We Have to Put the Basket With the Baby in the Water

copy-of-a-mothers-sacrifice-johebed-mirium-and-mosesI used to agonize over how my children and grandchildren would turn out.  When I saw them making poor choices I would try to ‘fix it’ for them so they wouldn’t experience the pain I knew was sure to come. 

When they were little it was easier to do this and be in complete control of what their choices were…but as they got older and became their own person I began to realize I was losing that control, and fear would grip me.  

Father-and-child-holding-hands-247x300As a parent you learn with each new year in the upbringing of your children that each year you have to let go a little more if you want them to learn how to grow up and make good choices.  From the time that baby takes his first step he is always moving away from you.  Oh, at first they toddle into your arms, but soon they start toddling off to explore on their own.

And the years accumulate…and one day you have grandchildren.   As a grandparent you feel a whole new set of worries and even more the lack of control as  your offspring grows and develops. 

The cycle goes on and one.

All throughout my children’s lives I prayed Psalm 91 over them and it brought me great peace for His constant intervention in their lives. 

That because “ they  dwell in the secret place of the Most High they shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty Whose power no foe can withstand.” 

And I would pray the whole 91st Psalm through with their names right in there.

I also prayed Isaiah 54:13

jesus and boyAnd all my children shall be disciples, taught by the Lord and obedient to His will, and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of my children.”

Now, my adult children have learned the value of praying the words of God’s own protection over their own families.

One day as I was praying for my grand kids and trying to not worry about their lives that I had less control over, Jesus spoke to me.

This is what He said:

“Dixie, did you not pray my word over your children all the years they were growing up?”

“Yes, Lord, you know I did.”

Do you think my word returns to me void?  That it just fades away,  or does it accomplish the very thing you have prayed in the lives of your children ?”

“I believed and have witnessed your word at work in them always, and I know they love you and are protected by you..so the answer is YES!”

“Do you believe your grandchildren are your children too?  And are They a part of you?”

Starting to get it now, I said, “Why, yes they are!”   Then He said,

That same word that you prayed for so many years for your babies, now covers your grand babies as well…my word never stops and always accomplishes what I sent it out to do.  Your faithfulness to pray will cover your generation and generations to come will know me because of your prayers.”

Light Dawning!!   Wow!

So, here is what He showed me.

 

Baby-Moses-EBack in the time of Moses, Pharaoh felt threatened by the Israelites and ordered all the midwives to kill any baby boys born to the Israelite people by drowning them in the Nile River. 

But Moses’ mother wouldn’t have it.  She hid him as long as she could, and when she could no longer hide him, she put him in a basket and put the basket in the water among the reeds of the Nile. 

The very river that could have drowned him was now his refuge. 

She had no idea what would happen to her baby, but she trusted the plan of God for her and her baby. 

As we know, baby Moses was drawn out of the water and would one day grow to become one of the greatest heroes of the Bible – the one who would rescue God’s people from slavery and lead them to the Promised Land.

There comes a time – many times, actually – in the lives of our children where we have to put the basket in the water.  Being a Mom, and a Nana I have had to do this many times and not without much pain. 

Gosh, it is so hard to let go of them, isn’t it?

We have to let go and trust the plan of the Father.  The world is a scary place – a place where we fear our children could drown.  But we must remember that we have to let go so that God can draw them from the waters for His great purpose.  He has called us to be their parents, but they were His first. 

My friend, whatever water you may be getting ready to put your basket into – whether your days as a stay-at-home-mom are ending as your child starts preschool soon or if your baby has grown into a high school graduate and is getting ready to leave your home, or if your children are grown and have babies of their own – remember that you have to put them in the water for God to draw them out and place them into His perfect plan.

father-and-son-4-300x200
Though you might not be physically present with your child as much during the next phase of life, you can always call for  the heart of the Father on their behalf.  And when you do this, that same Spirit that Jesus left with His disciples – that same Helper – intercedes for you, and in that you can find peace. And it doesn’t stop when they are grown.   He will continue to cover them and intercede for them and their children as life goes on.  

You are doing great.  Find His peace in the fact that He will sustain you and your offspring for always.   Your prayers are NEVER wasted!!

angel

Job well done, friend.

 

Christmas Nostalgia

Through popular demand I am reprinting a favorite of readers for this Christmas season.  Enjoy!!

18082_414036048670059_1097203773_nThis time of year turns my heart back to family, and those warm memories of when my kids were little and all the excitement of the holidays and watching their faces of wonderment as we decorated the tree and prepared for all of our family traditions.  I actually conjure up tears of longing for those days gone by since my babies are not babies anymore.  It was one of the happiest times of my life.

When they were little I never wanted them out of my sight.  I kept them so close.  I endeavored to build into them a confidence that I would always be there for them.  Beginning with that first step at around one year old; when a mom has that sense of uneasiness that already they are beginning to move away from us.  I sense it.  I was like any other Mom when their adorable child takes the first step.  You feel like they are the smartest kid in the world.  But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each new day in their young lives they would move a little bit farther away from me, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there.  Ouch!

67608_415530141853983_985983354_nMy determination became to teach them about Jesus every chance I could.  I would not leave it up to their Sunday school teachers, Christian School teachers, or anyone else to do my job of bringing my kids to Christ and to the best of my ability teach them how to live.  I wanted them to know that whatever came into their life they would always have Him and He would direct their paths and be their constant companion.    They both came to me at around 4 or 5 years old and asked if I would pray with them to invite Jesus into their young lives.  What a joy that day was!! 

Hewlett-PackardNow, as a Grandmother I have endeavored to be the same kind of example to my grandchildren.  

But I digress….

When my babies started school, this is how it went: Kindergarten and first grade when they would return to me at the end of their day, they were always full of joy to see me, we had a snack together and they would play and rest.  I would say, “I’m so glad  you are home”….and I meant it.

The following years came and went with each new year they grew a little more independent.  At first they wanted to be where they could see me, but not too hovering or clingy.  Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said, “Mom, I’m home”, and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.

Brother and Sister RunningThen came Junior High School; the time when I  became an embarrassment to them if they were seen with me in front of their friends.  And the time when you wonder if aliens have inhabited your kids.  One day they get up and they even look different.  Then they open their mouths and then you know for sure it is not them…and a part of you grieves.  You know that your babies are not babies anymore.  That time is past.  But wait, they still come home at the end of the day and yell, “Mom, I’m home”, and for a moment all is well with the world again.  They still have weak moments of reverting back on occasion and when no one is looking they would lay their head on my shoulder or hug me, and my heart would soar once again.

And High School followed.  This was a tough time for me because it was when my own life fell apart.  To learn more about that you will have to read my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” and you will find it on Amazon.   The kids’ Dad had left us and so we were driven closer together in adversity by having to move out of our house and into a tiny apartment, but farther apart because it was a time they tried to find their bearings in life, and it seems like they slipped right out of my grasp.  It was painful in not only the loss of my life as I knew it but also I couldn’t pretend my kids were babies anymore.  And I was alone; double whammy.  Now, we all went different ways.  But they still came home at the end of their days at some point, and I would always hear, “Mom, I’m home”…..and for a brief moment I closed my eyes and hung onto those memories once again.

suitcaseThen they left.  They flew out of the nest.  And oh, it was so painful to let my babies go.  All  you parents out there who have had kids leave, can relate.  A hole is left in your heart that it takes a while to figure out how to function again without your kids always being in the back of your mind and how whatever you are doing might affect them.  They have their own life now.

But then they would come back to see me and once again I heard that welcome phrase when they would walk in the door; “Mom, I’m home”……I realized, at that point, that to them, it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…It was the fact that home is where I am.

They are 38 and 42 today and when I look at them I still see my babies.  And they will flinch when they read this but, no kidding!   I think that is how God sees us.  Not by our age but because we are His children He always loves us as such.  Of course we have to grow up, even as our earthly kids do, and mature into an even greater relationship with Him.  And this is what I want for my kids.  My kids still say, “Mom, I’m home”, or sometimes, “Mom, I’m here”, always knowing that I will be overjoyed to see them at any time.

One day my life here on earth will be through and I will be in Heaven.  My vision has always been that on a given day in Heaven as I am going about my tasks that Jesus and I decide will be my calling there, everything will stop for me.  Suddenly an awareness will fill my being that something wonderful is about to happen.  I hear a distant familiar sound!  The anticipation and joy lifts me off the ground in awesome glory.   And then, I will hear it oh so clearly; the voice of my children is as familiar as my own voice.  “Mom, I’m Home”….”Home” now being our real home, Heaven, where we were always meant to be after this brief life on earth.   Oh what joy will fill my heart. 

jesus-and-meWe will never be apart but we will all be home with our wonderful Jesus and each other.  “Mom, we are home”….to dwell together for all eternity.  This is our heritage, dear parents.  This life with our kids is so short compared to eternity spent with them in God’s kingdom.  Tell your children about Jesus every chance you get for as they grow in Him He will be their stabilizing force!!  It is never too late, either, to share this good news with your kids if they don’t already know it.  There is a wonderful place we are all going to live after this life.   

“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

IMG_0758My children today!!

 

Loving Those Words, “Mom I’m Home.” …. A Mother’s Day Story

A few years back I wrote about how Christmas conjured up images of days gone by with my babies.  Modified a bit to relate my thoughts to Mother’s Day this week, I want to share the story with you once again.

THANKHEAVENFORLITTLEGIRLS-2Tears of longing well up in my eyes thinking of those days gone by, since my babies are not babies anymore.  It was the happiest time of my life. 

Now, I have beautiful and crazy loved grandchildren, and can watch my children experience the same feelings I did as history once again repeats itself.

When Jason and Heather were little I never wanted them out of my sight.  I kept them so close. 

I endeavored to build into them a confidence that I would always be there for them, believing that they would know this is how God is too.  He would never leave them or forsake them as they grew into adults.

Beginning with that first step at around one years old, when a mom has that sense of uneasiness, that already they are beginning to move away from us. 

I sensed it. 

I was like any other Mom when their adorable baby takes that first step.  You just know they are the smartest kid in the world.  But deep down was this feeling of dread; that each step was away from me into discovering a whole new world, until one day, God forbid, they would leave and start a life without me there.  But we quickly push those thoughts from us convincing ourselves that was a million years away.

When they were small my determination was to teach them about Jesus every chance I could.  I would not leave it up to their Sunday school teachers, Christian school teachers, or anyone else to do my job of bringing my kids to Christ and to the best of my ability teach them how to live. 

I wanted them to know that whatever came into their life they would always have Him, and He would direct their paths and be their constant companion.  They both came to me at around 4 or 5 years old and asked if I would pray with them to invite Jesus into their young lives. 

What a joy that day was!! 

Then my babies started school.  And this is how it went: Kindergarten and first grade when they would return to me at the end of their day they were always full of joy to see me, we had a snack together and they would play and rest.  I would say, “I’m so glad you are home”….and I meant it.

The following years came and went.  With each new year they grew a little more independent.  At first they wanted to be where they could see me, but they didn’t want me to be too hovering or clingy.  

Every day when they would come home the instant they opened the door they always said, “Mom, I’m home.”    

Brother and Sister Running… and I would breathe easy once again because my babies were mine again, at least for that day.

Then came Junior High School; the time when I became an embarrassment to them if they were seen with me in front of their friends. 

And the time when you wonder if aliens have inhabited your kids. 

One day they get up and they even look different.  Then they open their mouths and then you know for sure it is not them…and a part of you grieves. 

You know that your babies are not babies anymore.  That time is past.  But wait, they still come home at the end of the day and yell, “Mom, I’m home.”

And for a moment all is well with the world again.  They would still have weak moments of reverting back to their earlier childhood on occasion and when no one was looking they would lay their head on my shoulder or hug me, and my heart would soar once again.

And High School followed.  

This was a tough time for me because it was when my own life fell apart. 

(To learn more about that you will have to read my book, “Climbing Out of the Box” and you will find it on Amazon.)  

The kids’ Dad had left us and so we were driven closer together in adversity by having to move out of our house and into a tiny apartment.  But farther apart, as well, because it was a time they were trying to find their bearings in a life they didn’t expect, and it seems like they slipped right out of my grasp. 

It was painful in not only the loss of my life as I knew it, but also I couldn’t pretend my kids were babies anymore.  And I was alone; double whammy. 

Now, we all went different ways.  But they still came home at the end of their days at some point, and I would always hear, “Mom, I’m home”.

…..and for a brief moment I closed my eyes and hung onto those memories once again.

Then they left.  One day they were just gone.  Does anything ever prepare us for the empty nest engulfment?  

And oh, it was so painful to let my babies go.   

A hole is left in your heart and it takes a while to figure out how to function again without your kids always being in the back of your mind and how whatever you are doing might affect them.   

They have their own life now.

But then they would come back to see me and once again I heard that welcome phrase when they would walk in the door;

“Mom, I’m home”……I realized then that it wasn’t where I lived that was their home…

It was the fact that home is where I am .

They are 37 and 42 today and when I look at them I still see my babies.

And they will flinch when they read this but, no kidding!  

I think that is how God sees us.  Not by our age but because we are His children He always loves us as such.  He sees the real us, our heart.

Of course we have to grow up, even as our earthly kids do, and mature into an even greater relationship with Him. 

And this is what I want for my kids.  My kids still say, “Mom, I’m home”, or sometimes, “Mom, I’m here”, always knowing that I will be overjoyed to see them at any time.

One day my life here on earth will be through and I will be in Heaven. 

My vision has always been that on a given day in Heaven as I am going about my tasks that Jesus and I decide will be my calling there, everything will stop for me.  

Suddenly an awareness will fill my being that something wonderful is about to happen.  Someone I love is coming!

I hear a distant familiar sound!  The anticipation and joy lifts me off the ground in awesome glory.  

And then, I will hear it oh so clearly; the voice of my children is as familiar as my own voice. 

“Mom, I’m Home”….

”Home” now being our real home, Heaven, where we were always meant to be after this brief life on earth.  

Oh what joy will fill my heart.  We will never be apart but we will all be home with our wonderful Jesus and each other.  

“Mom, we are home”….to dwell together for all eternity. 

This is our heritage dear parents.  This life with our kids is so short compared to eternity spent with them in God’s kingdom.  Tell your children about Jesus every chance you get for as they grow in Him He will be their stabilizing force!!  It is never too late, either, to share this good news with your kids if they don’t already know it.  There is a wonderful place we are all going to live after this life.   

IMG_0758“No eye  has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has   imagined what  God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9  NLT

Jason and Heather today……..

 

 

We are All a Mess..And the Creatures of the Forest

forest-animals-3I want to tell you a story. 

The names have been changed to protect the guilty.  For they have already been forgiven.  

We read about each other’s journeys, memoirs and daily exploits.  We picture others lives as victorious and grand. 

Why, because many of us share only those parts of ourselves we want people to know about, right?   Many of us are learning to be more transparent and vulnerable and thank God for that!!  It is only as others see those parts of our lives that we keep hidden that they can identify with us and it gives them hope as we find our way.  The truth is:

WE ARE ALL A MESS!

A beautiful mess…

We all have a story.

Oh, yes, we are all growing and maturing if our walk is with the One who loves us the most. But when it comes to outward appearances we are all quite private, mostly, and we are all too embarrassed to allow others in…especially when it involves our offspring straying from what we think and sometimes KNOW they should not be doing.     When we look at others lives we tend to look at the children, who are many times all grown up, and we are aghast that they live real lives, with really bad choices sometimes.

 We are all part of a family; some with young kids and some with grown kids and grand kids and some who are elderly and tend to live their lives through their offspring. 

We can’t control them all, can we?   If you have tried to control them, how is that working for you?

After giving them an upbringing the best we knew with what we had in that season of our lives it is now our job to then let go, and let them find their way with occasional counsel from us—but only if they want it!

Actually, if you are like me you have discovered that you can’t control anyone or “fix” anyone at all—even our children.   It is a walk of surrender, trust, and waiting on God to see Him move in those we love.

This is why I am quite amused by the sitcom Parenthood.   It is a combination of stories of a family and extended family of each child, grandchild, and the parents;  all living their own lives– but intertwining those lives back to the a original family of mom and dad.  It follows their ups and downs and daily drama and how they all relate.   I know our lives are like this in real life.  In our family, when we all get together we all talk at the same time, just like in the sitcom, and there is always drama, and somehow it all makes sense. 

So, rather haltingly, because I have not written this way before, I  have put together a story, using false names, to relate what I have seen in the struggles of so many that I coach.

Let me introduce you to the Squirrel family; squirrels-family

Mr. Squirrel, Mrs. Squirrel, and their delightful children; Hector, Missy, and JoJo.   Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel found God when they were very young and vowed that their family would serve God all their days and that they would not have kids like those worldly animals outside the Church of the Forest.  Their kids would be different.squirrels

Every Sunday the Squirrel family all scampered off to the little church in the forest, to fellowship. .  Hector, Missy, and JoJo were raised in the Church of the Forest’s nursery, and then Youth church of the forest, and then they graduated to where the adult animals gathered, Big Squirrel Church.   

The squirrels made really sure they always sat among their kind, meaning all the other squirrels, so as not to allow their children to be influenced by those questionable Raccoon and Rat families.   

This is how the Squirrel children were raised and they were not allowed to even talk to the ones on the outside of their forest circle, lest they be tainted by the world…in fact, they were tree schooled so they would not have to be out in the world at all.

One day teen age Hector said he was tired of going to that boring forest church.   He wanted to go to the annual “Nut Gathering Concert” by Herman and the Blue Jays that Sunday.  blue jay

What?  “How could he desert us and join those heathen”, said mom and dad Squirrel.  “He surely knows better!”

Soon Missy and JoJo, following Hectors lead, began to want to do other things more interesting to them on Sundays as well.   They became fashion conscious and began to wear questionable furry things over their little heads that made their ears stand out, and they revealed a little too much in Mr. Squirrels eyes.  

They painted their little faces, and wore fashionable acorn hats.  Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel were horrified, and tried to put up boundaries, and banned them to their rooms at night. 

But Missy and JoJo would sneak out and join the wild ones of the forest and saw many tempting and delightful things that were expressly forbidden in their home.  They felt so grown up.

They even went to see forbidden movies in the forest amphitheater after hours, like, “Dirty Weasel”.

Mom and Dad became aware that their control in the lives of the baby squirrels was slipping.   The children began to run the forest with questionable characters, such as Mickey, the Ferret, who claimed that God wasn’t real and influenced them to join him smoking berry joints.   Ferret

And then there were the horrid frog brothers, Castor, and Juice!  They loved to hang out and jump around intoxicated on the spirits of mushrooms and were totally indecent creatures.  They were the bad boys of the forest, and everyone knows that girls have a soft spot for the bad boys.   The squirrel kids thought they were so cool, and soon, they defied Mom and Dad Squirrel to join their friends in swinging from trees and eating tainted nuts and flies, supplied by Mickey, the Ferret.  frogs

Pure rebellion!

Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel wondered where they went wrong.  They lost sleep.  They prayed.  They fasted.  They beat themselves up. They withdrew from their friends out of shame and failure.

“How could we not see this coming?  Didn’t we pray enough?  Where did we miss it?”  They cried.

They felt shame and didn’t want to share with others what was happening to their perfect little family. 

“Should we call on the forest therapist, Harry, the buck?”  They asked each other.  buck

They decided to just pray– but they just couldn’t stop giving their kids ultimatums and demands to straighten up and fly right because that was all they could think of doing!  They felt so out of control. 

But Hector, Missy, and JoJo ignored their pleas and just kept growing up and doing their own thing, rebelling against authority with the rebels of the forest. 

One day, Missy met Rastus the Raccoon and fell instantly in love.   Mrs. Squirrel was beside herself as to how Mr. Squirrel would react when he found out his daughter was in love with an outsider.  raccoon

The Raccoons were not like the Squirrels and she knew the rest of the church family would gossip and talk about how they, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel, could possibly tolerate a raccoon in their family.  And for that matter they wondered what else was hidden in the Squirrel family that the animals at the Church of the Forest didn’t know about. 

And, oh my, what would people think?    The whole forest knew the Squirrel family were the most upright in the forest!!

Next JoJo met Squirmy, the hot little rat who ruled the ratunderworld of the subculture of the forest.  He loved to mock the system of religion in the forest and had his own ideas of how he wanted his life to go and JoJo found him fascinating.   They defied JoJo’s childhood teachings and warnings and soon they found out they were going to have a little squirrel-rat in the spring—outside marriage. 

The horror.

Mrs. Squirrel fainted.

Now, Hector, was out swinging one day and he noticed this hot little fox, Francesca, sitting on a log.  She was petite and feminine but lived on the other side of the creek.   She was everything he was taught to not become involved with.  And she was very promiscuous….and had a really bad reputation among the creatures of the forest and she smoked berry joints and drank tainted mushroom water.   But Hector was smitten and he began dating her at the Pine Needle Bar every night.  Soon they were in love and eloped before Mr. And Mrs. Squirrel even knew about the relationship.  fox

Mr. Squirrel drank a mushroom brew when he found out and was out of it for days.

Now, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel became very discouraged.  Was all their years of teaching and protecting and controlling in vain?  They were now judged and condemned by the church creatures instead of supported and prayed for.  They were so embarrassed by their children’s choices they stopped going to the gatherings all together. 

But when they were ostracized by most of the animals in their church (whose kids were not grown yet, or they had no kids) and found themselves alone, they finally began to look to God for answers.  God taught them that all their children had been taught the right way to live.  Now, they had to let them go to learn on their own.  Even if that meant they would fail. 

The word said they would eventually come back to their roots of learning right from wrong.  But even if it was not in the parents timing, God would bring them back.   They discovered if they tried to fix their children the result would be that they only pulled away more.  So, they defied what the gossips were saying and began loving their children and their families and accepted them into the fold.  The revelation that they could love, even if they didn’t agree with some of the things their children did, actually made the kids all want to be around them more.

It was love in the end that brought them all back together.  Oh, there is plenty of drama, and always some crisis or another, but Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel found that since they couldn’t fix their kids, that God did a much better job.

And you know what, Squirmy, Rastus, and Francesca, ended up wanting more information about God…and one day showed up at the Church of the Forest with their spouses leading the way. 

The moral of this story?

It says in Isaiah 54:13 Amp.

“And all your children shall be disciples [taught by the Lord and obedient to His will], and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.

I know there are so many whose children are still out there living lives that do not line up with where they should be. 

And it scares us. 

And it hurts our pride. 

It somehow reflects on us in our own minds.

So, we suffer alone.  This is not good. 

We need each other!!

Jesus promises us that as we lean into Him and trust Him that He will do His work in our offspring and He gives us peace in the meantime.  Even though our children are a part of who we are, there comes a time to let go and trust that whatever they are doing, and wherever they go, that He will keep them and move in their hearts.

Thus says the Lord: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and [your children] shall return from the enemy’s land.  And there is hope for your future, says the Lord; your children shall come back to their own country.Jer. 31:16-17 Amp  christ-with-animals

“Church Lady”…or Devoted Lover?

allthatineedI love the church.   If you know Jesus then you are the church too;  One of the many members of the Church, the Body, of Jesus, who is our Head.  But I was brought up spiritually in a church building for many years, and I loved it. 

Somewhere along the way I lost the mentality that I was there to grow in Jesus. 

Oh yes, I was taught that I was the temple where Jesus lived, but I was also taught I had to be in a building to truly walk with him.   It took me too long to realize that being a ‘church lady’ didn’t mean I knew anything about the heart and passion of God.

Oh, I yearned for it, so put on the face that I already had that passion filled relationship with Jesus, and had the pious face down pat, as if I had it together. I had the Christian-ease language down pat, too.    For many years I was very involved in just about everything that was happening in the church building.  

I was involved in potlucks, gospel sing alongs,  committee meetings, bake sales, car washes, retreats, conferences and any other spiritual sounding activity that was advertised in the church building. Then I started a women’s ministry and it grew and grew.  I absolutely loved it.  I had a place and felt loved and accepted.  I loved the people, the busy-ness, and the routine.  I was really good at doing church and I looked the part, too. Busy-Woman-1147825

I had a good heart. 

I was so drawn to God and yearned to serve Him and thought that is what I was doing.  But over time, more serving, and more ministries later it all became a checklist or a substitute for a deeper passion.

It became a “doing” instead of a “becoming.”

I still love the church.  I just missed the whole point God was yearning for me to see for many years.  If you have read my book, Climbing Out of the Box, you will see where it led me.  However, I digress.

Somehow I loved becoming the church lady and mistook that title for becoming godly. 

It felt so good to be in the church clicks, though. And I saw others left out of those groups to which I turned a blind eye.  

So, I busied myself in  those good works of bringing food to the sick, planning baby showers and helping at funerals, and teaching Sunday school.  It can feel so good to be needed that it can become a substitute for a passionate pursuit of God.

Don’t get me wrong; Service, fellowship, and giving are wonderful and a part of the calling for every believer, but serving and doing do not equal a relationship with God.  They do not get us closer to the mark,  and sometimes can become a wall we hide behind. And so we pretend we know what we are talking about and every Sunday we sit in a pew, staring at the backs of heads, listen to a sermon, and go home.

And wonder why that gaping hole in our hearts is still there.

Every Sunday morning parents hand their babies over to the good people who work in the nurseries.  Then they go serve in hundreds of places within the building.  They may never even make it to the service, but it is okay because they have been to church.  Some have hidden there for years.

So many of us are “doing” like crazy.

Not many of us are “becoming.”   Women Bow And Pray

My coaching business over the last few years has been full of women and men, who were dying on the inside.  Service and hospitality was not cutting it for them.  Hearts are broken and lives are hurting.  They longed to know that Jesus really loved them—somehow they missed that part while they were busy doing.  They are worn out with good works without realizing how to have a one on one with Jesus. 

Yet we keep signing up for one more thing. 

Hoping we will find Jesus there.

When we get the church lady thing going it is easy to pretend we have it all together.  I did.  Everyone thought I was so together and many wanted to be me.  I dressed fashionable, and had a sweet smile on my face.  My kids were impeccibly dressed, and we were the ‘perfect’ family. 

But inside; well that was another story.  

My marriage was falling apart.  I had been molested as a child and had not told a soul yet.  I had not even begun my healing and was convinced I would go to the grave with my secret.  So, I had to get even more busy to outrun the ugly truth. 

I had no self esteem.   376692_405449249517629_858305305_n

Soon I learned I could fill that need to be validated by being in the church clicks and there was always a need for one more worker to keep it all going. 

I became addicted to ministry to fill my gapping hole of need.

Ministry took the place of a passion filled relationship with a very real Jesus.  It wasn’t until I lost it all did Jesus finally break into my religiosity and reveal Himself  personally in all His glory. 

And when that happened?   I was doing nothing in the church– I had lost it all.  It was in the wilderness of my life that I met Jesus face to face…when everything and everyone else was gone.

Only Jesus didn’t leave.

That is when I learned that I am the Church.  You are the church.  We are all the church body.  

Getting off the merry go round of hiding behind our good works is about laying down all pretense and facades.  It is about stepping outside the lines you have drawn around your spirituality and seeing what God has for you.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we only ascribe the term ‘church’ to weekend gatherings or institutions that have organized themselves as ‘churches’ we miss out on what it means to live as Christ’s body. It will give us a false sense of security to think that by attending a meeting once a week and work ourselves to the bone;  then we are participating in God’s church.

But if the church is something we are, not someplace we go, how can we leave it unless we abandon Christ himself? We can’t.  We may join other believers anywhere, but it doesn’t define our personal love relationship with Jesus.

If we think only of a specific congregation as our part of the church, haven’t we separated ourselves from a host of other brothers and sisters that do not attend the same gathering that we do? Are we not called into the market place?

If you have hung your spirituality on inward files with neat little answers for every situation, hang on, because God is probably getting ready to blow the lid off of your box. 

You may need to allow Him to restructure your thinking a bit of why you do what you do; with all the strong essential elements of your faith still there, just rearranged to reflect to you more clearly the heart of God.

Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.  Out of that body life, of course comes service.  But if that is what defines your relationship with God, you will soon become a “church lady” too…..Or maybe a “church man.” 

I pray that we all are renewed in a passion for Jesus no matter where we find real fellowship with other believers; a genuine concern for each other and a willingness to serve the world with God’s love, which can only come from, not service, but relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that relationship we will be His hand extended to a lost world.  praying-woman