Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joy in the Message

Our church began Revival this week.  It will only last three short days but the purpose is meant to revive and re-energize our spirits.  This is isn't something typical of our church and something I was glad to see planned.  The idea of revival excited me and had me looking forward to Sunday service, which if I'm being honest, I haven't been in quite awhile.

I grew up going to church, as my grandpa was a preacher.  There are so many fond memories I have spending time with him at the church, while he prepared for the sermon, and of listening to him in the pulpit.  I didn't think anyone could ever take the place of him as my pastor, and as a newly married couple, we struggled to find our church home.  When Noah was born, we happened upon our current church and quickly felt comfort and connection there. 

My boys grew up in the church and I grew to love and admire our dear preacher.  He was with us through every dark and difficult journey of our life.  His prayers have always been a comfort to me and every sermon I'd ever heard from him touched me and made an impact.  Even though he'd retired from our church when we lost Austin, we found him there beside us that night in the ER.  I remember him coming to the funeral home and briefly coming up, just to let me know he'd be in the back and praying for us.  That knowledge, and his prayers, are surely what helped me get through that service.

Upon his retirement, I've felt as if our church has been paused.  We found a new pastor, for a brief moment, before he decided to move on and since have been searching.  It was very bad timing for our family, as in losing Austin, we desperately needed a constant.  That lack of a continued sense of leadership, along with my own spiritual struggles, along the paths of grief one faces in losing a child, has led our personal attendance to fall.  As such, I've felt as we've been drifting...waiting...hoping.

Today's message was such an inspiration and a sign to me of all the things I've been missing.  I've made excuses, and even shopped around, but nothing "fit" right.  The guest preacher today even spoke about how so many of us today "date" churches, we shop from church to church getting bits and pieces of what we think we need from each.  What we need though is the constant, regardless of who is standing in the pulpit.  It isn't always just about us.  We need to do our part too and connect.  His biggest message though was about what kind of legacy we want to leave...what should our dash mean and how can we best represent God?

That, mixed with the devotion I read on Friday, was very powerful to me...."Sometimes we forget that our true home is with God in Heaven. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. We are ambassadors of God's grace and of our true home in Heaven."  And then it asked, "What kind of ambassador are you?"

It was very much a strong reminder of Austin and the life he led, in just his fourteen short years on this Earth.  While I miss him, I am so very proud of the legacy he left.  And that is what inspires me daily to do my leave my mark, for him and for God.

The icing on today's spiritual cupcake was later in the truck with Noah, on our way to a fundraising event for my job.  I had asked him earlier in the week, and even this morning, if he wanted to attend.  Up to walking into church, he hadn't made up his mind.  As we walked out, he said he wanted to leave with me.  On the drive over, I thanked him for coming.  He smiled, with that sweet little smile he has and shrugged, "It's my dash."  I looked over at him..."You know, like the preacher said today, Mom, it's what I should do.  I just felt like God told me to help today."  I drove the rest of the way with tear-soaked eyes.....and I was so thankful for both of us hearing that message today.


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