Jesus in the Target dressing room

The place: Target dressing room….two nights before a family vacation.
The players: One exhausted mama, one hormonal high schooler and one hungry third-grader.
The scene: Trying to find a few key clothing items to take on the upcoming vacation.

The mood: Stress!

Stress between sisters, stress with the shopping experience, stress coupled with feelings of failure that this should have been done sooner, stress over the struggles with sizes and prices, stress of peer pressure and expectations. Not to mention the anticipation of yet another single mom trip and all the details which that entails.

I sat on the floor in the middle dressing room, a daughter on either side of me in their own rooms. Tensions were high and things were not fitting or too pricey or simply just wrong for what we needed.

Needless to say, our collective manna for the day had long since been depleted.

We really should have all been home in comfy pjs, eating soup and listening to something relaxing.

Instead I sat under the unforgiving fluorescent glare fitting room lights hoping for a fashion miracle to emerge from either side of m e.

Siblings with short fuses quickly began to take out their frustrations on each other…and then on their mama. Does that ever happen in your house? I was headed down the slippery slope of a first class mama meltdown when I heard it.

A voice from above.

No, before you get all excited and super spiritual, it wasn’t the Lord…you know the voice, it was the lovely lady from the Target PA system.

“Target team members’ her silky tones inquired, ‘Assistance is needed in the Ladies department…who is responding?

And again she calmly asked, ‘Assistance is needed in the Ladies department…who is responding?’

Funny how I’ve heard that expression hundreds of times during my Target adventures but this time it was personal…. screamed to me: Assistance is needed…who is responding?

Sitting in a dressing room, full of frustration, who is responding?

Faced with pouty children and sulky sales clerks, who is responding?

Feeling sorry for myself and my single-mom life, who is responding?

Is it a tired, cranky mama who just wants to get home?

Or is it the Jesus-loving girl who wants to be a blessing and shine her light, in spite of the current drama life is dishing out?

There are an awful lot of things I can’t control.

But I can choose how I respond.

Colossians 3:12-13 is the best dressing room advice ever: ‘Therefore choose to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility gentleness and patience. Bear with each other in forgiveness. And over all this, put on love.’

Sitting there on the dressing room floor, I came face to face with my own ugly attitude. Sigh.

It was time for one tired cranky mama to step aside. This Jesus girl has got to try some new things on.

I reached up for some compassion and put it on, pulled over some humility and wrapped it around, grabbed some patience and slipped it on for size and covered it all with a giant cloak of love.

And guess what? When mama’s attitude changed, the stress disappeared.

Funny how that works.

Never did find the perfect outfits for vacation.

But it just didn’t seem to matter anymore.

What about you….when life gets messy, who is responding?