I might be turning 40 soon, but one “group” I don’t put myself in yet–is “old people”. I like to pretend I recently graduated from college and I’m a cool, young married person with (Um…) 6 kids. Okay–who am I kidding? I mean–who has 6 kids anyway? Certainly not cool, young married people;)
Let’s just say we like to walk into the “young married” Sunday school at church and pretend:). Also–we used to go to a big church that did away with Sunday school. What the what? Let me just say Sunday school people is brilliant. Your kids learn about Jesus while you learn about Jesus with other couples your age. Why in the world we’d want to do away with Sunday school is beyond me. We’ve loved the “small groups” we’ve been apart of–but Sunday school is a pretty sweet set up with childcare not only in place…but also sweet community for our youngsters to meet with other kids their age and grow in Christ together–something that is hard to pull off with a small group too.
Church has been an important part of our lives for a long, long time. We’ve been down some sweet roads–rocky roads–and even hard, confusing ones with the churches the Lord has led us to. Each served a purpose–and we finally feel we have landed home. If you have given up on the church or the church search for the one you feel at home in–I get it. I really, really do. But can I just encourage you–don’t give up. Sweet community really is found in the church. Also–the church is a mess—simply because it’s full of messy people.
Give lots of grace and don’t give up.
It dawned on me a few months ago as I rocked Janie Claire outside in the halls at our sweet church in Alpharetta we are calling home–what we’ve really been missing out on. For 10 years we were at a non-denominational church that had a black pastor, a hispanic ministry and it was in the middle of Roswell–so it was quite diverse. Yet–there was something missing.
We had grown a bit comfortable, and the Lord led us to branch out a bit for a smaller church. For 1 year after our short search, we were at a newer church meeting in a school cafeteria. We had a bit of a roller coaster ride saying yes to some hard needs in the church–and soon realized this wasn’t our church home either. This momma wanted to run right back to comfortable–to the church we’d been a part of for 10 years. But. I knew there was something missing.
We began visiting other churches hoping to find a place to grow our children up in, and after visiting so many bigger churches in our area (in the city–one thing we aren’t missing is big mega churches)—we found ourselves landing at a traditional Baptist church. Now I grew up Baptist and said I’d never land at one as legalism was something I struggled with when I was newer in my faith. But…this just felt like home last Christmas when we finally landed here. Finally.
Months later, I rocked Janie Claire outside the sanctuary–and as the traditional chapel service ended before the contemporary worship service–I made lots of friends as I bounced our new little one. These friends who attended the traditional chapel service–they are all over 70 years old. I realized it had been over a decade that we’d attended a church with significant elderly attendance. In fact MOST of the churches we visited had very few elderly people.
It wasn’t until these long Sunday conversations that I’d realized how much I’d missed being in community with elderly specifically at church. Then it dawned on me that so many of our churches have worked so hard at reaching the younger generations and providing cutting edge worship and such–that many churches are missing this age demographic altogether.
I didn’t feel the void of that until we had it again–and oh my…am I catching up on the sweetness of these group of older, wiser men and women who have gone before us and offer so much.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
There have been so many sweet conversations at church each Sunday in those halls…that now I must also confess Richard and I are attending and loving the traditional service in the chapel full of it’s hymns and older generation that we’ve so long missed.
We’ve learned lately…
…the hymns we sing in chapel have stood the test of time. There is such healing, truth and encouragement in so many traditional hymns. I grew up singing these and hearing them now stirs a bit of a revival in my heart. Gosh–they are so beautiful and so good. (I am currently reading a hymn and studying a hymn each week and it’s sweet origin with my 2nd grader who is still homeschooling. This is our favorite book for reading and learning hymn history It’s SO GOOD!). I have to recommend Fernando Ortego for bringing hymns into your home. He’s on repeat in mine. Get a taste of the simplicity and peaceful worship here. I really think it’s so important for our children to also learn worship songs that speak to them NOW–songs that will still be played 50 years from now too.
…our elders offer such funny, sweet and true perspective. Lately, for example–they remind me that while I’m missing out on a lot of sleep with our 6th child–one day I’ll be where they are. I’ll be reliving these days over and over again in my mind. And…I will be able to sleep all day–whenever I want to. Only–I’ll be daydreaming mostly about these days of motherhood I’m in now. (I leave church every Sunday so encouraged by their words.)
…most of what we are tempting to worry about–really isn’t worth worrying about. Tell someone about 50 years ahead of you what’s on your heart–and you’ll get the most realistic, eye-opening, laid-back and real advice you can ever ask for. I’m reminded over and over again what REALLY matters. Most of the time–what is burdening my heart I soon realize I really can give that to Jesus and trust Him–and I have all I need.
…Grace. We all need grace. And we need to give a lot of grace. Simple as that. I can stay at home for rest time and miss Bible study or worship time–and my sweet old friends give me so much grace. They even grab me the next week and ask if everything is okay–and remind me that I was missed. It’s good to be missed. We live in a culture where so many churches are so mega that we can often not feel missed or miss others–or we are too busy to let them know how much we missed our friends who were missing and to do the simply thing and just check in. I know this sounds so simple–but these simple acts of love and friendship are becoming a missed and void art in friendship and brotherly/sisterly love in Christ.
How thankful I am the Lord led us to the church He led us to. I never ever imagined that I’d be slipping into the traditional service with my elderly friends. I guess I’m making up for lost time after being in churches for so long that had so few of this generation to lead us. But how thankful I am how He leads and what He’s teaching me after so many years of missing this most precious, wise generation of friends.
Please forgive any typos and such–this mom has hardly any time to write much less proof read what she does:) Blessings to you!