Sometimes a little self realization can go a long way, especially as a parent!
This morning, my 3 year old was, I'll just be honest, driving me absolutely bonkers. That's the nicest way I can put it!
If I said to do something, she did the opposite. She's a feisty little red headed toddler and she keeps us on our toes to say that very least.
In the heat of the moment, I said something that I now realize I shouldn't have said. When the time outs and the toys taken away didn't work, I said to her, "If you don't stop you're not going to be able to go to church!"
It came out of me so fast and I knew I didn't mean it but secretly, I also knew that it would work. She LOVES going to church. She has a blast with the other kids in children's ministry!
For the record...it worked.
She settled down, ate her breakfast and stopped acting out. Immediately.
It wasn't until I was driving to church with my kids in the backseat that it dawned on me how foolish that threat was. Not only did I not mean it and had she called my bluff, she would have found out I didn't mean it...But it goes against everything I'm trying to teach them!
That it doesn't matter how much you mess up...you can ALWAYS go to church!
In fact, I hope that if she ever finds herself in a situation in her life that has her acting out and she needs help...that she'll turn towards God and His people before turning to anything else.
The very fact that I tried to take that away from her based on her actions had me feeling levels of shame that I hadn't experienced as a parent. Thank God no one threatens me with that when I mess up! I'd never get to go, even now as an adult. I mess up daily!
So know this...
You can ALWAYS go to church!
One of the Pastors at my church always says that he doesn't care what it is that gets our butts in the seats...the most important thing is that our butt is in the seat!!
He knows that God will take care of the rest.
It doesn't matter your circumstance. That's the part that I want my kids to know!
Whether your marriage is broken, you're unsure of whether you even believe in God, you're still a little drunk from the night before, you're lost in grief, you're addicted to something, you've been abused, you're the abuser, you have no money, you're rich as can be...none of that matters.
Because God can take any mess we bring Him and turn it into something beautiful. His power is infinite. His grace knows no bounds. His love is limitless.
Whatever you bring Him, He can fix. All you have to do is show up and ask Him to.
You can always go to church!!!
I will never take that away from kids (or threaten to) again.