So question for the day.....
What is church to you? How would you describe it?
For me, I grew up in a small church. My childhood was in the church era of the 70's and 80's....and things seemed simpler back in those days. There was definitely tension within the Presbysterian church in the 80's, but for the most part, I have the most wonderful memories growing up in the church and more than anything, there was a deep sweet spirit of love and care that I could write books about.
You see, what I saw vividly through my parents and their friends, was a concern for one another in the day to day. They prayed for each other, gave meals to each other, checked in on one another, helped when others were sick and celebrated life together whether through camp outs or cook-outs.... there was, in the little town of Cedartown, the sweetest community that I have ever experienced.
My dad fixed people's lawn mowers and cars and did it out of love.... and my mom was always showing her love in many ways. We would visit the elderly and work at the Samaritan House. And I will always remember one elderly lady whose name was Myrtle. This dear lady had never married so she didn't have children to check in on her and make sure she was ok. So we became a little family to her and visited her. My mom just had this way about her in knowing who needed care and so my mom would always make time in her schedule to visit Myrtle. And Myrtle was always so happy to see us and welcome us into her little home. My brother and I would sit and play with her cat as mom and Myrtle talked about the day and news and Cedartown happenings. I loved that my mom gave her time for people.... not for scurrying around.... chasing the wind, but for real people. We went to other people's houses too and made visits and brought little gifts, but most of all, we brought ourselves and time. And that's what this little church modeled for me..... a place where people had time for one another. It was a place that offered deep, tender love for each person, a place where a helping hand was always given. It was a very special little church.... Grace Presbyterian.
And so each time I go home to visit, I am still welcomed with open arms through this church body. Their love continues and their care continues as well. They have modeled Jesus to me in more ways than I could ever count. And when I really think about it..... when I sit back and think about my growing up and what church meant to me... it's simple....
they cared for me and prayed for me.
they took time for me.
they loved me.
And isn't that such a beautiful reflection of Jesus?
My heart is smiling right now when I think of this church family..... smiling ... smiling and oh, I am deeply grateful. Since I left for college, I have experienced bigger churches and have seen many problems and walked through much sadness with the church. But, then again, I have seen the beauty and joy and care in it as well. There has also been a time period in my life where I have had to truly believe in church again, because there was so much disappointment in it.
But I am seeing in deeper ways how I am part of the church....I am not on the sidelines... but amazingly I'm part of the body of Christ... so what does that really mean? And how am I modeling it to others? It's easy to point my finger or just be critical... but it's an entirely different approach when we ask ourselves,"How can I be a reflection of Jesus in my church.. in my community?"
Answer: Love... love ..... love....
How does that look in the day to day?
I want to take time out for people and show care and concern. The past week, I have reread the amazing book by Andi Ashworth called, "Real Love for Real Life." It's a book I highly recommend for all to read! So, with Andi's words of inspiration and thinking about my parents and the life they modeled for me and then thinking about my childhood church... I have been praying about how I can show more care and love and time to the people I'm around... to the people God puts on my heart.
So with that being said.... I am coming up with some little plans for this fall and will give you a glimpse into them. So stay tuned.......!
Happy Fall Weekend to each of you!