Well, it was my plan to write this out yesterday, but if you go over to Who can find... you'll find out what God's been doing in me in addition to being all "snotsied" up (that's code for being sick with a cold) as my kids put it (thanks Auntie Kissie for the passing on the talk that gets funny looks from people :-)
As I shared a bit yesterday though, I took my kids to the family service at my church, where entire families stay together, no matter the ages of the kiddos, for the entire service. At first I was really uncomfortable doing this. I think I even left the service and went home the first time I tried. But I've had that desire to just be genuine in worship before my kids and to teach them to listen to God's word, even without all the fancy-shmancy kids Bibles and resources I can use to make it easier to communicate with them. Those things definitely have their place in this house. I'm using a lot of props and aides, servants really, to help me teach my kids God's word. But I still have a desire to teach them to just be quiet and listen and trust by faith that though it's not "kid friendly", the Spirit of God is just as powerful in doing it's work in their hearts through the simple hearing of the word as it is in mine.
So yesterday and the last Sunday (last month) I took them to this service turned out really well. I prepped them with a promised reward if they could sit and listen and remember one thing. One word, anything. Just something that shows me they retained something and a point from which we can talk about what they retained. This Sunday they both remembered something from the worship, a lyric, but my 4 year old also remembered the subject of the Bible teaching, "the guy that didn't walk and they healed him."
This week I brought a journal and pencil for them to doodle in during the service and asked them to draw what they heard. A friend of mine had suggested this and because they both love to "write" or draw, I thought it would be good. It didn't turn out to be a winner this time anyway. They both just doodled a little and then got bored.
Though they squirmed a bit they were listening. And on the way home we talked about the lyrics from the worship song they remembered and the subject of the Bible teaching. I shared with them what Jesus taught me in the service. Then today we got to see the power of God to take my doubting, fearful heart and seemingly meaningless offering and use it to play out the things they heard yesterday (You can read about that here). I'm so excited! I'm truly believing this is the power of God I'm seeing in little, even inconvenient things. I'm a mess, I can do nothing. Squirming in church is not as relaxing as a "worshipful" atmosphere minus kids, but when I've let God take me down paths I didn't think were the right or best way, I'm discovering HIM! Which is so much better than a worshipful atmosphere!
It's funny. I grew up this way. Going to a non-Sunday school church and to Sunday school churches. There was dogma and legalism that took the worship right out of it all but when faith is mixed with simply hearing the word, at any age, I'm beginning to believe there's great benefit in us being together as a family and in a corporate gathering where the sounds of children amidst preaching from scripture aren't seen as distraction but family worshipping and meeting with God. I think there's a time for both.
Sunday's are always a day where the magnifying glass perspective my kids have when observing my husband and I is very obvious: mommy's going to church and daddy's not. My older boy has been verbalizing his want for daddy to go to church lately either in the car or in protests before we get to the car. It's really bothersome to me, but I'm just letting the magnified obviousness of our division be and trusting God to work out the results. I've been prayerful and for now, just continue to stand in going without my man and occasionally staying home if so led, and when we do go, letting my boys share their hearts without a fix-it answer or solution from me.
Being in this weird, uncomfortable position is where I feel God wants me to remain for now. Maybe He's waiting for Egypt to get closer before He parts the Red Sea and says get movin! I don't know. I just know for now, I'm seeing fertile ground being carved out in my kids' hearts and the very real need for God's supernatural intervention in saving them (like all of us) from the influence of the world on their naturally self-centered flesh.