This past Sunday night we did a silly mixer with some of our adult leaders called 2 Truths and 1 Lie. Basically you sit 3 people in front of a group, have them share 3 statements about themselves and then students try to guess what the lie is. It can be fun and quirky & it always seems to be a challenge we've done well with the adults and or students we've put up front.
The funny, or not so funny, thing this past weekend was I had a NO-SHOW volunteer (shocker right?) that was supposed to be one of the contestants. Since he didn't' come I filled in. One of my truth statements was "I've been arrested". Now we all have pasts and grace is beautiful, but sharing that truth & then the story later to the crowd of high school students beginning for the backstory was my kids were in the room.
That's right, the night my 8 & 7 year old visited a ministry night was the night their dad revealed to them I've been arrested. This was something I knew I'd tell them at some point in time in their life but I didn't want them to find out THAT WAY.
So here is my learnings:
1- Know your audience! I had a good reminder of "do the quick room scan before you say something like that" moment.
2- I sat my kids down at breakfast on Monday & told them the truth. The whole story of me getting arrested. I let them ask questions & I answered them 100%. I asked them how it made them feel & I reminded them that nobody is perfect & everybody needs Jesus. I honestly felt it was a great Dad & Sons moment even though I don't know totally how they processed it.
3- I had to wrestle with my own doubts & voices saying things like "now your kids think you're a screw-up" & "what a moron...letting your kids find out about your stupidity as a teenager". I had to stop those voices and listen for God's voice. I'm not trying to over spiritualize this but I was reminded of the grace of Jesus in my own life and wanted to let it be a model for my sons.
4- I had to answer a phone call from a parent who "was surprised to find the youth pastor had a record (it expunged at age 18)". I just told the parent they'd be really surprised if they knew how I used to live & what I did get away with :)....and yes those will be stories to my kids at a later date
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