My children, especially my daughter, loves to give me the death glare (that she learned from her dad) and yank on my arm at the end of church service when her and her brother see me mingling with other people because they are ready to leave as soon as the closing prayer is over. In fact, they would leave even before it is over, if only I wasn’t on stage playing guitar, and if they could somehow disappear by teleporting themselves back home at the age of 10 and 11. Annnd, if I told it all, I would add that if they could somehow escape from attending church all together, they would likely opt to not go, however, that isn’t EVEN an option in this house. (Joshua 24:15) Well, as far as I’m concerned (and have two legs to walk to church if need be anyway).
This is my stance on church attendance. But it’s not even about going to church that is the main concern for me right now with this blog article. Let’s go beyond the question of ‘Why do we go to church‘ to instead talk about ‘Why do you talk so much‘?
That is the real question. According to my daughter, it doesn’t matter where we are… I’m always talking to somebody. WHY is that???
Setting the scene.
As we walked to the bowling alley after church service (I worship with the POTR 5pm contemporary service on USAG Daegu, Camp Walker, US Army military installation in South Korea.) I reiterated WHY I do what I do. Repetition is important at times like this. I want my children to know WHY I do these “annoying” things that I do. It’s not just to bother them or to hold them back from doing what THEY want to do, but it is actually for a specific purpose that I “talk all the time” to the people who are around me.
I will share with you some of what we discussed while walking to the bowling alley:
“Madelyn, why do we go to church?”
audible sigh “so we can learn about God”
“and who does God care about?”
“yes … and so… who should we care about?”
another deep sigh (which I admit, I do ignore. I must focus on the point at hand here and not get derailed… ) “everyone” she responds
“and so how do we show that we care about everyone?”
“I don’t know” … “um… we can be kind to them”
(cue monologue music) (By the way, her brother has zipped past us and is walking waaaaaaaay ahead as he knew where we were headed and I believe he was trying to avoid listening to the lesson that he knew was coming as they both chose to harass me in the church service in order to try and get me to leave earlier.) “God cares about everyone and I want to care about what God cares about. Madelyn, I talk to people to build relationships. That’s the only way to get to know other people is to talk to them. So I talk to them. Because one day, maybe I would get the opportunity to share with them about Jesus. This is what this is all about. God puts people in front of us in different situations and at different times so I take advantage of that and I talk to them. I see how they are. I build relationships. So that I can ultimately tell them and show them Jesus. Who He is. What He did for me, for you and for them. And so that maybe, just maybe they would consider these things and grow into a closer, deeper relationship with God. THAT is why I talk so much and that is why I WILL CONTINUE to talk as long as He gives me breath. Do not grab on my arm when I’m talking to someone like what you were doing tonight. That is rude. You can bring something to do while you wait. You can even get to know better other people there too. There are other children who are there (and that you even like) but you never bother to open your mouth to engage them in conversation. You might be missing out on making a new friend. You know we are not going to be here forever. “
Okay so… that is more than likely how that conversation went back in early January when we were leaving church service. However, this morning, I asked my daughter and my son about this. I said, “Do you remember…?” and then they busted out with their version of the song, which I had to correct and show them the right way to sing Michael Jackson’s Do You Remember complete with the sound effects (and they started laughing). But then I asked again, “Do you remember when you asked me why I talked so much after church?” They said yes and then my son ran off. “Well, do you remember what I said?”
She said, “Because you want to interact with people.”
“So you can talk to them about God.” Then she added that they are like bean sprouts. “Like when a person first becomes a christian their faith is like a bean sprout and you talk to them to help them grow like a full grown plant. Something like that.”
“Did I tell you that?” (silently amazed at myself).
She said she didn’t remember, “it just popped into my head.”
“I’m pretty sure I told you that.”
“Well, wouldn’t you remember then?”
LOL. THIS GIRL.
This is a logo I designed the summer of 2017 for a new group idea I presented to my church leadership. My children were with me as I was homeschooling then and I shared with them (Deut 11:19) what I was doing and why. She just said she didn’t know why the idea of sprouts growing popped into her head but I know that it sounded like this design which I explained to them, back then, that I liked to help people grow in their relationships with the Lord. I wrote about some of these growth fellowships and you can read about them here at https://sejanashines.com/category/womens-growth-fellowship/.
So, going back to that night in early January, after we were done bowling and going home to take a shower and getting ready for bed… my laptop was in my bedroom on my pillow. I come back into my room a while later to find my son running away out of the room after pressing “play.” So I stand there, mouth open, to watch a Google Slides presentation that he created- just for me.
(First of all, I didn’t even know he knew how to make slides like this. And THEN, my husband was laying right there in the bed on his phone and I asked him, “did you know that Caleb was here doing this?” He says, “doing what?” I turn the screen towards him and replay the slides. He bursts out laughing. I say, “I need to get a photo of this” and save his work as a movie to show you here today. )
God sees us; He is with us.
I know my children each have their different ways of communicating with me (my daughter is more direct and sharp whereas my son is indirect bordering on passive-aggressive). They each surprise me with their ways and of course I love them very much. My children teach me about my relationship with God. God is very personal to each one of us and communicates in ways unique to who we are. He understands us (remember HE created us even before we were a thought to our parents or even our parent’s parents!) (Ephesians 1:3-14) and HE shapes us (Isaiah 64:8) to be more like who He created us to be, which is better than what we can think or imagine for ourselves. I am reminded that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He loves us and He has a plan and purpose that extends beyond today but generations and generations into the future. This reminds me of The Skit Guys skit called “God’s Chisel” – have you seen it? If not, click here!
The beautiful thing about all of this is that WE get to join God as He is working in the lives of people, shaping history. Changing trajectories of family patterns through Holy Spirit’s empowering of His people to choose to stand firm upon the strong foundation of the Lord. By studying His Word, living it out, and passing it on (Deut 6:7-12) to the next generations the principals that He gave us. They are for our good and His glory!
Final thoughts and encouragements.
Parents, keep sharing Truths with your children as you raise up the next generation and those under your influence! Even if they protest and would rather not hear you out, keep sharing… you never know what will stick and come back up as thoughts that “just pop into their head.”
Everyone, we have a job to do! The fields are ripe for harvest. Shine the light of the Gospel to this dark world. There is hope and He has a name- His name is Jesus!
Read more about spiritual growth here https://sejanashines.com/category/spiritual-growth/.
Share with me your thoughts about this blog post! Let’s talk!