Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ch-ch-changes

Church is different now.
I'm not wrestling a car seat or a diaper bag.  I'm not making up a bottle or filling a sippy cup. I don't have a bag filled with quiet toys, books and snacks.  I don't race the clock to get myself and three other females ready for church...the race that started early the night before with baths and locating everything from tights to wipes.

Church is different now.
I am not helping anyone buckle into their carseat, booster seat or regular seat.  No projectiles fly through the air endangering my life or my sanity during the commute to church.  Nobody is touching anyone in a way that forces me to issue a reminder to, "Keep our hands to ourselves, please."  No one is ignoring that to cause a stir.

Church is different now.
I am not standing outside of a classroom worried that my girl/girls will cry and need to be rescued.  I am not crying in a different empty classroom because life is so hard that Hubby and I had a big fight- over something silly or enormous- and I am wondering if coming to church is worth all the fuss.  I am not going into my class late hoping that something God inspired will minister to me in such a way that I am thankful for all the hoops I had to jump through to get there.  I am no longer desperately wishing someone will find me worthy of friendship.  I am no longer pretending to have all my crap together so someone might give me the precious words I long so desperately to hear: "You are a good mom!"

Church is different now.
I am not protecting a communion plate or offering plate form little curious hands.  I am not cringing every time my little ones are disruptive, immediately aware of all the looks-be they smiling or otherwise.  I am not being reassured in the foyer by Carl Keller that baby noises are music to his ears followed by a big bear hug that makes my heart swell with love.

Church is different now.
I hear all the words of the service. I am not wrestling a small person through a sermon that seems terribly long that day.  I smile at the babies and children around me.  I sit there amazed by all the people who have blessed me so much in my twenty plus years at my married church home.  I marvel at the lives that have touched mine-for good or bad.  I consider the people who have come and stayed.  I remember the people who have come and gone.  I am saddened for me for the ones who have gone on to Glory...ecstatic for them.  I grieve the loss of members who moved on over this thing or that.  My heart aches over scandals and preferences that birthed amputations to our church body.

Church is different now.
I am awestruck that my marriage remains strong while other marriages I envied have crumbled and fallen apart.  I am blessed and amazed to have made so many connections and friendships within the walls of this blessed place.  I am humbled by the relationships and mentoring from people here.  I am delighted by the way they have tolerated my shortcomings and loved me enough that I changed for the better in so many ways.  I am honored to have been able to pass that precious gift of acceptance on to other folks.

Church is different now.
But it is so much the same.  Church is a soft place to fall when life pulls the rug out from under me and laughs.  Church is a family that loves me when I mess up.  Church loves me when I am surly and snippy because I didn't get MY WAY.  Church loves me when I am prideful and arrogant because I was, so obviously, right.  Church loves me when I am so far off track that I can't even see the track anymore.  Church loves me when I am stubborn and don't wanna be there.  Church loves me when I overflow with love, mercy and compassion.  Church loves me when I am as dried up as the bones in Ezekiel.

Thank you, Preacher, for reminding me that church is the bride of Christ. You can't be close to Christ for very long if you mistreat and neglect HIS BRIDE, His beautiful and glorious bride who is perfect not because of her actions but because of the blood of Christ...just like me.  Praise be to God.

1 comment:

Laura LeC lair said...

Just wanted to say I've been through the whole baby thing and going to church. I have 7 children, the youngest is nine now, so it's easier. But, everything you said about bathing the kids, laying out everything for the next day, worrying about putting them in classes, ect. Brings back a lot of memories of those days. Now, I just hope for some grandchildren through all this. Thanks for the piece, I enjoyed reading this.

Laura LeClair