I’ve mentioned it before, but it encourages me how the work and effort of love transpires into feeling so privilaged to share your life with someone. I know, it soulds like an ode to marriage (which is its own privilage), but I’m talking about Church. Note the big “C”. The people.
One of “my kids” is expecting a baby in another month. How she’s old enough to be married with a job and have a baby is beyond me. I have trouble enough accepting the fact that I’m old enough to reproduce, let alone these souls who were precious to me only 5-7 years ago. And clearly they’re precious to me now, but it’s in a different context.
I sat with 2 of my other girls and the mom of a few of my boys and just caught up on life. I watched MK open onesies and blankets and fill the role of expectant, excited first-time mom. I was just overwhelmed with a sense of privilage. The mom told me her son is making some big “life decisions” (and good ones, at that!). I want to just call him up and tell him how proud I am. I want to wedge myself in and watch. I want to remove the barrier of distance and time and position myself beside all of them again. But the fact remains, no matter how hard it is for me to accept, that they are adults. Sheesh.
I spent a lot of hours, prayers and tears over these “kids.” Relationships are work, no doubt. But work is true of any good thing put on this earth, so it should be no surprise. Nonetheless, I’m grateful that it has been designed that after the effort of growing and learning with someone (because my experience as a youth director was a two-way avenue of learning), there comes a chance that you get to fester in your pride and pretend that the glory days still exist. You get to watch these little souls pledge their life to another and then buy them fun toys when they offer themselves to a new creation in the most selfless way possible. I feel privilaged that little ol’ me, one of many from their teenage days, was invited to peer in and celebrate their progress through life.
I’ve wrestled with the question of “why church?” before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to leave – the question is more theoretical than practical. Often times answers center around how a person feels when they leave on a Sunday morning – uplifted. Positve, encouraging. Challenged. Inspired. And those things are great.
But for me, it’s about the way God works through people. It’s about the way love shapes us and causes us to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. That by praying – and at times, crying – over others, the Spirit begins to develop love and joy in my soul. That by seeing their joy I’m reminded of the joys in my life. The challenges that come with loving and sharing life develop patience and self-control.
It can be tough to accept the work of God in your life, especially when invisible and audibly quiet. But He has given us His people, His Body. Often times, broken and poured out for one another. It’s the most beautiful thing imaginable.
It’s not exclusive, but boy is it a privilage, a beautiful gift.