God has asked some hard things of me in my life.
Among those things was the conviction to leave the yoga teaching industry, abandon social media and the revenue it brought my homestead business, lay down my desire for control in various relationships, to sacrifice continuing my college education in order to stay at home with my children.
I’ve sacrificed a lot for husband and children that was uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful and unfair. And many times, I did so without the promise that everything would be okay, or that the situation or circumstances would resolve. But my God has proven Himself faithful again and again- He is worthy of my trust and wholehearted devotion, whether I can understand His purposes or not. Tonight was one of those nights I was given a beautiful confirmation from the Lord.
Over the last couple, let’s say 2-3 weeks, my youngest son has been complaining about church. That’s a red flag for me; Church is not a service, it is not a building, it is a Body of believers, pursuing Christ as His Bride. So I really strive to make faith, faith based activities, and church attendance enjoyable, memorable, and something that my children can cling to throughout their lives- I want them to see Christ, not just programming or amenities; church membership is about being members or parts of the Body of Christ, not merely members of a social club.
So I prayed about it. I asked God for wisdom and clarity. And I tried a couple things, shifting which siblings went together to class (which, I actually may have to address with a kids leader because I have had to tweak the age ranges a bit) I’ve tried incentives, and other motivational things. Long story short, God put it on my heart to not leave the younger kids in nursery, but to take them with me to my small group study, and to allow my oldest daughter to go to Bible study with her older brother, even though she is younger than the minimum age.
I’ve been reading several books by seasoned Mama’s and veteran Christians who all stress the importance of proximity to your children, especially in church for developing faith in them as well as their confident trust in me as their Mama. I liked the idea, but the thought of training my children to sit quietly for 2 hours was daunting and I wasn’t sure I could get through it without resenting them for disrupting my Bible time. So, I reasoned for a few days, and I couldn’t come up with anything to counter what I’d read and been getting in the Spirit from my time in prayer and Scripture. So, tonight was the first night of that plan in action.
Walking in the building, I almost caved and it was with uncertain reluctance and simultaneous, “okay God, I don’t get it and it’s gonna be hard, but I’m choosing to trust You in this,” determined obedience.
I brought crayons, paper, and coloring books for my kiddos. They were torn, rolled, tossed, and scattered. I “Shhhhh-ed” and I held, and I rocked, and I bounced, and I snuggled and I “Shhhhh-ed” some more. I missed multiple “fill in the blanks” and we didn’t get to reading my selection of Scripture out loud. And as we packed up to leave, I was wondering, “ok, I did it… But God, what difference did it make? I’m TIRED after all that, and I don’t feel like I got anything out of it.”
And then, my sweet sweet friend across the table sent me a text message.
It said, “I love watching you with them and your patience and perseverance. 💕”
I broke down. I am not a public crier. And yet I’ve done so twice today (I’m a little tender apparently, which makes me uncomfortable and I’m learning to be okay with being uncomfortable). I always avoid the tables of crying women… Yet here I was, a crying woman, awash in feelings I didn’t even realize were brewing in my heart.
In that moment, my sweet friend did not realize that she was being the hand and voice of God in my life. But in that photograph, I heard and saw God say to me, “I see you, I love you, and when you walk in obedience to me, other people see it too. Well done.”
It was a beautiful, beautiful gift to me. More than she knows.
And my children? They were settled. They were calm. They went to sleep with minimal resistance. The older two were ecstatic about the scripture they had learned and craft they had made. And I knew that even though it was a challenge for me, it was right, and it was what God had asked of me in that circumstance.
So what now? Do I keep taking my littles with me to Bible study? Yes. I will, until or unless someone complains of disruption, I will continue to enable my children to be saturated by the Gospel, to be surrounded not by only their peers and television, but surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses,” gathering to search and study God’s Word and to grow in holiness, because that is what will grow their faith in Christ.
God gifted me a sweet, sweet confirmation of His will for me as a self-conscious Mama, worried about noisy children being a distraction. What a beautiful blessing of encouragement to me to persist in faith and trust in the Lord.