Now that we have found a rhythm in our life as a family of three, we decided to emerge from the world of online worship and put our feet back inside of a church. Stepping through those doors two weeks ago was like a breath of fresh air. To be back in the midst of the body of believers, to be surrounded by a community with a heartbeat and desire to serve God, to worship outside of my pajamas…I savored it all.
We brought William with us and he had his first experience at kid’s church. At his current age, it is just nursery daycare, but it is still a big deal for him. The first week was a little unnerving, since it was all completely new, but he survived. When we returned the following Sunday, he knew what was going to happen and quickly became very unhappy. It was heartbreaking to leave him, but the lovely ladies in the nursery assured us that we would be paged if he continued to be upset. We never received a page, so were excited and proud to pick him up once the service was over.
When we rounded the corner and our little love came into view, I saw something that I will never forget for as long as I live. There, on the floor surround by toys, was our boy sitting with a friend, babbling and sharing a bag of Puffs. I know it sounds completely ordinary, but to me it was much more…it was our boy relaxed, happy, and at home in church.
I was immediately overcome with gratitude that we live in a country where we are able to worship freely in places with wonderful child care. When William turns two he will officially start Sunday school and the thought of that is enough to do me in. I am so incredibly humbled by the thought that there will be people week after week to love on my boy and to teach him about Christ, filling in the holes that we miss, and giving another voice to the faith that we treasure. What an incredible gift.
As I thought about all of this, I found myself flooded by memories of my own experiences growing up in the church. I thought about my time in Sunday school and then youth group…Wednesday night suppers, mission trips, flannel boards, weekend retreats, animal crackers, uncomfortable shoes, Bible studies, and unforgettable friends. I thought about the lessons I learned, the Scriptures I memorized, the questions I asked, the trips I took, and the experiences that changed me forever. I remembered the faces–the friends and the leaders, the old and the young–some who remain beside me today and those who are now only familiar in my memories. Church helped grow me into the woman I have become. It was there, through the commitment of so many faithful people, that I came to know the God who relentlessly pursued me and found a passion in His calling. Thankful doesn’t even come close to capturing my gratitude–my life was permanently transformed by the time I spent there.
So while it seems inconsequential to note this image of my boy eating Puffs in Sunday school, to me it was the start of something…the start of something huge. It marked the first chapter in what I pray will be a lifelong relationship between my boy, the body of believers, and the God who loves him more than he will ever comprehend.
So. Very. Thankful.