It's a Sunday morning and it feels odd because I am actually at home instead of being at church.
Almost two weeks ago my 2 oldest daughters were in a bad car accident. In the last few days they were discharged from the hospital and are now both at home still very much in the recovery process.
I saw my 21 year daughter (that actually moved to her own place this past Spring, now home for the recovery) cry for the first time yesterday when she asked if she was going to be able to go to church and I had to tell her no.
In the midst of my heart breaking for her sadness my heart was also filled with gratefulness.
Grateful that in the midst of all that is going on my child's heart is longing to be with her community of believers.
Grateful that they both recognize the strength and stability it brings to their lives.
Trust me, I know first hand the church is NOT a building or place we go, but it is a living, breathing, community that Christ gave His life for.
I'm going to go ahead and apologize...
because after the past few weeks that I have lived. I'm not feeling much like sugar coating things.
It's not about "going to church" it's about "being the church."
The prayer support as well as other practical support that we have received from the body of Christ during this time from literally all over the world has been incredible. We have experienced the Body of Christ like never before.
I had a parent of a student that the girls teach say to me, "It's amazing to me to see how your girls are responding during all of this. I don't think it would have been the same for me at their age." I told her it's an example of planting the seeds. When you're thrown in the middle of a circumstance you don't have the luxury to decide on how you're going to respond. What's in you is going to come out.
Our children need to know serving God is serious!
We can say what we want, but what our children are getting is what we do.
When we put everything else in front of being committed and involved in the body of Christ-
our children see that.
They see what we really value as important by our choices.
Please hear me-
I am NOT setting myself up as Super Spiritual Parent!
I fail all the time and believe me my kids know that. My point is we have to lay a foundation of God in their heart that is bigger than our imperfection as parents and a solid faith to be able to deal with whatever life is throwing at them.
My children know where their strength comes from.
I want to remind you as a parent, you have been entrusted with your children from God.
As parents we don't give our kids the choice to decide if they want to eat. We would NEVER let a day go buy without giving some kind of nourishment to our children. We even feel guilty if we have to grab fast food too often.
We don't let them make the choice if they want to be educated or not. We drag kids out of bed and send them off to school sometimes crying because that's what we do as good parents.
So I'm always surprised when it comes to spiritual feeding and education why so many times we let the children make the decision. Or when as parents we don't give it the same priority as the other things in our lives.
Again, you can tell your kids, "God is #1 in your life," but when they see you as more committed to getting them to school or an extra curricular activity, they see the difference. Or choosing a few extra hours of sleep instead of going to church knowing every other day of the week you would be getting up if you had to go to work or get them somewhere. Believe me they are getting that message. Don't get mad at me... just speaking the truth. I warned you no sugar coating today.
We have to model that the family of God is a beautiful thing and when you are part of a family ...
you show up.
You show up even if you're mad at your brother and your mom made you mad or you're just tired. You show up because you are family and there is commitment and strength in that.
Just recently I had a conversation with someone that was questioning their involvement in a community of believers as a result of several issues of hurt in the church.
My response was "I can so relate to your struggle...
Community has been the source of my most wonderful times, but it has also been the source of my most painful times. I, myself have struggled at times as to why God has called us to it."
My children have experienced these extremes as well growing up in the church.
They have experienced far too many times people being as close as family only to not be there the next week without even a goodbye.
They've experienced times of being judged unfairly and gossiped about.
But, they have also experienced the wonderful...
people that love you on the good days and the bad days.
Days where you have showed up with more questions than answers and joined with other believers in faith-
speaking and singing and declaring the Word of God together.
It is in that moment of community ...
that we are encouraged ,
we are strengthened
we are changed.