenting philosophies  or a really good embarrassing story or some heartwarming vignette of my little angels.

But I need to just get over myself!  I think of blog posts all the time, but never get around to writing them, b/c I over analyze everything.  I have a very long post all written and saved in my drafts, but I can’t bring myself to actually publish it, b/c it’s about how HARD this summer was, and how low I felt.  People–it was rough.  But I think that needs a little editing before I want to share that with the world.  When I do, however, it could possibly be sold in mass-quantities as its own form of birth control.  Consider yourself warned.

All of that to say: sometimes I have a quick word and it doesn’t come with a ton of pictures, and it might not be very deep, or embarrassing or funny, but I’m going to write it down and post it! So there. I’m determined to write more.  Here’s one story:

Over labor day weekend we attend a Christian camp on the coast for families.  You bring your crew, you spend 90 minutes in the am and 90 minutes in the pm at sessions–one for all the adults, and several for the kids in their age groups. Then the rest of the time you play! The speakers for the grown-ups are usually geared towards family/marriage topics.  Good stuff.

During one of the sessions, the speaker was starting a thought and he said “You need to think long and hard about how you present your family….”  And I immediately and reflexively finished that thought in my head.  I almost said out loud, “….to the world.”  But he said “You need to think long and hard about how you present your family….to the LORD.”

Oh. My. Gosh.  My jaw dropped, kind of in horror, to be honest with you.  What is wrong with me that my FIRST THOUGHT was about how my family is viewed by OTHERS?!  NOT how our heavenly Father sees us and whether or not we are pleasing Him.  It was a major owie moment for me, and the rest of the message was kind of lost as I sat in that sad truth for a bit and tried to make sense of it.  And justify it?  Probably a little.  But mostly to change it.

When I think of “presenting” my family, I think of the image I want to portray.  The pictures I post on instagram. The impression we make when we are walking into the school building to drop off the first grader.  The opinion people will have when they see us at costco.  Whether my daughter’s hair is combed, whether my son’s a good reader, whether or not I can keep the littlest one from bolting into traffic, if maybe all three could (pretty please) be meltdown free while we are public?  I think of the awesome family pictures we just took, and how they are so beautiful, but they only “present” one shiny side of us, not the gritty crap that we try to keep within the walls of our messy home.  THIS is what I worry about far too often.  THIS is a standard I try to live up to and of which we continually fall short.

“We are posed and color coordinated!  We never hit or fight or write on walls!  We memorize Scripture by the chapter!”

But after that smack in the face (and, ironically, the speaker probably didn’t even INTEND for it to be a big point, it’s just that my whacked out sense of priorities caused it to be so), got me thinking about the real presentation.  The only presentation THAT MATTERS AT ALL.  At the end of the day, how has my parenting reflected the love of Christ?  How have Trent and I modeled a godly marriage?  What actual principles are we teaching–directly and indirectly–about living a life that PLEASES GOD?  What is our family doing to serve others, to bless out of our blessings?  What spiritual growth have any of us experienced? And perhaps most importantly, what do I need to do to keep THESE questions at the forefront of my mind, and not what some soccer mom thinks of me at carpool pick up?

I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, but I think I’ve found some peace in the realization that answers are overrated.  It’s asking the right questions that makes everything start to fall into place.  Then I can focus on presenting myself–gritty crap and all–to the only One whose opinion I need to care about.