I had a disturbing experience at church this past Sunday. Chris and I were “teaching” the two year-old class during “big” church (thirteen preschoolers in all), and it was our first time in this particular class. As parents were depositing their little ones in our care; I was all business – compulsively counting little ones at all times, speaking with parents, trying to remember which bag belonged to whom, who pottied and who would need changing, monitoring the shenanigans of the youth helpers, trying to keep kids from drinking out of the wrong cups, and wondering how in the tarnation I was going to tell the story of John baptizing Jesus in a way that was relevant and riveting for my audience.
And I am not an effective multi-tasker. I can be super-focused girl, but a multi-tasker I am not.
And in walks a mom who is a first-time visitor. There are many people at the church we attend that we do not know, so I did not know this was her first visit. My demeanor was the same with her; I think I was cordial and pleasant. Perhaps she saw the frazzle in my eyes, but she stepped into the hall for a few moments of hesitation and then re-entered the room to retrieve her son. I was shocked. She went on to collect her other two children, and she and her husband left.
I hate revisiting this experience because it is a negative reflection on me and how I failed to serve and reassure this mom. There are many reasons she may have left, but I bear at least some, if not all, of the responsibility for this incident. She was not at all rude to me, nor did she seem angry, but she was obviously displeased.
And you know, it bothers me so much because I was the face of that church to her and I am to be a face that reflects Jesus to her, and I missed the mark. I’m not heaping condemnation on my head, but I am trying to be changed by that brief interaction. I want to forever remember it; I am thankful it happened.
Whether I am at church or at the convenience store or at the gym or at Carson’s school, I am a face that is to reflect Jesus. I get that. And normally I am very conscious of trying to behave in a way that honors and pleases Him, but when I was distracted I missed an opportunity to minister to a family who was probably looking for a community of believers to plug in to.
If I knew her name or had her email address, I would love to apologize for her experience. But sometimes we don’t get second chances; we don’t get a do-over. So it is my prayer that I will ever be sensitive to opportunities to communicate reassurance and encouragement to those who may need a dose and that I will be committed to serving others with excellence.
Because I am a face that is to reflect Jesus…