Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Birthday Gift

I will never forget my 44th birthday.
Because why?
Because of where it was spent and the gift I received.

This weekend we lost a dear family friend.
Scott leaves, for now, his wife and 4 kids who we adore.

Yesterday I spent the day at their home, crying, hugging, receiving kisses, listening to the sound of grief, shopping, doing laundry and getting my butt kicked playing “around the world” over and over again.
I could fill a scrapbook with the things I witnessed yesterday.

What comes to mind first is the brutal beauty of a broken heart.
The fingerprints of a father on his children.
Friendship that is like family.

But this post is about today and the gift I received from my home church family.
Because I work at our church, I rarely get to come to church.
But today- was special. I had very few responsibilities in the morning and was able to be in church, rather than work.

I want to remember the moments, the glimpses of love that I saw today… so I’m scribing them here.

Tres, sitting in the sanctuary when I arrived.
Regina singing Revelation Song in the warm-up (I came undone).
William standing with his arm around Ben during the service, instead of at his kit.
Jay’s tribute to Holly’s faith and declaring for all of us… that “it is well with my soul.” His conviction made me believe it could be true.
Barbara throwing out her message and used the Word to help me understand the beauty of my design as a Martha” and that Jesus loves Martha/Janet.
The comfort washing over me of Bob’s voice on Rescue
Being hugged by the 2/3 of the Schroeder women
The way the crew served with excellence and I had absolutely nothing to worry or think about.
Kathy proactively switching gears on message graphics.
Travis’ constant encouragement and desire to give me a much needed break.
Laura sitting in the eleventh hour and then back to lead the 5pm, sitting on the edge of the stage- talking to our church family.
Carolyn and Dania without training wheels.
Looking around the room from a normal seat- seeing so many dear friends.
Knowing. Knowing the band was playing hurting.
What a gift.
What an amazing gift to be ministered to, to be reminded that God is sovereign, that He loved us more even than we love Holly and the kids, that I was in a sanctuary where I could just be… sobbing through worship, holding on tightly to my family, and to be affirmed and challenged how we can get up tomorrow and in turn minister to Holly and the kids.

So to my dear church family- thank you so much for what will likely be my new answer to the best gift I’ve ever received. The church being the church.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This I Believe: Different Kids, Different Stuff

This morning I shared a "This I Believe" statement on motherhood.
It was a very interesting experience... coming up with "one", writing, rewriting, wondering if it was true of me and hoping it wasn't too late for it to continue to be more and more true.

In rehearsal this morning I thought my reading was very dry so I asked if we could have live music underscore and Chris and Marshall played. Something very tender about having your kid play, while you talk about parenting him and his sisters, who at the eleventh hour service were also in the room.

Here's the script:

As a mother I believe, "Different kids, different stuff" Different opportunites, different expectations, different communication styles even, different… curfews.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I believe this is true not just of adults, but of our children. We are each God’s workmanship, literally a thing of God’s making, and that's why I say, “Different kids, different stuff”

We have three very different kids. I can only explain it as God's intent and design that the same set of genes produced three remarkably different kids.
In our culture, we’re programmed to channel our children to pursue sports, music, education, and financial success. But I believe, as a follower of Christ, my greatest encouragement to my kids should come when they pursue God and the use of their spiritual gifts to do the good works which God has prepared for them to do, in our home that’s mercy, administration, teaching, communication and service.

This has challenged me.
I’m sure this never happens to you, but in our home when a child succeeds I can feel pretty proud as a parent, as if I have anything really to do with it. But, what we may really be experiencing in their achievements is God’s touch on them when they serve Him as they are designed.

His design intended for His purpose, for which He should receive praise.

I believe that one of my greatest responsibilities as a parent, a mother, is making sure the discovery of God’s design for them is high on our family radar. Parenting them to explore opportunities which create natural and unique pathways toward what God may have in mind for them, rather than toward our own glory or even theirs.

Happy Mother’s Day