Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Family Integrated Church

I just have to say, God is so good! He has been really working on me lately as you can read in other posts. Some of the areas are my selfishness, my warped view of worship, and my parenting/training style. All have been addressed since we moved to a new town and have been church shopping. We have loved an energetic service with lots of praise music and a great band. We were also looking for a place that preached straight from the word in a Bible Study fashion instead of personal stories and antidotes. Another qualification was a great children's program that would really train the kids to worship, pray, and spread the gospel. I have to say I have found a WONDERFUL church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is funny, is that it only has one of those things. This church teaches the Word of God. This congregation, (family would be a better word) is a calmer group on Sunday morning. (Not that there aren't cut-ups and lots of crazy fun on different occasions.) The music comes from hymns accompanied by a piano. The kicker is that the whole family worships together. There is no children's program during the service. This is why I told God that this church was not for me. I needed my time away. I needed to get into a place of worship, and I couldn't do this with children around me. I couldn't listen to the teaching if I was worried with children and disciplining. I told God how frustrating the morning would be and how tired I would be. I needed to be filled and refreshed. Didn't God want those things too? Not exactly. This is where my lessons came in.

Selfishness/warped view of worship: Did you notice how many "I's" there were in the last many sentences? God showed me that worship was not about me at all, but about Him. This was a time for me to come and recognize His splendor and greatness among other believers. He showed me that it had nothing to do with me loving the music and "getting into it." It had nothing to do with even hearing the message! I was there with the sole purpose of worshiping the Almighty God. A little side note on pride was taught too. I realized that my frustration that, in the past, had boiled over at some point and caused me to hate the morning was again centered inward. I was not worried about training, I was worried about what other people thought of my children's behavior and thus my ability as a mother. Focusing upward instead of inward has changed my whole worship experience!

Parenting/training: I do not hate being with my children anymore! Not that I really hated it, that sounds too harsh. There was a time in my life though, where if I could get away I would. That was one of the best things about Sunday morning. For at least an hour and a half I could just sit and think about me and my relationship with God. Where there is nothing wrong with the occasional babysitter, after all everyone needs a break, I learned that I had a higher calling than my personal growth. God has intrusted four wonderful children (so far!) to us to train up to be godly men and women who seek and follow their Lord. I learned that I was sending a wrong message unknowingly. I put them in Sunday morning classes so that they could get instruction on their individual level. I put them in so that they could meet other kids their age. I put them in because they hated "big church", didn't seem to get anything from it, and drove me crazy. I have learned that I have thus kept them out of church. That is not the message I want to convey. We have always said that we wanted to go to church as a family. The funny thing is that I guess we meant only for the car ride. As soon as we walk in, we all split up into our own ministries and classes. Now we truely go to church as a family (with the exception of Chris for this football season-more on that in the next post). God has taught me that my worship is in training these precious children. I have learned that they get a lot more out of the service than I ever dreamed possible. I have learned that all my reasons for homeschooling apply at church as well. Even more so! If I want to be the main influence in their lives and decide what they are exposed to, I cannot turn them over to others to decide what and how they are taught. If I decided that I would teach them their academics, why would I want someone else teaching them their spiritual lessons. (Not that we don't teach at home during the week also.) If I didn't think a room full of peers was a natural set up to learn life, why would I want that on Sunday morning? I was a huge contradiction! Today, the children sat beautifully in church, even my two year old! This was just our third time too! They look forward to service and the many friends they have met there. We have deeper, more meaningful conversations together about spiritual things also. Especially over Sunday lunch!

God is AWESOME!!! He has not only shown us where to go to church, which was our prayer. Apparently that was just small potatoes. God didn't stop there. He has grown each one of us individually and as a family. He has taught us profound lessons and strengthened our relationship and faith in Him. He has also introduced us to a body of believers that are so dear to our hearts already. These precious people are each a gift given to us for right now in this season, as our support and example. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed right now to be a daughter of the King and to have the privilege to worship among such a family for Christ. God is so good!!!!

Thank you, Lord for the showering of blessings that you have given me and my family. Thank you for not walking away when Your child threw a fit like a toddler not cooperating. Thank you for sticking by my side, for training me and growing me. May I follow Your example with these lives You have intrusted to me. Amen.

4 comments:

Granny said...

Well Amy, this family-integrated church is delighted to have you among us. I know what that journey is like and even though I no longer have little ones I'm blessed to be in a place where we're all together and helping one another. Give your DH a hug for us and tell him we look forward to the weeks when he can be with us as well!

Candace said...

Amy,

WOW!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. What an amazing testimony of God's grace and teaching.

We are SO thankful God has brought you to Covenant and we, personally, are thankful He allowed us to cross paths.....all because of a house! His providence is amazing!

I have linked this post to my blog!!!

Tami said...

We are glad to have you and your family with us! Thanks for the testimony - we all need to be reminded of why we do what we do on occasion!

Alexander Family said...

Amy,
We do not know each other but I am a friend of Candace's. I was blessed by your post. The things you talked about are things God has been working on in my life. I know what you mean about throwing a fit just like a toddler but it is so wonderful when we see that and then turn to receive His blessing.
Jennifer