There were scads of ideas for how to dress them, but ultimately we went with turkeys because, y'all. These two are the biggest turkeys you'll ever meet, and I mean that in both the best and worst possible ways.
They are incorrigible flirts. Everywhere we go, they are fawned over and smiled at like a pair of Disney celebrities. This is the norm for them, and they rarely fail to delight their fans with scrunched up, squinty smiles and coos and squeals. Lord, these two!
But turkeys, oh my goodness! They are no strangers to the 3:00 AM hour, and rather than a quick snack of mama milk and a cuddle and back to sleep, they are intent on a full-on, lights-on parties. They think the king size Sleep Number bed in Mom and Dad's room was created just for them, and upon their delicate skin touching a crib mattress, they are awake and angry. They laugh in the face of schedules and with chubby baby feet, they stomp the concept of predictability into the ground.
My Instagram feed portrays a view on mothering twins that is joy-filled and fun. And in moments, it is. It is an insane ride like nothing I've ever experienced, and there are certainly moments of heart-bursting joy.
But many are the moments of frustration and even despair. And because of those moments and even in the midst of those moments that I hear my Father God speaking to me, reminding me of a pivotal truth:
You are a minister to them.
You are a minister.
You are a minister to them.
When I first felt Him pressing this truth on to my heart, the phrase was specific: You are a minister of the gospel of peace. Oh, how He knows me well. How He knows that wording would jolt me, would get my attention so quickly. It echoes my favorite line from the entire canon of church hymns, that line in O Holy Night that says "His law is love, and His gospel is peace." Tears spring to my eyes every time.
When I would hiss at them through gritted teeth over another too-short cat nap, I would hear Him: You are a minster of the gospel of peace.
When I, frustrated by not knowing how to help soothe an hour or more of insistent fussing, would raise my voice at them, immediately He called to my mind: You are a minister of the gospel of peace.
When I am falling apart with tears and sobs because my plans have been ruined again, He reigns me in with the truth of my calling in this season: You are a minister of the gospel of peace.
Around and around that thought has rolled in the marble run of my mind.
And today, a new phrase. (Because He's always doing a new thing, isn't He? Isaiah 43:19 testifies.)
I've been woefully neglectful in practicing the daily liturgy of Common Prayer, the framework for Kingdom living that I love so dearly. Sadly, the middle of the night parties at Imma Kill-a Mama Fraternity have left me too dazed and confused to even remember to turn to its pages.
But today is All Saints Day and I usually somehow manage to remember on these marked days of the church calendar to devote just a few minutes to reflection.
Today's closing prayer says:
Lord, your saints come from every nation and every tribe. Such is the beauty of your kingdom, where every race and people are honored and recognized as being made in your image. Help us live lives of peace and reconciliation that pay homage to the diversity of your great cloud of witnesses. Amen.
And there it is: peace.
A life of peace. And also of reconciliation.
I turned to that passage in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, one I know almost by heart, but I wanted to trace my fingers over the words again:
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
(At that point, my face hit the ground. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
In these formative yet fleeting years, I am to my four children a minister of reconciliation. Daily, they experience the weight of our frailty: tender gums ripped open by razor sharp teeth, the injustice and inequity of playground politics, a harsh word from a desperately imperfect parent. Daily, I can gather close the creation to the Creator, ministering to them His comfort and the hope that He is to us.
God, in His holy perfection didn't count our sins towards us on His mission to reconcile us to Him through Christ. Surely then, I cannot count the sins of my children against them, but rather should seek always restoration of relationship and reconciliation with God. This is the calling I share with their father; how devastating it would be for us to ignore it.
Oh, how foolish my one-time belief that I couldn't engage in Kingdom living because of the intrusion of mothering on my life! His Kingdom doesn't end at the threshold of our front door, instead is lived out here in full color, in the happy and in the hard. Speaking in love, modeling peace, ministering reconciliation.
Even when they are being big ol' turkeys.