We are candidating this weekend at a church. (I say we because it is never just about Kerry).
It’s our *first* one. It is busy. And I feel a little bit like we’re under the microscope. It’s has been a good experience and we’ve met wonderful people. But I constantly wonder if I’m being evaluated and there is going to be secret meeting where score cards are tallied and we’re given a grade. It may come from my dysfunctional upbringing, but I always wonder if I’m getting dinged for behavior or a misstep somewhere.
But I decided before we came that I wasn’t going to put pressure on my children to “behave” any differently than the usual expectation for our family. I didn’t want them to feel like they had to be on display or put on a show for all the nice people.
I decided that we were going to be just us.
For two reasons really, the first is that if we do come here I don’t want to have to keep that show going long term. I mean it’s a lot of work to pretend you’re something you’re not.  And the second is that if the church in general is going to be relevant and authentic to the world around them, then there shouldn’t be any reason to “put on a show” for anyone. Whether they’re interviewing, visiting or have been coming through the doors for years. We should be willing to welcome (and let’s face it sometimes tolerate) each other with our children who run in the hall, our voices that sing off key and personalities that may be too bold for our taste.
Now I have to confess, there have been a couple times I’ve turned around in the car and reminded the boys that we’re going to someone else’s house for dinner and to remember to say please and thank you (and don’t eat the dog biscuits or strip down in your underwear to  play in the water…yes those things have all happened and there are stories behind them). But other than that we are who we are…who God made us. There is always room for growth and there is always something to learn, but we are not show animals. We are people and if we want to reach out to people and share the love of Christ with them we must be willing to be seen as we are without the facade of “good behavior” only pulled out on special occasions like fine china.
For us this weekend isn’t just an opportunity to candidate for a church but it’s also an opportunity for us (me especially) to be comfortable with being who we are and to practice being authentic. To make no apologies for the fact that I have 4 boys who keep going back for animal crackers because you leave the jar wide open on the counter. To be proud of my *little* family and our wackiness, our shyness (and not so shyness). I am reminded that God has brought our family together and is molding it as only He can.
So as we’re “under the microscope” my prayer is that those looking can see the work of Christ in our lives and in our family. That they can see His handiwork more than they can see anything else.

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