whitney nesse deep roots

Sunday mornings in our home are bustling as everyone gets ready for church. Eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, and trying to find matching socks is most definitely tricky in our house. Doing it all within a half-hour period is extraordinary.

But doing it all without anyone shedding a tear or getting angry would be a miracle we’re still praying for. 

One particular Sunday morning, I was giving instructions to my younger children, attempting to get them all up to tempo so that we could leave on time — while attempting to brush my teeth.  Once I finished waving my toothbrush around like an insane maestro and returned to the bathroom, I could see my youngest child hiding in the shower. 

I asked him to come out and finish getting ready for church. From his reflection in the mirror, I could tell he was acting rather sheepish. I asked him what was wrong and immediately his chin began to quiver, and he became weepy — yet he insisted that he was fine. Again, I asked him what was the matter. He responded by trying to hide deeper within the shower. 

I sat on the bench in my bathroom, positioned so I could look at my son. He moved toward me with his hands covering his face and told me he had an accident. I wrapped him in a hug, reassuring him I was not angry. I helped him get cleaned up, and we happily continued our day. 

Later on, I contemplated the earlier incident and became sad. I felt sad that my son thought he had to hide. Indeed, he was embarrassed, but what caused him to hide?  Was he afraid of how I might react? 

My thoughts then turned to a Bible passage I know well from Genesis. Adam and Eve were in the garden and had just eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had directly told them not to. Picking up the story in chapter 3:9, we read, “The LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.””  Adam and Eve were afraid, embarrassed by their nakedness, and hid. Sounds familiar. My son was afraid and embarrassed, so he hid.

I was then hit squarely: I do exactly the same thing. I become embarrassed and hide — from my family, peers, and God. I hide behind a veneer, showing that I have everything together. I present the best version of myself and hide my jealous, prideful, or greedy imperfections. I hide because I am afraid and embarrassed. If my family, peers, or God saw the imperfections, would they still choose me? 

The answer was lying in how I responded to my son and in how God responded to Adam and Eve in the garden.  A resounding YES!  Yes, I still choose my son!  We worked together to clean up the accident and moved on!  God, in his grace, provided Adam and Eve with clothing, and they moved on! 

Friends, there is no need for us to live behind a veneer. Let’s begin peeling off the front and exposing the imperfections rather than hiding them. Let’s live as those who are no longer afraid or embarrassed but as people who know we are created, chosen, and loved by God.              

Whitney Nesse is a sixth-generation livestock farmer who is deeply rooted in her faith and family. She writes from her central Minnesota farm. 

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