It was sort of surreal sitting there last night at the local Burger King… since our family size had been dramatically reduced for the evening and since it was Andrew’s actual birthday, I decided to do some very, very different things for the day and evening. So, there I was, with the four children, sitting in the play structure area. I was sipping on a DP (btw – I’m not sure that’s on the T-Tapper’s allowed beverage list), and as the sun was beginning to set, there was a glow that sort of obscured the reality of where I was and transported me back to days gone by — days long ago when our four oldest children played on similar climbing toys at a local park. I sat cheering all the: Mama, watch me’s and all the: Mama, can you see me’s?
A man at a nearby table asked if those were all my children. I smiled and said, yes, but not all — and went on to share that we have eleven children and those are the four youngest. He exclaimed some surprised expression — and was even more surprised when I said we have three grandbabies. Sharing the table with him was his mother-in-law and a few other family members. She asked if I was with another local family… a family with a bunch of children. (I smiled – inside thinking how funny it is that large families are sort of birds of a feather… and of course would be acquainted) I confirmed that we did, indeed, know them and fellowship with them and she was quite pleased to hear that. We continued to have a delightful conversation and, all the while, our children continued to play together… Joey helping the youngest of theirs get up and around in the tubes. Up and down, round and round they played.
As we took a play-break to eat dinner, the conversation continued. And I was keenly aware, once again, of the fact that we all represent one another to others. We represent the LORD to others. We represent our families and our friends everywhere we go. When I’m diving along in my 15 passenger sports car I’m representing other mama’s who drive similar vehicles. When I’m at the grocery store, I’m representing other mothers…. I’m continually aware of this through the years.
What started this thought, along subsequent decisions and convictions, was an event that happened quite a number of years ago while I was shopping at Costco. As I was placing item after item on the counter, the cashier commented to me that she always noticed that I was always dressed a particular way and that I always had such a clean, wholesome look about me. I thanked her and shared with her that her comments were humbling – that whatever good she saw was all the LORD’s doing. I made it a point to greet her and ask about her each time I shopped there. It was the LORD’s doing then and whatever good’s going on today is the LORD’s doing now. I sort of tucked that conversation away and it was added to the (so far as depends on me) “I will always _______ ” list. It’s not an actual list, but personal stands, or guidelines, that govern my life.
As a believer, everywhere I go… whatever I do… whatever I say… whatever I wear… is a representation of something. That something is the Living LORD — that something is my husband — that something is our family — that something is my sisters in Christ — that something is those in our fellowship, along with believers around the world — that something is my husband’s business and etc., etc. When I keep behaviour, presence, appearance, etc., etc., as a high priority, our children see and understand, for they can see and know that I represent them, too.
So, as we sat there last night I suddenly remembered that I was sort of “representing” those who were not there — and you know what? I was sort of melancholy and glad all at the same time. I rarely ever stop to analyze situations like that — but I did last night. I was glad that my love and respect for the different ones had been obvious. I was glad that were my husband to walk in, he would have been well represented. Had our friends walked in, they, too, would have been well represented. When we got up to leave, I told them it was nice to meet them… and they said we sure had a nice family and thanked us for the smiles.
As we all hopped in the
van sports car I was still smiling. I was recalling parts of the conversation… their comments about our friends and the great work they had done on their house and what a nice family they had. I was glad that we hadn’t “represented” them in anything but a favourable light. I was glad to have been there with our children having such a delightful time. Whenever I look back on last night (or when those people look back on last night) I imagine it will be with gladness. Most of all, I was glad the LORD was honoured in our midst.
I think of the verses in Ephesians 5.1-4:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”
For better or worse, everywhere we go, we are a representation… O, to be a glad representation.