We were back at church today, after a three week hiatus! We had missed it! Having a little one who struggled with colds and viruses for three weeks made it near impossible for us to keep our regularly scheduled programming. I just couldn't bring myself to drop him off in Puddles Pond (our church's children's ministry), where he could infect other precious babes... I'm *trying* to teach him to cover his cough, but it seems in vain right now. :) And walking around the atrium with him for an hour hardly seemed engaging for any of us, so we attended Bedside Baptist for a bit.
Today, Pastor Cal finished a series on marriage, focusing on the single community for this sermon. At the end, he asked the singles who desired to be prayed for by our church family to stand up. Whoah. I was a single for what felt like forever, and I dare say I would not have been so brave. But lo and behold right behind us, and right in front of us, two women stood up, along with many others across the room - boldly asking to be lifted to Jesus. So Shane and I had, along with another family, had the privilege of laying hands on and praying over Tina. Following prayer, we shared a hug and a quick word, and I'm so excited to pray regularly for her. Maybe God will bring her in our path again, or maybe that was just the season of need He had for us in her life, but either way I know that God will bless her desire to seek Christ, and her boldness is reaching out for support from those around her.
Sunday, a day of holiness.. made for peace and worship, right? Why is it that in the times directly before and after a church service I can so weakly battle against (and lose) my patience, kindness and calmness. My spirit of love seems especially challenged in moments when I feel as though it should be strengthened. If I had a dollar for every car ride either to or from services that involved silence or the near brimming of tears.. I'd have enough... to send myself to counseling! For heaven's sake!
While it seems crazy, maybe it makes more sense that I realize. We're about to go and get strengthened from Christ and His family, or we just have been - and of course the enemy wants to take out our hearts at any point in that process. If he can steal our peace before or after a time of worship, it will hinder the message. And maybe more frightening, start to plant a seed of doubt that there is any protection, power or freedom in Christ's name. This is not a battle I want to keep losing - which means I must keep fighting. I need to learn to pray over Sunday - and the attempts to rob our peace and joy that have proved themselves time and again. When Satan was trying to tempt Jesus in Luke 4, it says in verse 13 that "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time." I'm beginning to learn the day set apart for His holiness can be an 'opportune time' for our family. If I can recognize it, it's high time I start preparing ahead of time for battle. I know how the story ends - and I'm walking with the Winner.
The Still Small Voice:
It's the little stuff that can become the big stuff, Leslie. Pay attention to the slightest hints of disobedience to Me, whether it's in your tone of voice, or the look that you are about to give. When you decrease the importance of obeying Me fully, it becomes much easier to turn your eyes away from Me in light of any choice you are making. I am more than enough, completely able to bring even those ingrained habits and behaviors that feel like second nature under My control. But I cannot and will not do anything with it until you tell Me you're ready. It will be hard at first, but the more you stop yourself, and invite Me in, the more you will see yourself speaking, acting and living the life of power I intended. I promise you the life I designed is much sweeter than the bitterness and regret you are feeling frequently after losing control of your words and emotions. You long for stability; you'll find it with Me.