By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
My white couch gospel
Sometimes we do things that just do not make sense. Like buying a sectional with a stark white slipcover and expecting that it stay pristine with two black cats, a dog that sheds, two kids under age 5 who love Cheetos and a husband who wants to sit on the couch immediately after cutting the grass.
But, I did it. I had the picture-perfect expectation that only Pinterest could foster — the white couch with the neutral, fluffy pillows, next to the blanket ladder that makes no sense in anyone’s home with babies or climbers. It was my dream and also, turns out, my nightmare.
The expectations of a new transition tend to be high, and whether you’re starting kindergarten like my crew or college like so many of my students, we have this image in our heads of how it will go. The truth is, much like my unattainable perfect white couch, many times our experience is not what we pictured in our heads. When the first day of school or dorm-room newness wears off, we are brought back to the realization of a broken world.
Mary Thomas turns 6 this month (I can’t believe I just wrote that). I think I can speak for all females when I say being a girl in today’s world is tough. And there are so many times as a mom that I find myself thinking, “What in the world am I supposed to do, Lord?”
Hurt feelings happen, expectations have to be managed, mistakes are made and I feel like the first week of school had Mary dropping her shoulders in disappointment more than any other week in her life. Those dropped shoulders are a gut punch to a mom. That’s why, when I saw those shoulders drop when she heard there was a Kidz Bop concert in 30 minutes while we were at Chick-fil-A the first Friday of the school year, I knew what I had to do.
There is a lot in life that doesn’t make sense. In fact, Mary even told me she knew we couldn’t go to a concert because we were all still in our uniforms and it just wouldn’t make sense.
There is a lot that is out of our control and lends itself to disappointment and sadness, and a lot of times I feel I mess up as a mom. But the gospel itself sometimes doesn’t make sense to the world — that God would send his Son to die a death He didn’t deserve so that you and I could be free on earth and free to live in relationship with Him in both life and death.
I could feel the Lord reminding me that His love is extravagant, even reckless, to the human mind and I praise God that He gave me the opportunity to mirror that with my own daughter. We ran to Target like we were on Supermarket Sweep, grabbed some killer sunglasses for the heat, a cat outfit for her, and I bought the first tickets I could find on Ticketmaster. We were 25 minutes late to the concert, but as we sat there and I watched her sing and dance along to every kid-friendly version of today’s hits, I could hear the Lord saying, “This is extravagant love.”
I got to explain the gospel to my little girl on the long way back to the car — that sometimes life is really hard, but that because of Jesus, we can have joy like we had tonight singing and dancing. That in the same way I wanted to take her to her first concert, the Lord desires a relationship with us and sacrificed Himself for her, and me, to live in eternity with Him.
We often hear verses like Matthew 28 about making disciples of all nations and can easily forget that our biggest ministry opportunity is sitting next to us at dinner, riding with us to school each morning and looking to us to show the way.
My white couch will never be as white as I want it to be, but praise the Lord that one day I will be clothed in white with my Savior — a white that I can continually point to when teaching my babies about the never-failing love God has for us. Through disappointments and trials, our God’s love prevails.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.