Please, oh please, don’t give me Pinterest Jesus. He wouldn’t understand why Tuesday morning, 9 a.m., I sit in front of my daughter’s bedroom door and apologize for harsh words I said the night before when I saw the library strewn with legos. The lashing-out words that made her cry. The horrible come-outta-nowhere arm waving and disappointed glare I threw at my son. He had lept under his covers like a tiger was chasing him. I had become a living volcano. Pompeii had nothing on this mama.
This gray morning after it all went down, the tears stream down my face and my daughter’s eyes are wide-eyed again. This is not my first apology nor will it be my last. Pinterest Jesus wouldn’t understand.
He’s the picture that pops up if you type “Jesus” in the search filter on Pinterest. He is the serene face with a silver glitz tear and diamond bling on a pendant. You can buy him for a $399 bargain. I wonder what Pinterest Jesus would say if He saw me crying on the stairs. Probably something very advising, glossy, and perfect. Then He would stare blankly and stoic from under his crown of thorns, and I would get on with my life.
Tuesday afternoon, post-tears and apologies, my friend Holly calls. We talk about serious stuff like writing and rejection and how honest we should be with people—both strangers and our family. Then we talk about how to carry on, in forgiveness for ourselves and for others. She reminds me Jesus was born into animal manure. Thirty-three years later Jesus sweat blood in the garden as He flat-out begged God to take this cup of human suffering away. Holly observes, “That is no Pinterest Jesus.”
Holly knows suffering and forgiveness and honesty better than anyone I know. She is caring for her dying mother. With that come moments of facing her own humanity and frailty and reliving memories of childhood abuse. She gave up retirement in Oregon with her faithful husband and postponed her dream to start her art business. She came home to care for her mother. Yes, ma’am.
This is no Pinterest Jesus we serve. The chaotic life He calls us to speak into, to lean into, to downright live well.
Hours before my lego tantrum, another friend sat at my kitchen table and called me “her people.” Who am I to be called anyone’s people? I wondered. I was in awe. I was grateful. All I did was listen to the stuff breaking her heart.
Pinterest Jesus would say, “Please don’t say such things. You are just fine. Instagram it and tie a red bow on it.” Well, I’m not buying that.
Back to the apology and the tears, the moment I show my kids I’m all jacked up. We sit in our PJs and talk about mommy’s need for a real Jesus: the one who came for stinky shepherds, clueless teenage parents, and road-weary noblemen.
He takes me—unholy mess of a momma, friend, woman, scared and insecure most days. I tell them He takes their messes too. He says, “I love people, especially the falling-apart ones.”
This is the same Jesus of the Bible who overturned tables in the temple (volcanos and legos, anyone?) and calms wicked storms with a Word. He is God incarnate and fully human; He orchestrates the turnings of the universe and He wraps me in His arms in the hallway on a Tuesday.
Please, oh, please don’t get me or anyone else Pinterest Jesus for Christmas. Just the real messy Jesus please (and a monstrous IKEA gift card can’t hurt.)
*Image found on itshot.com.